Ilford brought back to earth

PUBLISHED: 08:48 03 February 2013

Michael Cheek of Heybridge holds off Ilford's Nirydeen Kallon (Gavin Ellis/TGS)

Michael Cheek of Heybridge holds off Ilford's Nirydeen Kallon (Gavin Ellis/TGS)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Heybridge 3 Ilford 0

Ilford were brought quickly back down to earth at high-flying Heybridge.

The Foxes arrived at Scraley Road in high spirits following their midweek derby win over Redbridge, their first success in 20 Ryman One North matches.

Swifts, on the other hand, were smarting from a 4-1 defeat at Thamesmead, but barely five minutes had been played when Lauris Coggin played a ball into the box and Reece Morgan got to it ahead of Daniel M’Baku to glance a header into the unguarded net.

The hosts had penalty claims waved away by referee Euan Goodman when Usama Hamda blocked Chris Moore’s header at a corner on 10 minutes, before M’Baku flapped at at another cross.

The Foxes keeper redeemed himself with a low save to keep out Luke Callander’s well-struck drive, before Nirydeen Kallon cleared the loose ball from inside the six-yard box.

But the respite was brief for the visitors as the subsequent corner from the left fell to Russell Malton just inside the box and he flashed a right-footed drive into the top corner to make it 2-0 on the quarter-hour mark.

Harry Sintim replaced Sope Lawal, who got a consolling pat on the back from manager Kevin Lucas, midway through the first half.

But Ilford’s fortunes did not change much, as Swifts saw Callander head Michael Cheek’s cross straight at M’Baku, after Jody Banhim had been caught dwelling on the ball in midfield by the lively Solomon Ofori.

Ehis Izokhun wriggled into space on the right for Foxes on the half hour, but his angled effort was beaten away by Nick Eyre and Banham sliced his follow-up attempt out towards the left touchline.

And Swifts went 3-0 up three minutes later when Malton sent a crisp right-footed effort across M’Baku and inside the far post.

It might have been four soon after when Bobby Port and Kallon collided under a high ball and Callander got into a good position on the right, but the 21-goal striker could only find the side netting.

And Foxes had to thank the woodwork when Cheek and Callander linked up to play in Ofofi, whose effort came back off the far post and rebounded beyond him.

Banhim, Izokhun and Sintim had combined in a nice move inbetween times, but Eyre was equal to the cross as Hamda hoped for an opening.

But the visitors went close to a reply three minutes before the break when Izokhun found the overlapping Steve O’Hara, who delivered a good cross to the near post, where Jimmy Oshin saw his effort come back off the upright.

Callander headed wide at the far post from Malton’s right-wing cross after Cheek had limped off, but Ilford had suffered anough in the opening period.

They looked set for more misery as Ofori had the ball in the Ilford net within seconds of the restart, after M’Baku had pushed out an initial shot, but an offside flag saved the visitors any further punishment.

And they created a half chance themselves soon after when Banhim rolled away from his marker in midfield and Hamda’s lay-off allowed Sintim a shot at goal, which was always rising over the bar.

Callander linked up with Adam Brotherton on the right for Heybridge, but his low ball across the face of goal was beyond Ofori.

And Callander inadvertenly stepped on the hand of Port soon after, which led to a delay while the Ilford defender had his wrist bandaged.

Swifts captain Lee Kersey volleyed over, following a scramble at a corner on 69 minutes, as the home crowd’s frustrations grew.

But Ilford had strong shouts for a penalty ignored on 73 minutes when Sintim when down in the box under Danny Barber’s challenge, with Banhim’s follow-up attempt smothered by a diving Eyre.

Kallon was caught trying to be too clever by Ofori moments later, but chased back and made a challenge, which home fans were adamant was worthy of a spot-kick, before Callander’s follow-up attempt was deflected into the side netting by M’Baku.

Brotherton headed Morgan’s corner over the angle of far post and crossbar before Mfulu chased a long ball to create an opening for Sintim, who was denied by Barber’s sliding block.

Heybridge substitute Shane Stamp then dragged his shot beyond the far post from Callander’s excellent through ball, before crossing for Ofori to fire wide from 12 yards.

Ilford managed a few nice passing moves, with Banhim at the hub of them, but their search for a consolation proved fruitless.

Banhim’s 85th-minute free-kick was flicked on by Oshin for Mfulu, who was left face down in the box by Kersey, but Ilford’s penalty claims were again ignored and Banhim was booked for voicing his thoughts on the matter.

Kallon had his name taken for a foul on Stamp, with Port also cautioned for kicking the ball against the Heybridge man while he was laid on the turf. Boss Lucas was still making his point to a linesman about the penalty that never was.

Callander curled the free-kick narrowly over the bar as the match drifted into three minutes of stoppage time and Ofori pushed a shot well wide after losing his balance just inside the box as Heybridge had to settle for just three.

Ilford: M’Baku, O’Hara, Akambi, Oshin, Port, Kallon, Izokhun, Banhim, Darr, Hamda (Mfula 52), Lawal (Sintim 21).

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