Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Football: Dockers end season on high note

Tilbury 3 v 2 Ilford 2

Att: 45

By Nathan Douglas

TILBURY made an inspiring comeback beating Ilford 3-2 in their last game of the season at home in an incredible match that saw dreadful weather conditions.

The match started off slowly as both sides appeared to be feeling each other out. The first real chance came after 14 minutes as Tilbury’s Conor Mead found Emiel Aiken but he was unable to find the back of the net as his shot was struck wide of the Ilford goalpost.

Ilford were forced to do more defending just 3 minutes later after Tom Wraight appeared to be through on goal however the Ilford goalkeeper was able to meet Wraight before he could take his second touch and the ball was scrambled out by the Ilford defence. Ilford showed they were also a goal threat, just minutes later when Sope Lawal’s effort was cleared off the line after Mursal Ibrahimouich’s initial shot was saved.

21 minutes into the match and the weather took a turn for the worse going from rain to hail. Aiken had another chance at goal 25 minutes in however his shot was once again saved, and the game began to slow down once more as the hail continued to fall.

Tilbury had another opportunity to take the lead at the 35 minute mark when Aiken found Danny Francis on the edge of the penalty box; Francis made a nice turn beating the Ilford defender but placed the ball just wide.

The first goal of the match came just 2 minutes later as Ibrahimouich’s cross was met by a stunning volley from Chinedu Mckenzie blasting the ball into the top left corner putting the away team ahead after 37 minutes.

The early part of the second half saw both teams creating minor chances and saw Ilford make their first substitution replacing Nyradeen Kallon with Sean Nyagsungo. An hour into the match and Tilbury started pushing for the equaliser forcing Ilford to defend numerous attacks and made their first substitution bringing on Aaron Matthews for Gary Hently 60 minutes in followed 5 minutes later with the introduction of Rimmel Daniel for Tom Wraight. The weather conditions were clearly affecting play at this point causing the ball to bounce inconsistently around the pitch.

After only 6 minutes of game time under his belt Daniel was brought down in the penalty box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Aaron Waters stepped up to take the penalty placing it just beyond Robert Hatton’s reach levelling the score at 1 goal apiece 71 minutes in. The Home side’s celebration was cut short however as just 1 minute later Chinedu Mckenzie scored his second goal of the match putting Ilford in the driving seat once again at 2-1. Tilbury made their final substitution bringing on Ben Crooks for Conor Mead.

Nevertheless Tilbury continued to fight and their persistence paid off as Emiel Aiken’s low cross set up Aaron Matthews for the easy finish in front of goal equalising for a second time in the 82nd minute bringing the score to 2-2. The goal seemed to have inspired the home side as they continued to put pressure on the Ilford defence and earned themselves a corner in the 89th minute. The home crowd was buzzing as Aaron Waters walked over to the corner flag to take the corner as they realised this could have been the last chance to win the match. Waters kick didn’t even need to find a team mate as it curled straight into the back of the net directly from the corner for the second time this season, putting Tilbury in front for the first time in the match and with just one minute of regular time to play.

Ilford did their best to make a push for the equaliser following the announcement of 3 minutes added time but they were unable to break down Tilbury’s solid defence giving Tilbury the win in their last game of the season finishing them 9th in the league. The result for Ilford confirmed relegation with a bottom place finish.

Team: Marrable, Mead (Crooks 76), Waters, Gillman, Nightingill, Henty (Matthews 60), Francis, Blackman, Aiken, Cutler, Wraight (Daniel 65)

Subs not used: Edwards

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