Rampant Robins keep FA Cup dreams alive

Matt Richards steers home the fourth goal against Gresley on Saturday. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
Matt Richards steers home the fourth goal against Gresley on Saturday. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
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ILkeston FC 4 Gresley FC 2

Ilkeston produced an excellent display of attacking football to dispose of Gresley on Saturday and progress to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

In an entertaining all-Derbyshire clash, the Robins were at times wasteful in front of goal which, not for the first time this season, threatened to be their undoing at one point, but ultimately their quality shone through.

Most of the attacking moves produced in the first-half provided goals.

After Matt Richards had seen a shot blocked by Gresley keeper Gary Hartley on seven minutes, Ilkeston took the lead shortly afterwards as Chris Jones’ throw-in from the right was knocked back to Aaron Hooton and he drove a low shot into the far corner of the net.

The lead lasted just six minutes. A free-kick was awarded 30-yards from the Robins’ goal and former Port Vale and Burton Albion man Marc Goodfellow curled a fabulous effort left-footed into the top corner.

A lull in proceedings followed although the hosts were looking most dangerous, and sure enough it was they who regained the lead on 30 minutes when James Reid’s right-wing free-kick was glanced home by Daryll Thomas.

Reid poked an effort just wide on 37 and Thomas lacked composure just before half-time when he broke forward before shooting too high, but the Robins held a deserved lead at the break.

And that lead was to be extended just ten minutes into the second-half.

Good distribution by keeper Ashley Timms found Reid who made good ground before threading a perfect through ball into Thomas, and this time he made no mistake with a low finish into the corner of the net.

The evidence so far suggested that would be the end of the contest but, out of nothing, Gresley pulled it back to 3-2 within two minutes.

Goodfellow had been a threat throughout and he was to score another stunner, this time smashing a dipping volley past Timms from 35 yards out to put the match back on a knife-edge.

Indeed, Gresley were suddenly able to come to life and in their best spell of the match, Jamie Barrett’s long range effort was tipped wide by Timms, Goodfellow saw efforts firstly well saved and then fly just past the post, and defender Michael Nottingham screwed a shot wide after a corner.

In between those chances, Thomas’s frustrating unpredictability in front of goal was again to the fore as he found himself one-on-one with Hartley but blazed too high, while several other good Ilkeston moves were let down by ‘over-playing’ when getting a shot in would probably have been a better option.

But the win was sealed on 90 minutes and it was a deserved goal for the ever-impressive Richards.

After Jack Watts’ shot was cleared off the line and the ball only half cleared, Richards arrived on the scene to effortlessly beat two players and find the far corner of the net from a tight angle to seal Ilkeston’s passage through in style.

The Robins will now travel to divisional rivals AFC Fylde in the fourth qualifying round on October 20th, with just one game now between them and a potential match with a Football League side in the first round proper.

Ilkeston: 1 Ashley Timms 2 Chris Jones 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Dion Chambers 5 Dan Partridge 6 Joe Maguire 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards (c) 9 Aaron Hooton 10 Daryll Thomas (Dereece Gardner 87) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Ellis Storey, Greg Pearson, Russell Peel, Will McCall, Ryan Osborne, Chris Martin

Scorers: Hooton 9, Thomas 30, 55, Richards 90 
Gresley: 1 Gary Hartley (c) 2 Jamie Barrett (Phil Massingham 85) 3 Jordi Gough 4 Marc Strzyzewski 5 Michael Nottingham 6 Garth Longford (Craig Attwood 32, Richard Hanson 73) 7 Micky Lyons 8 James Jepson 9 Dean Oliver 10 Rob Spencer 11 Marc Goodfellow. Subs not used: Lavell White, Kyle Bryant, Matt Roome, Tom Gutteridge

Scorer: Goodfellow 15, 57 Att: 621 Ref: Richard Bartlett (Sale) Star Robin: Matt Richards

by Mark Duffy