Ilford FC chairman believes the Foxes can progress next season
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 April 2011
Ryman One North safety secured after 3-2 win over Romford.
»Ilford finally secured their place in next season’s Ryman Division One North with a 3-2 win over Romford on Easter Monday.
Following the Foxes 1-0 defeat at Enfield Town on Saturday and relegation rivals Waltham Forest’s 2-1 home defeat to Harlow Town, Ilford knew a point from Monday’s game at Cricklefield would be enough to ensure their survival.
Junior Appiah edged Ilford in front after 23 minutes, but Abs Seymour levelled on 75 minutes.
Jan Skoniezki and Derek Hawtin struck in the final two minutes to seemingly earn Ilford three points, but Alex Read’s 92nd minute strike reduced the arrears and set-up an anxious finale, but the Foxes held on.
Ilford chairman Roger Chilvers admitted that while the start of the season had been disappointing, the team’s form over the second half of the campaign had been very satisfying.
“We have been in mid-table form in the second half of the season, we just had a bad spell where we lost game after game by the odd goal,” he said.
“If we’d have cut out the goals we conceded between the 80th and 90th minute of those games we would have been sitting comfortably in mid-table.
“It was a little disappointing, because I believe we were good enough to do better, we had a good pre-season, but it’s a long season.
“We started off well and we won in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, which hasn’t happened at Ilford for a few years.”
With one game still to play, away at Heybridge Swifts on Saturday, Ilford will end their campaign in 20th position.
Chilvers is optimistic of an improvement next season and feels the club’s priority over the summer is to retain the majority of the playing staff and resist potential advances from other clubs with bigger budgets.
“It’s always a battle to keep the players in our situation, but we have a good spirit here,” he said.
“Players come and go, it happens that’s life. If a player was playing out of his skin every week other local clubs would be watching him and if someone offers him £100 a week to play down the road, how can we stand in his way?
“We can say we’d prefer him to stay, but we’d never stand in anybody’s way and you’ve got to be tempted.
“We’re like a shop window in that sense, but it works both ways.
“Other players see someone’s got a move while playing for Ilford and they think ‘I want to go there, I want to play in the Ryman League’.
“To his credit Colin Walton has virtually demolished the team and rebuilt it over the course of the season and we’ve finished with a much stronger team than we had at the start, which bodes well for next year.”
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