Ilford edge out Sporting Bengal

Luke Thomas (second from left) netted Ilford's winner at Sporting Bengal (pic: George Phillipou/TGSP

Luke Thomas (second from left) netted Ilford's winner at Sporting Bengal (pic: George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Essex Senior League: Sporting Bengal 0 Ilford 1

Sporting manager Anwar Uddin described his team’s performance as “fantastic” despite a 1-0 loss to Ilford in the Essex Senior League .

The home side wasted a number of chances in the second half at Mile End Stadium, but Uddin looked for the positives.

He said: “There are 40 games in a season and if you play like that every week you would be in the top five because that’s what that performance warranted.”

Ilford started the stronger and should have been ahead as soon as the 18th minute, but Carl Mullings was guilty of missing a good chance himself.

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After rounding Sporting keeper Lewis Lockyer, Mullings should have slotted the ball away, but he managed to pick out the only defender on the line when he had all of the goal available.

Two minutes later Mullings was through on goal again, but unable to control a high ball on his chest which enabled him to be tackled just as he barrelled towards Lockyer.

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Goalmouth action was a rarity in the first half, but that all changed after the interval as Sporting’s leading scorer Tunde Adewunmi could have had five himself.

Adewunmi’s first chance came five minutes after the restart, but it was a difficult reaction header which he put over.

Five minutes later Mohamed Abdisamad was the next to try and break the deadlock for Sporting, escaping the Ilford defence and chipping keeper Chris Clark only for the ball to be acrobatically scissor-kicked off the line by defender Edas Valionis.

Ilford were sitting deeper in the second half, but counter-attacked on the hour mark through a clinical counter attack.

Dan Jones picked the ball up in a central area and produced a defence-splitting pass which allowed captain Luke Thomas a run on goal and he slotted calmly in the bottom left corner.

Speaking ater the game Ilford manager Allan Fenn explained sitting deeper had been a conscious decision by himself and his management team, saying: “We wanted to hit them on the breakaway and it worked, we looked at that and tried get in between the lines and get runners from midfield.”

Ilford continue to ride their luck as the chances kept coming for Sporting, as Abdisamad rounded Clark but picked out an Ilford shirt when he had team-mates in support.

The next chance came five minutes from time, when a long ball into the box managed to find its way to Adewunmi who turned and fired a low shot to the left corner of the net, forcinng a great fingertip save onto the post from Clark.

And still the chances continued to come, with the best of all falling to Adewunmi again when Abdisamad got his cross in after good work down the left and found the striker six yards out but hhe it it straight at Clark who smothered the shot.

Despite Sporting’s many chances, Fenn felt his side deserved the points over the course of the 90 minutes, after creating the beter chances.

But he did concede his side had been a “bit edgy” and “missed a couple of influential characters at the back” but described the scrappy win as “music to his ears” and tweeted: “Well done my boys. Far from pretty today & rode our luck but 3 points & a clean sheet. Love it #Foxes”

Victory keeps Ilford’s hopes of a top-five finish alive and they head to Greenhouse on Monday night.

Sporting Bengal: Lockyer, M Williams, Ngulube, Borozam, Adeyemi, Meikle, Abdisamad, Kahie, Adewunmi, Singh, Nguede Noubissie (Wliiam 55). Unused subs: Khan, Burns Rahman.

Ilford: Clark, Valionis, Paulius, Warwick, Nkosi, Skeggs, Thomas, Clayton, Mullings, Stevens, Jones (Absolon 86). Unused subs: Hall, Catling, Barker-Francis, Raheem.

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