Ilford good value for Vase win
PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 October 2015
FA Vase second qualifying roune: Woodbridge Town 2 Ilford 3
Ilford were good value for their FA Vase second qualifying round win against Woodbridge Town in Suffolk.
Despite falling behind early on, Allan Fenn’s Foxes proved too strong for a young home side, whose late penalty set up a tense final few minutes and gave the scoreline a more flattering look.
And the Essex Senior League side will hope for a favourable tie when the draw for the first round proper is made this week.
The visitors showed some good early touches at Notcutts Park, although Karolis Atutis was warned by over-fussy match referee Richard Pace when his arm caught a Woodpeckers player in aerial challenge.
Tony Da Silva was spoken to for a tackle on Alex Greggor, who got two chances with his free kick when the official decided Ilford captain Chris Lockwood had handled the first attempt in the defensive wall.
And the second bite of the cherry proved decisive as Greggor’s low effort beat Ally McAnally at his left-hand post to put Woodbridge in front on nine minutes.
Ilford won a free-kick of their own close the byline when the busy Ryan Young was nudged in the back, but Justas Paliulis was then booked for pushing Niki Shopov in the box as they waited for the delivery and Ilford had a big penalty shout ignored when Young’s centre hit a home defender.
Pace spoke to the Ilford dugout during the next stoppage in play, but it was easy to see their frustrations at the stop-start nature of the tie.
The mood improved on 18 minutes, though, when Atutis sent a diagonal ball out to Luke Thomas on the right and he beat left-back Luke Moss before squaring for Ajibola Ashnike to sweep home from close range.
Ilford took the lead four minutes later when Ashnike’s flick sent Atutis running towards the box where he drew a foul from Jake Green and Pace pointed to the spot.
Lockwood converted from the spot with confidence, sending 16-year-old keeper Harry Lay-Fulcher the wrong way, but was then spoken to by the referee for his voiciferous celebration.
George Watson and Greggor sent long range efforts narrowly over the bar as Woodbridge looked to get back on terms and the game became more watchable as the referee put his whistle in his pocket.
The hosts went close to levelling on 31 minutes, when Watson’s header at a corner was nodded off the line by Ilford’s impressive right-back Edas Valonis, before Paliulis was spoken to following a collision on halfway.
Ilford finished the half strongly, but had a bit of a let-off two minutes after the restart when Paliulis, walking a disciplinary tightrope after his earlier yellow card, caught Watson in the back when going for a header and received his final warning from Pace.
It was 3-1 on 51 minutes, though, as Young drew another foul close to the byline and Lockwood’s left foot delivered a perfect ball into the box for Atutis to attack with a header from close range.
A flabbergasted Fenn was sent from the dugout before play could restart, but Ilford went close again when Thomas was just beaten to the ball by Lay-Fulcher and Green headed the looping ball away from Ashnike with the goal gaping.
And Ashley Skeggs, a rock at the heart of Ilford’s defence, saw his goalbound header from a 58th-minute corner blocked by the big figure of Ashnike, before substitute Elias Armar-Tackie and Valonis combined on the right and Thomas hooked an effort across the face of goal.
Young, giving Shopov a torrid time on Ilford’s left, saw his deep cross kept in by Atutis on 64 minutes and Ashnike’s header was cleared off the line by Green.
But then Mr Pace took centre stage again as he spoke to Green about dissent, following a foul on Atutis, and then booked Ilford’s Lithuanian midfielder for time wasting as he limped off the field to be replaced on 69 minutes.
Woodbridge had offered little serious threat going forward, but Ryan Keeble’s shot from the edge of the box was headed away from the right post on 71 minutes.
Jez Slinn was cautioned for a foul on Skeggs on halfway, with Greggor talking his way into the book at the same time to ironic cheers from the Ilford supporters.
But then the Woodpeckers gave themselves late hope when substitute Aaron Greenwood was bundled over in the box by Chris Webber, who had moved to left back after Paliulis was replaced, and Sam Cole sidefooted home from the spot.
Ilford had seven minutes of normal time left to protect their lead and went close to a fourth when Carl Mullings flicked on a throw-in from Glen Warwick, but Young and Thomas could not get on the end of it inside the six-yard box.
There was a scare for the visitors on 88 minutes, though, as Greenwood latched onto a through ball on the right and, as McAnally raced from his goalmouth, steered a shot towards the far post, but just the wrong side of it.
But after Warwick was booked for kicking the ball away – when his attempt to actually backheel the ball to a Woodbridge player after conceding a free-kick went astray – Ilford were inches away from making it 4-2 with time almost up as Armar-Tackie produced a strong run through the heart of the Woodbridge defence and rolled the ball past Lay-Fulcher, only to see it come back off the far post.
There was a late disagreement between Lockwood and Mullings about running down the clock, after the striker had gone for goal, but the Ilford party will have travelled back down the A12 to Essex in a good mood, with £800 prize money secured and the hope of more to come next month.
Ilford: McAnally, Valonis, Paliulis (Warwick 69), Atutis (Mullings 69), Skeggs, Webber, Thomas, Lockwood, Ashnike, Da Silva (Armar-Tackie 58), Young. Unused subs: Marquis, Clark.
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