MATCH REPORT: Ilkeston FC 0 Blyth Spartans 5

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On paper this always looked like it would be a one-sided affair and so it proved.

Blyth Spartans have won every game they’ve played in 2017 so far as they seemingly charge towards promotion, and this result was never in doubt.

Ilkeston’s troubles look far from over and their youngsters were never at the races here, although it was a recent rarity in that they lost by more than one goal for a change.

But the fact is they lost again, and it’s now 11 straight defeats and 19 games without a victory. Relegation seems the only outcome unless drastic, and successful, changes happen throughout the club very soon, and even then it might well be too late.

Blaming the players would again be harsh given the circumstances in which they’re performing, but it remains the case that several lack the quality to perform at this level and any trying to learn their trade will be seeing their development, and confidence, destroyed by the experience.

Despite Ilkeston looking confident early on it took just five minutes for Spartans to take the lead.

The talismanic Robbie Dale was the architect, his run down the left seeing him reach the byline and sit a cross up for Jarrett Rivers to head past Dale Eve and into the net.

Luke Armstrong looped an effort too high on 14 minutes after Eve had failed to collect a free-kick from the left, the same player then just unable to connect properly with a Stephen Turnbull centre minutes later.

Ilkeston’s first effort took 19 minutes to arrive, Danny Gordon’s shot straight at Paul Woolston in the Blyth goal after Brandon Clarke’s cross hadn’t been cleared.

Chances then dried up somewhat, although Blyth were hardly having to get out of second gear and the Robins were struggling to make any impact in the final third.

Eve had to then be alert to tip an Armstrong header over the bar after Ilkeston hadn’t cleared a corner, but the second Blyth goal wouldn’t be long in coming.

It had a touch of class about it, and that usually means it’s Dale who provides it. This time, he received a throw in some 25 yards out, turning and volleying first time with an effort which flew over Eve and in off the far post.

Half-time arrived with Blyth having broken little sweat and the second-half began in similar fashion, Armstrong breaking through before forcing a good save from Eve early on.

The third goal came on 53 minutes as the ball found Rivers in space in the penalty area and he finished powerfully into the roof of the net.

The fourth came ten mintues later from the foot of substitute Adam Wrightson. He’d only been on the pitch a couple of minutes when the ball found him following a corner and his low shot was deflected into the net on 63.

The fifth arrived five minutes later, a corner from the left headed home by the unmarked Dan Maguire, who had arrived as sub along with Wrightson.

Ilkeston were reduced to long range pot shots that failed to get near the goal, Dwyer one of those to try his luck, but they simply had no answer.

Eve twice denied Dale further goals, the Bermudan goalkeeper the only Robins player to come out of the game with any credit, but the five he conceded told the tale.

Ilkeston: 1 Dale Eve, 2 Connor Walters (Reece Horne 71), 3 Charlie Scanlon, 4 Tom Gamblen, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Dante Leverock, 7 Dexter Atkinson (Tevahn Tyrell 46), 8 Danny Gordon, 9 Anthony Dwyer, 10 Max Thornberry, 11 Brandon Clarke (Ben Morris 59)

Subs not used: Keenan Meakin, Jamie Hannis

Blyth: 1 Paul Woolston, 2 David Atkinson (Jordan Watson 46), 3 Andrew Cartwright, 4 Damen Mullen, 5 Ryan Hutchinson, 6 Nathan Buddle, 7 Jarrett Rivers, 8 Stephen Turnbull, 9 Jordan Laidler (Adam Wrightson 60), 10 Luke Armstrong (Dan Maguire 60), 11 Robbie Dale

Subs not used: Richard Pell, Chris Bell

Goals: Rivers 5, 53, Dale 43, Wrightson 61, Maguire 68

Att: 389

Ref: Robbie Dadley

Star Robin: Dale Eve