Greens secure safety with Ilford win
Soham Town Rangers 2 Ilford 0
STEVE Fallon breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday as his Soham side secured their status in the Ryman Division One North with a win over fellow strugglers Ilford.
Goals from Dubi Ogbonna and Jonathan Brown book-ended a match wrought with tension, with both sides desperate to avoid a defeat that would see them staring deep into the relegation mire.
The win, the perfect tonic to Soham’s CIC Cup final defeat to fierce rivals Ely, sees them retain their status in the league, seven points clear of the drop zone with just one game remaining.
Relived boss Fallon said: “We had a lot of chances to win the match and in truth we dominated going forward so it was a relief when the second goal went in.
“Now we are safe we can look forward to next season and start thinking about putting some of our plans in place.”
It took Soham just three minutes to shake off their cup final defeat to Ely as Ogbonna pounced on a back header from an Ilford defender as it exploded off of the pitch, over the goalkeeper and cannoned back off the bar into his path.
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The increasingly impressive Dan Cotton went close to making it 2-0 less than 10 minutes later as his weaving run saw him work enough space to fire at goal from 15 yards only for the Ilford stopper to produce an excellent save to push his shot away.
At the other end, Ilford’s Emannuel Ibhadon kept Dan Bircham honest with a low shot from distance and Shane Stamp also had the big keeper scrambling as the visitors tried to mount a comeback.
Ogbonna, sent clear by Michael Simpson, should have made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark but sliced badly wide with only the keeper to beat.
Soham’s momentum came to an abrupt half after the break as they struggled to break forward, with Ilford lacking enough quality up front to hurt the Greens.
Ogbonna and Jack Paxman had decent shooting chances well saved before Cotton saw his dinked effort cleared off the line by a recovering Ilford defender.
With Ilford beginning to enjoy increasing amounts of possession however, Soham struck a decisive blow, Matt Robinson lofting the ball through for Brown to run on and finish coolly.