This afternoon saw the much-anticipated top of the table clash where Ilford Town Football Academy (ITFA) were looking to close the gap on the current Echo B League leaders. Many of the players missing from last week’s game were back ready to try to build on the momentum gained from last week’s win.
The weather conditions for the game were challenging, with high winds making it difficult to play open and expansive football. The opposition coped with these conditions better in the opening exchanges, pushing ITFA back. The situation was not helped by two ITFA players picking up injuries in the early exchanges and having to be substituted. This pressure from the opposition soon turned into an opening goal.
On 17 minutes the opposition put a big ball over the top, which caught the wind and went over the heads of the two ITFA centre backs and dropped invitingly to an opposition forward… his shot was well saved by the ITFA goalkeeper however the rebound dropped to another attacking player who slotted home the opening goal.
Buoyed by the opening goal, the opposition continued to press forward and looked the more likely to build on their lead. This pressure paid further dividend, where on the 22nd minute a long shot from the edge of the box went in leaving ITFA with plenty to do in the second half to get anything from the game.
Now with the wind behind them in the second half, ITFA set about trying to get the all-important third goal of the game, which would have given them a foothold to try to salvage at least a point.
Despite the best efforts of the ITFA team, the opposition held strong and won many of the 50/50 challenges and second balls during the second half, meaning they held out to claim victory.
Although defeat was hard to take, ITFA must now look forward to focus on next week’s home game to get their push for promotion back on track.