The Jersey Wanderers forward scored on his first Combined Counties League start on Friday night and picked up the man-of-the-match award after helping steer the Bulls to a second win from two.
Despite the season being just ten days old, Freeman’s side are already one of just three teams in the division still holding a 100% record, with a 2-0 triumph over previously unbeaten British Airways maintaining their perfect league and cup record since their formation in 2019.
Illingworth scored the Bulls’ second goal after Fraser Barlow’s 58th-minute opener on the perimeter of Heathrow Airport.
‘I thought he had a great game,’ said Freeman. ‘He led the line really well and everything that is good about our game you could see in Arthur. He works hard and it was a good reward for him to get his goal.
‘British Airways had won their first two games and have certainly improved on last year. They had new players and you could see why they hadn’t conceded [in two games] before Friday. There will be a lot of different challenges this year, and we’re going to be chasing too.’
Unable to play midweek games due to work commitments, Bulls are set to rack up a considerable number of games in hand in the early stages of the season, which will not feature any home ties due to local restrictions on sporting events. And to further complicate matters, Friday’s victory came just hours after the Government of Jersey upgraded the London Borough of Hillingdon – and consequently Heathrow – to ‘amber’ on its Covid-19 regional risk rating system, meaning Bulls would now be required to isolate for at least five days on their return if they spend the night near the airport.
The club have subsequently switched hotels for this week’s league trip to face Fleet Spurs – one of what could be numerous Friday-night fixtures due to British Airways’ decision to remove their Saturday evening Heathrow-to-Jersey flight from the schedule.
Full report and reaction in Monday's JEP.