Stevenage's QPR loan star Ilias Chair: 'I could have had six' after stunning performance against League Two leaders Lincoln City
PUBLISHED: 08:33 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:51 17 February 2019
"I could have had six', Stevenage's loan star Ilias Chair tells me pitchside at Sincil Bank after scoring two goals in a pulsating 2-2 against League Two leaders Lincoln City.
The engaging Chair is not one for vacuous false modesty.
And why should he be after one of the most impressive performances this correspondent has seen in more than 30 years of watching lower league football?
It’s no wonder, when he models himself on his idol and compatriot Eden Hazard.
Chair, 21, on loan at the Lamex from QPR for the rest of this season scored two spectacular goals, hit the post twice and had other genuine chances – including a last second shot that was turned off the line.
He said: “I scored twice but I should have scored six. Everyone’s buzzing but it’s all about the team.
“I really enjoyed it. It was a good game. We were happy to get the point against the leaders. We kept going, we kept working hard.
“I couldn’t have done what I did without my teammates.”
In a pulsating comeback by Dino Maamria’s men the Belgian of Moroccan descent struck a pair of superlative shots which beat Imps keeper Grant Smith all ends up.
The second of which prompted wild celebrations among the 206 travelling fans in a sellout crowd of 9.036. Even if the joyful scenes were marred somewhat by the sight of Maamria being led away by burly stewards after doing a ‘Jurgen Klopp’.
But why not?
It’s not every day a piece of skill prompts a hard-bitten football boss to run 50 yards in celebration.
The Lincoln side manager Danny Cowley has assembled has taken them from non-league to the brink of the third tier of English football via an appearance at the Emirates in the sixth round of the FA Cup against Arsenal as they continue to dominate opponents at Sincil Bank and beyond.
But they had no answer to Chair’s excellence.
Chair explained to CometSport: “I have a good technical ability. I think I can beat a man or two. I’m not going to say I’m very fast but I think my first metres are very quick, very explosive.
“Of the top players, I model myself on Eden Hazard. He is the main player that I see myself in.”
Chair’s efforts cancelled out a brace from former Loftus Road loanee at the Lamex, Bruno Andrade, as Lincoln raced into a two goal lead.
However that was without reckoning on the character Maamria’s men showed in the Lincoln cauldron as Chair’s performance boosted Boro up to ninth place, a mere four points off Carlisle who occupy the last play-off spot in seventh.
“There is plenty more to come from me now I’m starting to know the league. We have to believe the play-offs are a realistic goal,” explained the good-natured Chair.
“We showed we can compete against any team in this league. I wanted to keep the crowd quiet. I’m enjoying my time here. The lads have been great and the gaffer’s been superb. Les Ferdinand has been in touch with me saying I’ve done well and just to keep going.”
Maamria used his extensive contacts book in the game to ask Superhoops legend Les Ferdinand if he could take the highly-rated player to Broadhall Way until May.
The charismatic Tunisian was glad he got his wish adding: “I thought Ilias scored two great goals and he hit the post a couple of times. Their keeper was their best player.”
Maamria’s overexuberent celebrations in the aftermath of Chair’s second goal when he raced to the section where the away fans were housed, saw him manhandled from the touchline by three burly stewards.
But the well-built Maamria was not concerned saying: “Yes I might have done a ‘Jurgen Klopp’ but sometimes you just have to celebrate after Ilias goals with the fans, who were brilliant.”
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29