Essex Senior League – Premier Division
2022-23 Season: Match 37
Saturday 28th January 2023 – 2pm KO
Ilford: Blue & White Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
West: Yellow & Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Yellow Socks
Hard-fought battle sees West held at Ilford
Ilford 0 – 0 West Essex
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The Saturday match this weekend saw a return to Cricklefield for an interesting local derby between Ilford and West Essex. Both sides wanted the points for different reasons, with the Foxes looking to get into the top ten and West looking to remain in the top six. Richard Ponsford fielded Tim Pitman in goal, with a defence comprised of Paul Cox & Henry Fisher plus centre-backs Tobi James & Jake Chadwick. The midfield was marshalled by skipper Mitchell McCabe with Mwetsi Matangi alongside him, with Josh Boxall & Mo Kargbo down the channels. Caleb Adomako-Mensah and Joe Lilly led the attack here. West have brought a couple of players into the squad in recent weeks, with loanee Dren Hoti deputising for the unwell Arthur LeBlond in goal, and a backline of Emanuel Wazola, Tala Lo Seye, Mitchell Arthur and Joel Lamb. Their energetic midfield had captain Reece Clarke, Saliu Lo Seye and Oliseh Okuguni in its ranks. David Bell led the attack, with support from Cameron Gray and Zak Oliver.
The early stages of this match saw the visitors start quite well, as their astute passing game did test the levels of focus of their hosts. Forward David Bell and midfielder Oliseh Okuguni had early half-chances that were wide of Tim Pitman’s goal. Ilford were finding it tricky to keep the ball but they still had one decent glimpse at goal as forward Caleb Adomako-Mensah saw a close-range effort fizz wide of the left-side post. As we entered the last 15 minutes of the first half, the Foxes did have arguably their best phase of the game up to this point, with only determined defending by the Stags preventing them from testing goalkeeper Dren Hoti.
West Essex were creating promising moments, led by the enterprising running of support forward Zak Oliver, who was breaking down the right flank well, although his crosses was cleared by a stubborn central defence, led by Ilford’s Jake Chadwick. One of those Oliver crosses was well-angled in toards the far post, which Bell got across to well but could only loft his effort over the crossbar.
Half-Time: Ilford 0 – 0 West Essex
The Stags did have the better of the first half which was pretty hard-going for both teams. However, besides a glimmer at goal from captain Reece Clarke, West were spending more time defending in the early stages after the break. This was particularly the case on the hour as a good run by support forward Joshua Boxall down the left side ended with a good ball into the six yard box, which found Adomako-Mensah who timed his header well and was unfortunate as said header cannoned back off the under-side of the crossbar and back out. Bell also had another decent sight of goal but couldn’t direct his strike, allowing Pitman to gather fairly comfortably.
My gut instinct was starting to sense that the stalemate could prevail here, although Ilford were keen to get down the channels, with substitutes Harry Rawlins and Delphin Moorat keen to evade the Stags midfield, who themselves battled well. There was two more chances of note as we entered the last ten minutes. First, substitute Moyo Ajibade did well to break down the right channel, putting a good ball into the box, which fellow replacement Callum Bloss latched on to but his strike sailed wide of the left-sided post. And then with mere moments left, Foxes skipper Mitchell McCabe struck a low-crisp effort which came back off the near post with Hoti beaten.
In the end though, the draw was a decent point for the Foxes who gathered their eighth shut-out of the season, which is good reward for a squad adapting to Senior football this term. West will be disappointed that they couldn’t convert their chances but they also showed parts of their development as a team in the last 12 months – specifically that they are often a tough side to beat.
Full-Time: Ilford 0 – 0 West Essex
So in the end, it was a battling if scrappy contest which neither side could edge. Even so, there was a lot to applaud from both sides as they will be pleased with elements of their respective displays here.
For West, the stand-out performers here were led by support forward Zak Oliver who made several good runs down the right flank, and included some good passing & pace as well. Full-back Emanuel Wazola also had a fine game, particularly in the second half as the hosts were getting more lively in attack, with Wazola making some good interceptions under pressure and used the ball well too. Centre-back Tala Lo Seye also put in a very good defensive display, making it hard for the opposition to create clear-cut chances. Finally, a word for dependable skipper Reece Clarke who put in a high-energy display in both defence & supporting the attack.
Ilford had a number of good individual performances here also, with full-back Henry Fisher putting in a very good performance, utilising possession well and making several important tackles to stifle a decent West forward line. Centre forward Caleb Adomako-Mensah also had a good game, showing decent pace & movement. He could count himself unlucky to not get on the score-sheet. Support forward Josh Boxall put in a number of good runs and passes, particularly after the break. While captain Mitchell McCabe also put in a hard shift for his team, becoming more influential in the last half hour.
I’d like to wish both teams a good remainder of the season.
Ilford | Manager: Richard Ponsford | Assistant: Mark Lilly
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Tim Pitman (GK), 2 Paul Cox (16 Delphin Moorat 13′), 3 Henry Fisher, 5 Tobi James, 6 Jake Chadwick, 4 Mwetsi Matangi (14 Ozzie Nyahunda 46′), 8 Mitchell McCabe (Capt), 7 Mo Kargbo, 10 Joe Lilly (12 Harry Rawlins 66′), 9 Caleb Adomako-Mensah (15 Luke Pike 76′), 11 Joshua Boxall
Booked: James | Sub Not Used: Fresneda
West Essex | Manager: Kwame Kwateng | Assistant: George Kars
Starting XI (Subs): 1 Dren Hoti (GK) , 6 Emanuel Wazola, 15 Tala Lo Seye, 25 Mitchell Arthur, 3 Joel Lamb (10 Callum Bloss 59′), 14 Reece Clarke (Capt), 17 Saliu Lo Seye (22 Timmy Moncur 73′), 8 Oliseh Okuguni, 19 Zak Oliver (18 Moyo Ajibade 70′), 20 David Bell (21 Mohamud Kaudeer 78′), 11 Cameron Gray
Sin-Bin: Okuguni [90’+2] | Subs Not Used: None
Referee: Dumitru Vasile
Assistants: Karl Dunnage & Adam Schroder