10-man Boro lose unbeaten record

Frenford 3, Romford 2 – Essex Senior League – Tuesday 12th September 2023

After Saturday’s near perfect display against FC Clacton, a miserable night in Ilford saw Boro’s unbeaten record go for a Burton, and they finished with ten men to boot, as Junior Luke was sent off at the death.

Right from the first whistle Frenford put Romford under pressure, and they hassled and harried Boro all night, forcing innumerable errors, to which Boro added a number of unforced ones as passes went astray and clearances were blocked. All three Frenford goals owed something to hesitant defending or misplaced passes, and it started inside the first minute.

Only 24 seconds had been played when the home side went ahead, Sam Ince capitalising on Henry Hart’s poor pass to gain possession and send a 25 yard shot past Wayne Baker. A poor clearance by Hart gifted Frenford another shooting opportunity from which Boro were relieved to concede a corner rather than a second goal after four minutes, and after eight minutes the normally ultra-reliable Junior Luke lost possession enabling Billy Karby to get a shot in that was blocked by Scott Doe at the expense of a corner.

From the flag kick Romford had to clear the ball off their own goal line and then Lewis Bartrip fired a shot from outside the box as Frenford dominated the early play, penning Boro inside their own half and constantly pressuring the ill at ease looking defence.

Eventually, Romford began to assert themselves and after 14 minutes Hassan Nalbant – who was left to plough a rather lonely furrow up front at times – shot across goal after latching onto a header from Bobby Dailly, and a couple of minutes later, Dailly headed wide from Lee Hursit’s corner.

Junior Luke was on the end of a good move after 17 minutes that put him through with only Matt Knight in the Frenford goal to beat, but the ball ran away from him after a heavy touch and the chance was lost, and then after 20 minutes, Dailly had a shot deflected wide after good work by Jayden Silcott-Brown.

But Boro were still struggling to contain Frenford who continued to shoot at every opportunity and deliver crosses that threatened to exploit hesitant Boro defending. Henry Hart was booked for a foul on the edge of his own penalty area in one such instance, and the subsequent free-kick called for a save by Wayne Baker and a scrambled clearance at the expense of a corner. Immediately after, a shot by Frenford’s Igor Sani only just cleared the Romford crossbar.

Ash Siddik then won possession in midfield for Romford and drove forward, but just as he seemed to have a clear run at goal, a Frenford defender got back to cover and the chance was lost.

Bobby Dailly’s chested pass from Hart’s cross set up Hassan Nalbant for a shot that was deflected wide after 37 minutes, and a minute later Boro were finally level when Dailly lashed in a shot from the edge of the box after Frenford had for once, failed to clear.

Jacob Wiggins joined the fray at the start of the second half, and was booked for a trip within sixty seconds.

Fifty minutes gone and Wayne Baker made a highly unorthodox save with an outstretched foot to keep out a swerving shot from Sam Ince, but after 52 minutes, Dion Johnson capitalised by beating Baker to a long, low through ball and tapping home for the home side’s second goal.

A long run by Frenford’s Huseyin Yildiz ended with a shot that was comfortably gathered by Baker after 61 minutes, and four minutes later at the other end, Hassan Nalbant made a good run that ended with Frenford keeper Knight turning his shot away for a corner.

Frenford’s Raheem Grey twice broke clear on the right, beating attempts to play him offside, but chipped tamely into Baker’s hands after 71 minutes, and sixty seconds later fired across goal from a similar position.

Hassan Nalbant found himself with a clear sight of goal after 76 minutes but Knight blocked his shot with a foot, and Nalbant was then wrestled to the ground on the edge of the penalty area by Bartrip, who was rightly booked. The free-kick came to nothing.

Boro equalised from the spot after 81 minutes, Lee Hursit sending Knight the wrong way after Sonny Shilling had been fouled as he burst into the penalty area, but parity lasted just three minutes. Again, Boro were their own worst enemies as Baker called for, but failed to claim an 84th minute through ball and after Darren Phillips’s clearance was blocked, Dion Johnson had the simple task of passing the ball into an empty net.

Boro’s woe was complete in the final minute of normal time as having pushed forward in search of another equaliser, the defence was left exposed and Junior Luke’s scything tackle on Gray has he strode down the right flank earned him a straight red card.

A side much changed from the win over FC Clacton looked uncomfortable for long periods against a Frenford team who belied their lowly league position and were full value for their first ever Essex Senior League win, leaving Boro with the task of picking up the pieces ahead of the visit to White Ensign on Saturday.

Romford: Wayne Baker, Henry Hart (Jamie Hursit, 55m), Junior Luke, Lee Hursit, Darren Phillips, Scott Doe (Michael Turner, 87m), Jayden Silcott-Brown (Harrison Georgiou, 55m), Ash Siddik (Jacob Wiggins, 46m), Hassan Nalbant, Bobby Dailly (Sonny Shilling, 55m), Toheeb Elegushi