MATCH REPORT: Ilkeston FC 0 Grantham Town 3

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Grantham won’t have too many more straightforward afternoons than this one on the road.

A once-again young Ilkeston side had nothing in their locker to worry the Gingerbreads even a little, never recovering from a devastating opening spell from the visitors nor ever looking likely to.

It would be harsh to blame the personnel involved given their relative lack of experience and the circumstances in which they’re having to perform, a relegation battle surely on the cards if things aren’t changed soon.

They were simply out-fought and and out-thought by a Grantham side who didn’t have to delve all that deep into their skillsets to achieve that outcome, matters made worse for the hosts by the fact that two of their former players played a big part in their downfall.

The opening ten minutes decided the game.

An early Danny Meadows header was blocked behind by Tom Gamblenn as the visitors attacked from the off, Tom Batchelor missing an even better one moments later as he fired over a virtually open goal following hesitation at the back for Ilkeston.

The visitors’ start had been explosive and they turned the screw in devastating style before ten minutes had been played.

First, ex-Robin Ellis Storey burst down the left and found Meadows six yards out and he slid the ball home.

Two minutes later, Felipe Barcelos volleyed home after another cross wasn’t cleared and the Robins were in disarray.

Malachi Lavelle-Moore had Ilkeston’s first major effort on goal from Gamblenn’s cross 18 minutes in, his header flying over Kieran Preston’s goal.

Ross Durrant blocked a Barcelos effort low down on the half-hour as the Gingerbreads continued to look a threat going forward, Storey’s shot from the rebound sliced wide.

Luis Rose found the hands of Preston at the other end, while Storey’s rampaging runs down the left were causing issues for the home defence and his next cross was headed wide by Harry Clifton.

Luke Shaw is a man released by Ilkeston last summer who would probably have a key and influential role to play for the Robins had he been allowed to stay. Instead he now turns out for Grantham and he headed a Clifton cross straight at Durrant not long before half-time.

A formation change for Ilkeston at the break saw Brandon Clarke on to take a right wing berth created by a change back to 4-4-2, although Grantham had the first opening as Clifton shot low at Durrant.

It took a while for the third goal to arrive but it did so on 58 minutes. Luke Shaw did the hard work, starting the move and then finishing it with a low ball into the six yard box aimed at namesake Lee Shaw but which Ilkeston defender Connor Walters could only turn into his own net.

Durrant then spilled a Luther Wildin strike with Barcelos then forcing a far more convincing block by the keeper from the rebound.

The Robins had nothing to offer in response, the visitors continuing their threat with Batchelor’s header cleared off the line and Meadows’ follow up hitting the outside of the post.

A late Jaylon Bather header dropped just wide as Ilkeston sought a consolation, but the damage had been firmly done.

Ilkeston: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Connor Walters, 3 Tom Gamblenn (Brandon Clarke 46), 4 Danny Gordon, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Jaylon Bather, 7 Luis Rose, 8 Max Thornberry (Charlie Scanlon 70), 9 Malachi Lavelle-Moore, 10 Ben Morris, 11 Haydn Goddard (Keenan Meakin 69)

Subs not used: Tevahn Tyrell, Jamie Hannis

Grantham: 1 Kieran Preston, 2 Luther Wildin, 3 Ellis Storey, 4 Tom Batchelor, 5 Sam Purcicoe, 6 Danny Meadows, 7 Harry Clifton (Andy Wright 74), 8 Rhys Lewis (c) (Michael Hollingsworth 68), 9 Filipe Barcelos (Jeremiah Dasaolu 70), 10 Lee Shaw, 11 Luke Shaw

Subs not used: Curtis Burrows, Brett Callow

Ref: Matthew Law

Att: 373