Gillespie strike sinks brave Ilford

Ilford 0 Colchester United 1RYMAN League Division One North side Ilford put up a gallant fight in the Essex Senior Cup supported by BBC Essex against Coca-Cola Football League One Colchester United, eventually losing 1-0 to a single Steven Gillespie strike shortly before half-time at Cricklefield on Wednesday night.

Ilford 0 Colchester United 1

RYMAN League Division One North side Ilford put up a gallant fight in the Essex Senior Cup supported by BBC Essex against Coca-Cola Football League One Colchester United, eventually losing 1-0 to a single Steven Gillespie strike shortly before half-time at Cricklefield on Wednesday night.

The game hinged on one moment two minutes before the break, Ilford's Des Gallen seeing his spot-kick saved before the U's broke away to immediately grab the only goal of the game and break the hearts of the determined hosts. It was the visitors who enjoyed much of the possession until that point, but they had to wait until the 12th minute for their first clear chance when Matt Heath nodded a Simon Hackney corner over.

Moments later a low Gillespie effort was well parried by home 'keeper Rob Budd and Medi Elito's follow-up was deflected wide of the post. Defender Aaron Scott then did well to direct Gillespie's shot over and, with the Ilford goal living a charmed life, David Fox fired high for the visitors following a neat ball by Joel Thomas. Budd soon sprinted off his line to brilliantly smother at the feet of the on-rushing Gillespie although the U's front-man soon found space inside the box for a curling shot, watching it fly over.


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The decisive moment then arrived on 43 minutes. Hackney inadvertently fouled Ilford's Junior Appiah in the box but Gallen saw his penalty saved by Mark Cousins. He rolled the ball out for Elito straight away and he was able to swing a cross into the opposite area where Gillespie was situated to accurately find the top corner from 15 yards.

Colchester could have doubled their lead a couple of minutes after the re-start, Elito sliding an angled effort wide of the near post. Pat Baldwin was additionally denied by a great reaction save by Budd after a cut-back from Gillespie and, from the resulting Phil Ifil corner, Paul Reid saw his downward header bounce over the top.

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Shot-stopper Budd was alert again to hold onto an Alan Maybury effort which skipped along the surface but an excellent goal line block by United's Tom Bender denied Victor Omogbehin for the home side after Appiah had chipped a free-kick into the danger area. Elito later saw his 20-yarder pushed wide by Budd before Colchester had an escape eight minutes from time, Appiah's quickly-taken corner being side-footed into the gloves of the alert Cousins by Harry Chalk from close range.

Colchester United: Mark Cousins, Pat Baldwin, Paul Reid, Alan Maybury, Matt Heath, Sam Corcoran, David Fox (Phil Ifil, 46), Simon Hackney (Tom Bender, 46), Medi Elito, Joel Thomas, Steven Gillespie (Craig Arnott, 62). Unused Substitutes: Jordan Sanderson, Shane Cusack.

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