Waltham Forest were removed from this competition last season for fielding an illegible player. This season they have been removed due to Ilford putting away two chances, the first goal coming after only a minute; with the second then coming in the second half when the hosts had been applying steady pressure for most of the period.
A game of two halves is a classic football cliché but the first half of this encounter could also be monikered as a half of two distinct halves. Ilford came out all-guns blazing and took the lead after only a minute when a cross into the box was steered into the net by none other than leading marksman James Peagram.
Having taken the lead the Foxes then continued to put balls into the Forest box with Liam Burgess having a shot in the 8th minute saved by the legs of Steven French. The Forest keeper had to claim a number of crosses and was perhaps fortunate when he was beaten by one cross into his area that fell to George Whitelock, who then fluffed his chance by not getting a solid connection to the ball, which was in the end comfortably saved by French.
Waltham Forest eventually settled and stemmed the Ilford flow. But despite playing some nice passing football, with Mo Sagaf and Chris Medina both winning balls and then passing them nicely to team mates, there was little in shots being let off. That was until Joe Creasey twisted his way through the Ilford defence having his shot blocked.
There was still some defending to do for the hosts as a Peagram free kick was nodded away Germaine Due. Peagram then latched onto a through ball but was hustled and bustled off of it by Dua. A long range drive from Karolis Atutis was well saved by French, who then came to his team’s rescue when some lack lustre defending almost allowed Peagram a sniff of goal; French reacting quickly to mop up at the back.
But as the first half came into the final twenty minutes the hosts suddenly started having more possession in or around the Ilford box. Creasey was able to once again weave his way past two defenders before unloading with a shot that Atutis blocked. An Ilford attack at one end that saw Chris Medina have a crack was blocked by Sagaf, before being launched into a counter-offensive that ended with Creasey also having a shot blocked; then soon afterwards the same Forest player had another effort that forced Chris Clarke into a low diving save. Continued Forest pressure then produced another opening as Abiola Tanimowo had a rasping drive cut out by Clark.
The final five minutes also saw Forest threatening to get back on level terms – but only after first nearly following further behind as Alex Akanbi’s cross just missed Sam Baffour at the back post. But there was just enough time for Tanimowo to launch an attack with a defence splitting pass to Marco Faria, who entered the fray in the 34th minute, but on this occasion the shot was dragged wide. The hosts though went closer with their next effort as Jaydon Charles muscled his way around the Ilford box, gained possession of the ball and teed up Creasey, whose low shot towards the left hand corner was tipped away by Clark.
The first half ended with Waltham Forest on the front foot; the second half started in similar fashion as a corner in the opening seconds ended with Michael Bemwin letting fly which Clark again did well to save. The Foxes won a corner themselves soon afterwards which French punched clear. Forest launched a counter-attack straight away but the fast passing move ended with Creasey being heavily tackled, which the referee ruled as being a bit too over-zealous, awarding the hosts a free kick. Dua’s resulting kick was agonisingly an inch too high.
The Foxes had been under the cosh for most of the half, so when they extended their lead in the 62ndminute, it was very much against the run of play. But putting chances away is how games are won and Ilford’s second goal came down to Akambi charging down the left flank, delivering a perfect centre to George Whitelock, who drilled the shot past French.
Waltham Forest had a lot of work to do if they wanted to remain involved in this season’s Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy and to their credit went straight back on the attack; a minute after falling further behind Creasey was crossing to Charles who headed wide. In the 77th minute Charles had a dipping shot tipped over by Clark. Charles continued to be a nuisance as he won a corner moments later after his shot was deflected by Isaac Nkosi. The resulting corner was punched away by Clark but Faria volleyed the return narrowly over. Tanimowo and Sagaf both bulldozed their way into the attack and two Forest shots where cleared off the line as a result. The goal Waltham Forest deserved never came; Ilford however are through to the next round having withstood a lot of pressure and being clinical with their opportunities when they arose.
Waltham Forest: Steven French, Jose Mendoza, Jean-Paul Antwi, Michael Bemwin, Germaine Dua (Dom Shephard 68’), Terry Foxe, Abiola Tanimowo, Mo Sagaf (Capt), Jaydon Charles, Chris Medina (Marco Faria 34’), Joe Creasey (Nikko Stokes 68’).
Ilford: Chris Clark, Sam Baffour, Alex Akanbi, Paul Oshin (Capt), Karolis Atutis (Isaiah Anjorin 79’), Isaac Nkosi, George Whitelock, Harry Matthews (Glody Nsamu 70’), James Peagram, Liam Burgess (Bill Bungay 79’), Chris Lockwood.
Scorers – James Peagram (1’), George Whitelock (62’)
Report by Scott Lanza