Late blow rocks Ilford
PUBLISHED: 19:36 27 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:13 28 September 2015
Essex Senior League: Ilford 0 FC Romania 1
Ilford suffered a home defeat in the Essex Senior League after a very late goal from FC Romania striker Bogdan Ungureanu at Cricklefield Stadium.
The match looked set to end in a stalemate when, in the last minute, Cosmin Matei fed a delightful through ball to Ungureanu and his sliding finish beat Chris Clark to earn the visitors all three points.
FC Romania had been quickest out of the blocks, attacking down the right flank early on with Matei providing a real threat.
And it was Matei who had the first chance of the game on five minutes, cutting inside onto his left foot, but shooting high over the bar.
A couple of minutes later a high ball over the top seemed easy enough for Ilford goalkeeper Clark to collect, but the ball slipped through his legs. Ungureanu could not capitalise, though, before Clark jumped onto the ball.
Another long ball got in behind Ilford’s high defensive line following a quiet spell and Matei latched onto it, forcing a good save from Clark.
And in the 19th minute, shortly after winning that corner, FC Romania were back on the attack when a surging run from left back Leonid Dobre was stopped by a series of Ilford players.
The visitors appealed for a penalty, but much to their dismay the referee awarded only a corner.
Six minutes later and FC Romania attacked on the left hand side again, with Ilie Valentin Vasile sending a stunning left-footed volley just past the far post for the best chance of the half.
It took 30 minutes for Ilford to get a strong foothold into the game and a searching cross into the box wasn’t cleared by FC Romania and Anthony Da Silva produced a spectacular acrobatic effort which forced a save from Andrei Baciu, who reached magnificently to tip it over.
The visitors had the last chance of the opening half, five minutes before the break, when a through ball found Cosmin Florin Sandu one on one with Clark, but his effort found the side netting.
Neither side could take charge after the restart, with FC Romania growing particularly frustrated.
An improved Ilford side attacked on the right on 62 minutes through Edas Valionis and Luke Thomas to win a free-kick some 35 yards from goal.
Karolis Atutis smashed his effort under the FC Romania wall, but Baciu kept his whole body behind the ball and made the save look easy.
Allan Fenn’s Foxes kept up the pressure, looking the much better team in the second half, and they seemed certain to break the deadlock when a cross found Thomas who cushioned a header for Da Silva to strike, but the ball was always rising.
With Ilford comfortably on top, the frustration for FC Romania was really starting to get the better of them, with Matei and Ilford coach David Morgan having a spat on the touchline.
However against the run of play, it was Matei and FC Romania who had the last laugh as his pass set up Ungureanu’s last-gasp winner.
Ilford will now turn their attention to the Essex Senior Cup on Wednesday, when they welcome Saffron Walden Town to Cricklefield.
Ilford: Clark, Valionis, Webber, Atutis, Ashnike, McLeavy, Thomas, Lockwood, Mullings, Stevens, Armar-Tackie. Subs: Young, McAnally, Da Silva, Matthews, Paliulis.
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