Ilkeston FC 0 Hednesford Town 2
Hednesford Town secured a crucial three points in their title pursuit as Ilkeston once again fell short against their Staffordshire opponents.
It was the second time this season Hednesford had beaten the Robins 2-0, and as on the previous occasion, there was controversy along the way.
Ben Bailey’s 37th minute opener looked to have barely crossed the goal line before Ryan Wilson cleared, but the assistant referee gave the goal much to the annoyance of Ilkeston players and staff.
And having been denied a goal themselves when a ball looked to have certainly crossed the line at Keys Park earlier this season, the Robins were once again aggrieved.
That was also the case because the hosts had been the better side in the first half-hour or so, Kane Richards in particular in sparkling form.
In glorious sunshine that would have made the sides’ respective Bermudan and Barbadian international strikers feel perfectly at home, Hednesford’s John Disney saw an early shot deflected wide before Ilkeston took control of an open contest.
Danny Gordon struck a weak half volley just wide from outside the penalty area on 13 minutes, and moments later Richards did superbly down the left before his cross eventually found Laurie Wilson 20 yards out but his scissor volley was just over the top.
Chances dried up a little but Richards was continually causing problems down the left, leaving Disney a little dizzy with mazy and pacy runs.
Gordon was nearly in again on 31 minutes but having won the ball well saw his shot blocked.
Antwan Russell had been quiet initially before he saw a stinging drive tipped over well by Dan Crane on 34, but three minutes later the visitors would lead.
A corner from the right was flicked on and then headed down by Bailey, and despite Ryan Wilson seemingly having cleared, the goal was given - although even some Hednesford fans behind the goal seemed surprised.
Neil Harvey, the aforementioned Barbados international, was then denied by a fine tackle from Joe Maguire - named Player of the Year by fans after the game.
The second-half was a little more stale, especially from the hosts, as Hednesford looked to seal their victory.
Michael Lennon struck the foot of the post seconds into the half, then both he and Dave MacPherson were denied by the crossbar and a goalline clearance respectively following a corner.
MacPherson missed a header from six yards out when he really should have scored, but the Pitmen were to seal the win in style on 84 minutes.
Lennon was fouled some 25 yards out, and Kris Taylor curled a perfect free-kick into the top corner to send the travelling fans into ecstasy and keep Hednesford’s title hopes alive.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Rob Kozluk 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 Kane Richards 8 Danny Gordon (Callum Chettle 72) 9 Antwan Russell (Kieran O’Connell 76) 10 Aaron Hooton (Gary Ricketts 61) 11 James Reid Subs not used: James Cullingworth, Ellis Storey
Hednesford: 1 Dan Crane 2 John Disney 3 Darren Campion (c) 4 Ben Bailey 5 Francino Francis 6 Dave MacPherson 7 Jamey Osborne (Alex Melbourne 85) 8 Elliott Durrell (Nathan Woolfe 65) 9 Neil Harvey (Aaron Rey 71) 10 Michael Lennon 11 Kris Taylor. Subs not used: Kyle Patterson, Sam Barnes
Scorers: Bailey 37, Taylor 84
Ref: David Storrie (Leeds)
Star Robin: Kane Richards
by Mark Duffy