Ilkeston’s hopes of a good FA Cup run were ended by visitors Stourbridge on Saturday as the West Midlands side ran out 2-1 winners at the New Manor Ground.
The result was probably fair and owed more to the quality of the visiting side than Ilkeston not being at their best, but the latter scenario did Paul Holland’s men no favours despite them taking the lead early on.
That proved a false dawn as the visitors bounced back to win, although a highly controversial penalty award which gave them their winning goal would end up haunting the home side, video replays showing Jak Kenworthy clearly won the ball as he tackled Chris Lait.
More attacking prowess is still required and the continued use of a lone front man doesn’t seem to be working well enough - Holland’s attempts to remedy that with the acquisition of Malachi Lavelle-Moore then frustrated by an injury to top scorer Anthony Dwyer, meaning Lavelle-Moore would plough the lone furrow instead.
Both sides looked lively early on but it took 16 minutes for the first real chance to come and when it did, it brought a goal for the Robins.
Luis Rose received the ball on the right hand side and his excellent cross was powerfully headed home by Rory Coleman from 15 yards out.
A misunderstanding at the back nearly let Stourbridge in for a leveller on 25 minutes but Kayeldon Brown couldn’t control his finish as he fired over the bar from a good position.
A mistake by Stourbridge captain Stuart Pierpont then let in debutant Malachi Lavelle-Moore down the right but his cross was put into the hands of keeper Matt Gould by Mark Shelton.
Ross Durrant’s first save came seconds later when Luke Benbow’s effort from an angle was parried wide, but it was from the corner that Stourbridge got level.
Drew Canavan’s kick was met by the head of Pierpont to direct the ball into the six yard box where Leon Broadhurst won a second header to guide it into the net.
Ilkeston responded well, Rose’s shot deflected wide after a good move forward, Matt Baker flicking a header wide from the resulting corner and the teams going in level at the break.
Heavy rain began teeming down during the break and would continue for the remainder of the game, Tom Tonks putting the first shot of the second-half over the top for the visitors.
Some awful defending then presented Stourbridge with two golden openings to score, Brown opting to square the ball rather than shoot when one-on-one with Durrant but then Chris Lait seeing his shot blocked by Luke Foster as the Robins recovered to save themselves.
Stourbridge’s pressure then paid off as they got their second from the penalty spot. It looked from a distance like Jak Kenworthy had got the ball when tackling Lait but the referee thought otherwise and pointed for a penalty. Benbow sent it low down the middle and the visitors led on 59 minutes.
Baker’s header from a corner was deflected just wide and then Kenworthy’s effort was blocked from the following flag kick as Ilkeston responded well to going behind.
Lait should have made it 3-1 when put in on goal by Brown on 70 minutes but put the ball wide of the post.
Several subsitutions followed and chances dried up for a while, Ilkeston initially struggling to make the ball stick in the final third despite now having two up top in subs Dexter Atkinson and David Jones.
The latter stages eventually saw the Robins begin start to put pressure on and Shelton’s 25-yarder moved in the air before being clumsily pushed wide by Gould on 85 minutes.
Justin Richards nearly got a third on the breakaway deep in stoppage time after Ilkeston had thrown everyone forward for a corner, but the whistle soon went to signal the end of Ilkeston’s FA Cup adventure for another year.
Ilkeston: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Jak Kenworthy, 3 Rhys Dolan, 4 Danny Gregory (Dexter Atkinson 71), 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Luke Foster, 7 Luis Rose, 8 Mark Shelton, 9 Malachi Lavelle-Moore (David Jones 65), 10 Anton Brown, 11 Rory Coleman (Ben Morris 77)
Subs not used: Connor Walters, Ryan Head, Haydn Goddard, Reid Owen
Stourbridge: 1 Matthew Gould, 2 Kristian Green, 3 Brian Smikle, 4 Tom Tonks, 5 Stuart Pierpont (c), 6 Dan Scarr, 7 Drew Canavan, 8 Leon Broadhurst, 9 Luke Benbow, 10 Kayelden Brown (Justin Richards 76), 11 Chris Lait (Matt Dodd 79)
Subs not used: Brad Birch, Brandon Hague, Jake Heath, Lewis Probert, Ash Malhotra
Ref: James Bell
Star Robin: Rhys Dolan