Essex Senior League – Premier Division
2022-23 Season: Match 52
Saturday 1st April 2023 – 3pm KO
Ilford: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts & Socks
Woodford: Green Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Woodford prevail with good performance at Ilford
Ilford 1 – 4 Woodford Town
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The main match this weekend saw an interesting local derby in the Essex Senior League at Cricklefield, which saw hosts Ilford host play-off chasing Woodford Town. The Foxes have found it hard of late, with one win in their last seven matches and were missing key players here in defender Jake Chadwick, skipper Mitchell McCabe and playmaker Mo Kargbo. Richard Ponsford’s side did have stalwart Tim Pitman in goal, with a defence comprised of centre-backs OJ Senessie and Ryan Cosson, with full-backs Paul Cox and Ola Oluwasere. Conner Jones skippered the side here, with Nathan Tshola in central midfield, Harry Rawlins & Josh Boxall on the flanks. Jack Zielinski led the forward line, with support from Joe Lilly. Woodford saw their eight-match winning run in the league end on Thursday night as they drew with Halstead Town. Shane Baptiste fielded Eddie Allan as their custodian, with Miles Mitchell-Nelson & Simon Omope in the full-back spots, and Guy Kiangebeni & Lee Sharpe in central defence. James Runham and captain Georges Kebi were the hard-working central midfield, with Dimitri Christou supporting forwards Luke Parrott, Wale Odedoyin & Ernest Okoh.
The early stages of this contest saw the visitors have slightly more time in possession and their first chance came after two minutes, as tricky support forward Dimitri Christou’s decent strike was well-blocked by Ilford goalkeeper Tim Pitman. Ilford did respond at the other end on six minutes, as forward Joe Lilly struck narrowly over the crossbar – the Foxes were starting to get down the flanks and sending in some decent crosses although those were fleeting moments as Woodford kept the ball well. The home side had several warnings in the next few moments as forward Ernest Okoh twice fired off-target, the second time when well-poised to score. On 17 minutes, Woodford had a big chance as Pitman had advanced out of his area, and forward Wale Odedoyin turned past him well but couldn’t finish from a narrow angle at the near post, allowing the covering defender to clear.
Woodford did get that crucial goal moments later, as from a good corner, full-back Miles Mitchell-Nelson planted a fine header into the net at the near post. So often one goal turns into two and on 25 minutes, Woodford doubled their lead. On the counter, a good pass found forward Luke Parrott and he unselfishly played in Christou who calmly struck low into an unguarded net. At this point, Woodford were in the ascendancy, Parrott had another chance eight minutes prior to the break, as his header drew another save out of Pitman. The Foxes responded at the other end by halving the arrears seconds later as Lilly’s set-piece swung in to the six-yard area and crept over the line despite Town stopper Allan’s best efforts.
Buoyed on by a good visiting Towners contingent, Woodford restored their two-goal led a minute before the break as they were awarded a penalty for a challenge on the left edge of the penalty area. The hosts were miffed at that decision, more so when Parrott converted his spot-kick from 12 yards, into the right-side corner. Overall, Town deserved their lead and could’ve been further ahead, although if Ilf were clinical in their finishing they could still have been well in contention.
HT: Ilford 1 – 3 Woodford
The early stages of the second half saw Woodford push on once again as they sought to make the points safe. Parrott had another decent effort blocked by the home defence, but the same robustness wasn’t there on 49 minutes as a good ball in found Odedoyin who had got past the off-side trap before calmly firing past the unfortunate Pitman to notch Town’s fourth goal. Understandably that goal had an effect on the morale of the Foxes but four minutes later, winger Josh Boxall managed to get some space on the edge of the penalty area before firing narrowly over the crossbar.
Woodford still pushed forward in an energised way, with forward Ernest Okoh unfortunate not to score himself, having at least two chances off-target in the secod half alone. Substitute Zivonimir Lopez also had a half-chance on goal as we entered the later stages of the game, though the Ilford defence was making some decent interceptions, particularly Paul Cox and Ola Oluwasere. The hosts were finding a little more space as Woodford focused on game management, with replacement Maliq Jikiemi and Harry Rawlins making some decent runs down the flanks, but the miserly Town backline was in no mood to concede any more goals.
In added time, Woodford were within inches of adding a fifth goal as a fine free-kick by substitute Dimitri Nicolaou was well tipped onto the crossbar by Pitman. Ultimately, Woodford did more than enough to claim the win.
Full-Time: Ilford 1 – 4 Woodford Town
In summary, this was a really good win for Shane Baptiste’s team, putting in a high-energy performance, particularly in midfield and took enough of their chances to claim another important three points. Ilford fought hard & created a few chances themselves, particularly before the interval but ultimately the pace & guile of the Woodford forward line was too good for them on this day.
We start the player mentions with victors Woodford. Dimitri Christou played an important part in the visiting side’s attacks with his pace, movement and good passing, also bagging a goal in the process. Forward Luke Parrott had a good game as well alongside partners Ernest Okoh and Wale Odedoyin, showing good link-up play and good running. Central midfielder Georges Kebi was influential in midfield, showing good energy levels in overpowering the opposition in the middle of the field and always had an eye for pass forward. Lastly, centre-back Guy Kiangebeni had a strong game in defence, clearing the ball well and showing good positioning.
For Ilford, defender Paul Cox had a good game in my opinion, sticking to his task well, making good interceptions and looking to start attacks as well. Winger Josh Boxall put in some fine crosses in this game & was unfortunate not to score himself, while forward Joe Lilly did score and linked the play well, particularly with Harry Rawlins on the left flank. Finally, substitute Maliq Jikiemi had a good cameo, making several decent darting runs down the left side & showing good dribbling as well.
Ilford | Manager: Richard Ponsford | Assistants: Mark Lilly & David Deller |
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Tim Pitman (GK), 2 Ola Oluwasere, 3 Paul Cox, 5 OJ Senessie (16 Frankie Zielinski 79′), 6 Ryan Cosson (17 George Hayes 54′), 4 Conner Jones (Capt), 8 Nathan Tshola (15 Oswald Nyahunda 75′), 7 Joshua Boxall (14 Maliq Jikiemi 63′), 9 Jack Zielinski (12 Brandon Wood 54′), 10 Joe Lilly, 11 Harry Rawlins
Goal-scorer: Joe Lilly [38′]
Booked: Oluwasere | Subs Not Used: None
Woodford Town | Manager: Shane Baptiste | Assistant: Dee Safer
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Eddie Allan (GK), 2 Miles Mitchell-Nelson (Ben Byrne 54′), 3 Simon Omope, 5 Lee Sharpe, 6 Guy Kiangebeni, 4 James Runham (17 Zivonimir Lopez 71′), 8 Georges Kebi (Capt), 7 Dimitri Christou (14 Dimitri Nicolaou 63′), 9 Luke Parrott (15 Khalil Kirwan-Meade 71′), 10 Wale Odedoyin (16 Jaedon Phillips 71′), 11 Ernest Okoh
Goal-scorers: Miles Mitchell-Nelson [19′], Dimitri Christou [25′], Luke Parrott [pen 44′], Wale Odedoyin [49′]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: Avram
Referee: Andy Tregoning