Chorley 1 Ilkeston FC 0
Ilkeston remain pointless from their travels this season after another frustrating afternoon in Lancashire on Saturday.
Once again it was the inability to create enough clear-cut chances that was the Robins’ downfall, although they were perhaps unlucky not to claim a point after a couple of close shaves late on.
Debutant Darren Stephenson’s goal eventually proved enough early in the second-half and the travelling Ilkeston fans were left disappointed again.
Early pressure came from the hosts but with little product, and it was the Robins’ Andrew Osei-Siribour who threatened first seven minutes in as he chased a through ball but keeper Jack Cudworth raced out to block the youngster’s shot as the two collided.
Chorley’s Ciaran Kilheeney headed a corner over the top on 13 and Ilkeston’s James Reid tested Cudworth, also a debutant, soon afterwards with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The teams continued to exchange opportunities, Andy Teague flicking a corner just wide for the hosts, Jamie Clarke doing similar from Greg Pearson’s deep cross and then Dale Witham nodding Simon Garner’s centre past the post after half-an-hour.
Matt Richards was, once again, the one making things happen in the Robins’ midfield, and he produced an excellent piece of play on 39 minutes when he won the ball on the half way line and scampered forward past two challenges but when he finally got his shot away on the edge of the penalty area it was blocked away for a throw-in.
The only goal arrived on 48 minutes and it wasn’t great defending from the visitors.
Tom Walker’s long throw from the left was allowed to be flicked on twice, first by Teague and then Kilheeney who may in fact have been heading for goal, and the ball eventually fell to Southport loanee Stephenson at the back post who turned the ball in from two yards out.
Ilkeston responded with Pearson firing at the keeper from distance, Dan Partridge unable to turn the ball in following a goalmouth scramble and Clarke seeing an effort saved, while at the other end Pearson blocked a goalbound Tom Ince strike after the ball fell to the winger 12 yards out.
Chorley were reduced to ten men when Walker retired hurt with all subs used, but the Robins couldn’t make the advantage pay despite 16-year-old Ryan Osborne’s lively cameo up front in the final 15 minutes.
The closest they came was with two minutes to go when a corner bobbled around the penalty spot and Partridge managed to head for goal, but a defender got in the way on the goal line to clear and ensure the hosts would take all three points.
Chorley: 1 Jack Cudworth 2 Kieron Walmsley 3 Tom Walker 4 Andy Teague 5 Andy Russell (Mark Ross 21) 6 Simon Garner 7 Dale Whitham 8 Jamie Vermiglio (Adam Roscoe 49) 9 Ciaran Kilheeney (Chris Denham 56) 10 Darren Stephenson 11 Tom Ince. Subs not used: Steve Flitcroft, Steve Foster
Scorer: Stephenson 48
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Joe Wilcox 3 Greg Pearson 4 James Reid (Joe Maguire 63) 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (Ryan Wilson 63) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Andrew Osei-Siribour 10 Jamie Clarke (Ryan Osborne 74) 11 Will McCall. Subs not used: Russell Peel, Mike Williams Att: 658 Ref: G Mellor
Star Robin: Matt Richards
by Mark Duffy