Ilkeston FC 3 Blyth Spartans 1
Ilkeston gained revenge for defeat in Northumberland just two weeks previously as they returned to action in style at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
Blyth had been the Robins’ last league opponents and won with a last minute penalty on their own patch in the first encounter between the sides, but this time Ilkeston produced the goods and claimed a welcome three points.
The hosts were quicker out of the blocks, Jack Watts and Gary Ricketts both going close within the opening couple of minutes.
Blyth should have been in front soon afterwards when Robbie Dale’s ball in from the byline was untidily met by Dan Maguire six yards out and although his contact took the ball past keeper Chris Martin, the Spartans man’s namesake Joe was on hand to clear off the line.
The visitors went even closer on 16 minutes when Ryan McGorrigan’s powerful effort from outside the penalty area hammered the crossbar, while at the other end Ilkeston’s Maguire saw a shot pushed over by keeper Mark Cook after a free-kick had been cleared.
But the lead belonged to Ilkeston on 29 minutes and was handed to them on a plate.
Cook’s short pass from goal was dallied on by Joe Kendrick and when Aaron Hooton stepped in to win possession, the man whose winning spot-kick on March 16 won the game for Blyth this time conceded a penalty as he hacked down Hooton who in turn put the hosts ahead comfortably from 12 yards.
He nearly scored again moments later but this time rattled the crossbar when the ball broke to him in the penalty area, and further efforts from Blyth’s Maguire and Ilkeston’s James Reid and Ricketts threatened goals but failed to register them before the break.
Reid would have better luck early in the second-half, when he ran on to a superb through ball from Laurie Wilson and finished well past Cook to make it 2-0.
That should have put the Robins on track for a comfortable second-half but the visitors weren’t having any of it, Kendrick making amends for his earlier error by heading home from close range after Craig Hubbard’s corner had been flicked on after 54 minutes.
But the Robins looked most likely to score next, Ricketts in particular as he first headed Ryan Wilson’s cross untidily wide and then forced Cook into a good save from a powerful shot.
Former Robins Neal Hooks flashed an effort wide for Blyth on 71 minutes, but after Joe Maguire’s free header from a corner had cleared the crossbar and Laurie Wilson’s low drive had been parried away by Cook, Ilkeston finally wrapped things up in injury-time.
A Blyth attack broke down leaving sub Kane Richards to exploit the gaping holes at the back with his pace, and after he’d progressed to the edge of the penalty area he squared the ball to Ricketts who gleefully slid home his first goal for three months to complete the home side’s’ victory.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Rob Kozluk 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Dan Partridge 6 Joe Maguire 7 James Reid 8 Jack Watts 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Aaron Hooton (Kane Richards 77) 11 Matt Richards. Subs not used: Greg Pearson, Ellis Storey, Russell Peel, James Cullingworth
Scorers: Hooton 29pen, Reid 48, Ricketts 90+2
Blyth: 1 Mark Cook 2 Richie Slaughter 3 Damon Mullen 4 Joe Kendrick 5 Wayne Buchanan (c) 6 Stephen Turnbull (Jack Stranger 79) 7 Lee Mason 8 Craig Hubbard (Neal Hooks 66) 9 Ryan McGorrigan 10 Dan Maguire 11 Robbie Dale (Phil Airey 46). Subs not used: Jordan Mellish, Connor Grant
Scorer: Kendrick 64
Att: 419 Ref: Luke Watson Star Robin: James Reid
By Mark Duffy