Ilford save best for Bowers

Ilford (blue and white) and Bowers & Pitsea (red) faced off in the Essex Senior League at Cricklefie

Ilford (blue and white) and Bowers & Pitsea (red) faced off in the Essex Senior League at Cricklefields (pic: Dan Wilson). - Credit: Archant

Essex Senior League: Ilford 2 Bowers & Pitsea 0

Ilford (blue and white) and Bowers & Pitsea (red) players come together to congratulate each other a

Ilford (blue and white) and Bowers & Pitsea (red) players come together to congratulate each other at the full time whistle (pic: Dan Wilson). - Credit: Archant

Ilford put in a fantastic performance to beat FA Vase semi-finalists Bowers & Pitsea and blow the Essex Senior League title race wide open last night (Wednesday).

The Foxes earned an excellent 2-0 win with Glen Warwick opening the scoring in the 42nd minute before Wale Odedoyin doubled it with 22 minutes remaining.

Allan Fenn’s side delivered arguably one of their best displays of the campaign and fully deserved their victory at Cricklefield

Dan Jones had the first effort of note for the hosts, but shot straight at away custodian Martyn Guest before they responded when Lewis Manor fired wide.

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The opening stages had been scrappy but a bright run by Justas Paliulis, which ended with the Ilford left-back having a strike deflected wide, gave them some impetus.

Once again the away side showed their threat, though, when a long throw from Scott Pethers fell for Billy Sendall at the back post, but his effort went over.

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But three minutes before half time, Odedoyin broke down the left before crossing in to Warwick and he made no mistake and found the net.

It was the Ilford attackers third goal in two matches after his brace during the 2-2 draw with Greenhouse Sports last weekend.

The Foxes nearly come in level, however, when Aaron Russell fired towards the home goal, but Chris Clark was equal to it.

After coming in ahead at the break, Fenn’s men were keen not to rest on their laurels and started brilliantly after the restart.

Odedoyin showed great strength to get through on goal, but Guest did well to save with his feet and keep his team in the game.

Manor went close again for Bowers before Luke Thomas smashed over at the back post for Ilford as chances continue to be created.

Russell had another shot, which Manor was close to converting at the back post, before Odedoyin failed to get enough power when given a sight of goal from a tight angle.

The Foxes forward was proving to be a real handful for the FA Vase semi-finalists, who agonisingly missed out on a place at Wembley after losing late on at Morpeth on March 19.

Odedoyin went close twice from two crosses before finally getting his name on the scoresheet when he powered home following a cross from the right.

It was a massive goal for Fenn and his team, but they weren’t finished yet and pushed for a third to really put the match to bed.

Again it was Odedoyin proving to be a nuisance for Bowers as he set up Jones, but Guest made another save.

Karolis Atutis fired over shortly afterwards for Foxes following a long throw, but it wasn’t to matter as the hosts secured a fine 2-0 success.

It helped avenge the one-goal reverse they suffered at the Len Salmon Stadium last Thursday and moves them above Wadham Lodge in the table.

Bowers now trail league leaders FC Romania by 14 points, although they do have six more matches in hand to leave the title race wide open.

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