Ilford climb out of basement
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Ryman Div 1N: Sudbury 0 Ilford 1
Chinedu McKenzie’s goal earned Ilford a shock win in Suffolk which lifted them off the bottom of the table.
The Foxes had returned empty-handed from Needham Market in midweek, conceding in the first minute on their way to a 3-0 defeat.
But they made a bright start at the MEL Stadium, with McKenzie getting an early sight of the home goal, before Danny Crowie’s free-kick was pushed behind by Alex Archer.
Dave Cowley fired wide for Sudbury, then curled a free-kick over the bar before Lee Townrow’s shot was blocked by Shawn Gardiner.
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Kabir Jeetoo shot wide for the visitors as the first half ended goalless, but Sudbury went close to breaking the deadlock four minutes after the restart when Ryan Henshaw’s header from a Cowley cross was cleared off the line.
Robert Hatton parried Peter Maina’s fierce drive before James Baker converted the rebound, only to see an offside flag raised.
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McKenzie’s 58th-minute shot was comfortably saved by Archer, before Ilford had another let-off as Jeetoo cleared a diving header from Townrow off the line from Cowley’s corner.
Hatton denied Baker’s low drive with his legs midway through the second half, before the Foxes got another sight of goal as McKenzie turned Tom Cutts but saw his fierce drive pushed over by Archer.
The visitors claimed the only goal of the game on 71 minutes, though, when a quick break ended with McKenzie rounding Archer to slot home.
Sudbury looked to respond and Cowley’s free-kick was pushed out, before Henshaw’s follow-up was blocked.
But the home side were reduced to 10 men seven minutes from time when Robbie Martin was shown a straight red card and Ilford held onto their slender lead through five minutes of stoppage time.
The hard-earned win saw the Foxes leapfrog rivals Redbridge, who lost 3-2 at Potters Bar, at the foot of the table.
Experienced midfielder Garry Skerritt opened his account for the season with both goals for Motormen, but could not prevent a fifth successive defeat.
They have now taken only a single point from a possible 21 and entertain Ware on Saturday, while Ilford visit Brentwood in better mood on Tuesday.
Ilford: Hatton, Hounkapatin, Gardiner, Oshin, Jolley, Kallon, Crowie, Jeetoo, McKenzie, Willmott (Izokhun 88), Darr.