MATCH REPORT: Ilkeston 4-1 Hinckley AFC

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Ilkeston made it five league games unbeaten with a fine display to beat high-flying Hinckley AFC 4-1 on Saturday.

In what was comfortably the most entertaining game seen at the NMG so far this season, three goals in the second-half proved the against a side who gave as good as they got for around an hour of the encounter.

But Hinckley heads dropped once they fell behind for a second time and despite some late pressure they rarely looked like pegging the hosts back as they had in the first-half.

For Ilkeston, this was another impressive display in front of their sizeable home support - 551 in attendance this time - and showed again that they are gelling together well as a team despite the club only having been in existence for a couple of months.

The visitors were a threat early on, themselves backed by a vocal set of fans. George Bowerman meant business five minutes in as he beat three players on a rampaging run forward but his eventual shot was blocked by Chris Shaw.

The opening 15 minutes was fairly quiet after that but the game then came to life with the opening goal. A high ball forward from Jamie Walker saw Alex Marshall challenge keeper Haydn Whitcombe and having nodded the ball past him, the Robins striker was able to follow in and fire into the net despite the challenge of defender Joe Haines.

A second nearly followed four minutes later when Ben Clark’s cross following a short corner was headed just too high by Montel Gibson.

Jamie Walker’s cross-come-shot floated just over Whitcombe’s crossbar on 25 minutes as the hosts continued to gain a foothold on proceedings, but it would ultimately be Hinckley who get themselves level on 38 minutes.

Joe Haines was fouled just outside the penalty area as he got a shot in, skipper Lee Butler stepping up to place a fine low free-kick past keeper Ian Deakin and into the corner of the net.

Bowerman chipped an effort just over the bar for the visitors just before half-time, but the two sides would go in level at the break in what was a fair representation of proceedings.

Lee Miveld’s low shot tested Deakin in the early moments of the second-half, then an even better chance was presented to Steve Hart thanks to an error at the back but somehow he shot wide when it looked much easier to score.

Despite the visitors starting the second-half so well, it was Ilkeston who went back in front. Gibson has struggled to make an impact for the Robins, particularly at home, but when he pupt himself in on goal with a delightful flick over a defender on 54 minutes he ran on and finished superbly past Whitcombe to restore parity.

Tom Marshall’s half volley floated too high on the hour mark for the Robins, before a mess in the Hinckley defence gave his brother Alex a chance but Whitcombe did well to push his effort wide for a corner.

Sub Billy Bennett was unlucky not to score too, beating one man superbly but then sliding his shot just the post.

The third goal finally came on 67 minutes and it was another defensive error that caused it - the visitors having been careless in possession a number of times. This time the ball was given to Alex Marshall and he squared for Gibson who fired low into the net for his second goal.

Deakin then produced a stunning point-blank save to deny Bowerman whose powerful header from four yards out looked a certain goal until the player/assistant manager clawed the ball out from under the bar.

Gibson then nearly got his hat-trick when running through and rounding Whitcombe but seeing his shot blocked by covering defenders.

Chances dried up a little until the latter stages, Alex Marshall running through to force a late save from Whitcombe four minutes from time, but the front man wouldn’t be denied his second in the 90th minute as again he burst through a tired Hinckley defence to finish low past Whitcombe and seal the victory.

Ilkeston: 1 Ian Deakin, 2 Lavell White, 3 Jamie Walker, 4 Chris Shaw, 5 Charlie Jemson, 6 Elliot Hodgett-Young, 7 Martin Lench (c), 8 Tom Marshall, 9 Alex Marshall, 10 Montel Gibson (Tim Hopkinson 83), 11 Ben Clark (Billy Bennett 57)

Subs not used: Jordan Wheatley, Jake Wood, Ben Fairclough

GOALS: A Marshall 15, 90, Gibson 54, 67

Hinckley AFC: 1 Haydn Whitcombe, 2 Marcus Jackson, 3 Joe Haines (Isaac Cooper 58), 4 James Williams, 5 Richard Munday, 6 Mitchell Tomlinson, 7 Lee Butler (c) (Sean Geddes 58), 8 Lee Miveld, 9 Steve Hart, 10 George Bowerman, 11 Jean Kalenda (Ryan Baldwin 64)

Subs not used: Jake Healy, Kyle Minto

GOALS: Butler 38

Ref: Alan Cox

Att: 551

Star Robin: Montel Gibson