Essex Senior League: Ilford 2 Stansted 0
PUBLISHED: 08:15 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:15 05 September 2017
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In a high octane, pulsating encounter at the Cricklefield stadium, Ilford came out on top against visitors Stansted.
The Foxes and Airportmen went into the game with a mutual record of two wins and two losses in the Essex Senior League, having both lost their previous fixture 2-1.
But despite sharing such statistics, this game could only allow for one winner and Allan Fenn’s men were just that.
There was an early exchange of attacks and Stansted threatened after just a minute as Ryan Ramsey cut inside from the right to unleash a fierce strike over the bar.
Ilford responded two minutes later when after a good cross into the box, forward James Peagram made a darting run to make contact with the ball, but his strike lacked power and was easily gathered by Stansted keeper Tim Pitman.
In the fourth minute the visitors threatened once more as a neat Ramsey pass put Jack Sykes through on goal, but he was prevented from shooting by a good last-ditch sliding tackle by an Ilford defender sending the ball out for a corner.
On 16 minutes Stansted striker Nick Brown drilled a low shot from just outside the box which was parried away by Ilford stopper Chris Clark.
But Ilford were awarded on corner three minutes later and Paul Oshin’s headed flick-on almost caught Pitman out at the near post, but found the side netting.
Stansted once again breached the Ilford defence on 24 minutes when Sykes’ incisive through ball put Chris Smith on goal leaving him one on one with Clark.
However, Smith was unable to find the back of the net and Clark got down well to make a good stop with his body.
After soaking up pressure and weathering the storm from the visitors, the Foxes took the lead in the 25th minute in sublime fashion.
A quick pass on the right flank found captain Chris Lockwood who sent a delightful lob over the head of the helpess Pitman and into the Stansted net.
The Airportmen sought to respond quickly and four minutes later another penetrating pass from Brown found Sykes in the box but he was marshalled off the ball.
Ilford began to gain a foothold in the match and mounted another attack three minutes before half time when Peagram was put through on goal after a good pass from midfield.
But a sliding tackle from a Stansted defender was enough to put him off, as he struck the ball tamely and Pitman gathered with ease.
The last word of the half belonged to the home side after they awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box in stoppage time. Goalscorer Lockwood stepped up to take the set-piece, but curled a great effort narrowly over the bar.
Despite being a goal down, Stansted started the second half brightly and carved out another scoring chance on 49 minutes as Brown found himself in the box with space to shoot and should have brought matters level but his tame effort was comfortably saved by Clark.
The visitors were made to rue their missed chances when the Foxes doubled their lead on 58 minutes, as they broke into the Stansted half with full-back Sam Baffour who, after a surging run down the right, cut the ball back to forward Aaron Wickham.
With a defender on his shoulder, Wickham checked his run, neatly controlled the ball and engineered a yard of space to drive a low shot across goal beyond Pitman and into the bottom corner.
From then on Ilford were in control of match without looking in much danger of conceding.
Peagram headed an effort straight at Pitman on 73 minutes before a speculative lofted effort from Graham near the halfway line was gathered by the visiting keeper just under the bar in the 84th minute.
Two minutes from full-time Ilford had a final opportunity to add a third goal, but substitute Bill Rungay’s first touch in the box let him down and he couldn’t get a shot away with just Pitman to beat.
The match ended with Ilford comfortably claiming all three points to keep them in sixth place, ahead of their FA Vase clash with Cornard United on Saturday.