Ilford manager Peek full of praise for rivals after FA Vase progress

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 October 2020

Ilford in FA Vase action against Benfleet (Pic: Tim Edwards)

Ilford in FA Vase action against Benfleet (Pic: Tim Edwards)


Ilford boss Adam Peek was full of praise for Benfleet as he reflected on his side’s performance after a penalty shootout win saw the Foxes progress to the first round proper of the FA Vase.

Ilford in FA Vase action against Benfleet (Pic: Tim Edwards)Ilford in FA Vase action against Benfleet (Pic: Tim Edwards)

A solid display from young goalkeeper Josh Blackburn saw Ilford through.

Despite only missing one spot-kick, and expertly dispatching the rest, Peek said Ilford hadn’t prepared for the eventuality of penalties.

Peek said: “We didn’t practise penalties, we had a game midweek so couldn’t prepare. Luckily I had six boys put their hands up, so it was good that the confidence was there.”

Speaking after his side came from a goal down, Peek wasted no time in praising the visitors, and saying how well drilled they were, frustrating the Essex Senior League outfit.

Ilford in FA Vase action against Benfleet (Pic: Tim Edwards)Ilford in FA Vase action against Benfleet (Pic: Tim Edwards)

“Fair play to them, they came into the first half and imposed themselves on the game. They made it difficult, their system was difficult to manage,” he added.

Reflecting on the first half, in which Benfleet dominated and took a 1-0 lead, Peek said: “It took us too long to get into the game, we didn’t really get out of first or second gear.”

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Despite showing strong character in coming from a goal behind and comfortably winning the shoot-out, Peek was keen to point out the negatives from the good comeback.

“I would’ve liked to have won it in normal time, I see it as a draw. The fact is we’re through,” he said.

On it being a possible catalyst to finally kickstart their season, Peek added: “If we would’ve lost, it would’ve hurt, but hopefully this gives us the confidence going into the league.”

Ilford have been on the wrong side of results recently, losing their last two league matches and shipping plenty of goals along the way.

The tie with Benfleet was seen as a must-win for the Foxes, keeping tight at the back and eradicating silly mistakes that end up costing them.

Peek said: “I asked for a much better defensive performance.”

Ilford were due to continue their league campaign against unbeaten Cockfosters at Cricklefield Stadium last night (Wednesday), with the club hoping to turn their fortunes around against the team to beat.

It is then a trip to Mile End Stadium for the Foxes to face Sporting Bengal United on Saturday.

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