Fowell thankful for red card fortune as Ilford ease past Southend Manor
PUBLISHED: 14:30 10 February 2020
Ilford manager Jonny Fowell admitted he called for Southend Manor to be reduced to ten men in Saturday's 2-0 win - despite not fully convinced the foul was a red card offence.
The visitors had defender Reece Latimer - adjudged to be the last defender - sent off after just 15 minutes for pulling down Andre Embalo.
Ilford took full advantage ten minutes later as Larry Akanbi fired home from outside the box before Jordan Fisher converted a 75th minute corner to secure three points.
On Southend's early red card, Fowell said: "At the time I didn't think it was the right decision. Listen, I called for it obviously!
"I call for everything. People who know me know I'm a winner. I want every decision to go my way otherwise I get the hump.
"But when I watched it back and saw where the player was, I'd probably say the referee got it right."
Fowell was full of praise for his side's defensive effort as they kept a first clean sheet since September.
"Our keeper - who we drafted in on Friday - did well," he said.
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"Even though he didn't have a save to make, his kicking was good, considering the soggy conditions, and his handling and game management were excellent.
"Columbus Ayayi at centre half was brilliant too - he got injured in the first half hour and carried on throughout with one leg!"
The result moves Ilford up to 11th, six places better off than when Fowell took charge at the end of October, but the boss highlighted some of the challenges remaining for his team as they look to secure a top 10 finish.
"When I took over we were second from bottom, so we're not in a bad position now," Fowell explained.
"We've picked up points against teams above us but it's difficult for us. We don't have the best pitch, we don't have a budget and we don't train.
"The players we have playing shouldn't be at this level - they should be getting a bit of money elsewhere."
And unlike in the Premier League - where most players are currently on holiday enjoying the division's the first ever winter break - Fowell revealed his plans for a fixtureless weekend were more straightforward.
"I've just booked an Emirates flight to go to Dubai with the boys - the chairman doesn't know yet! By the time he finds out we'll be back!" Fowell chuckled.
"No, we're going to try to look for a friendly. If we go one or two weeks without a game it kills us so we'll try get something sorted out for Saturday."