Match report: Blyth Spartans 3-2 Ilkeston FC

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Being their own worst enemies and shooting themselves in the foot have been common cliches applied to Ilkeston FC this season and they can be brought out again after this encounter.

An early penalty and a sleepy ten minutes after half-time cost them in Northumbria on Tuesday night, and despite Laurie Wilson scoring probably the best goal in the club’s short history after 15 minutes it couldn’t inspire them to victory.

Good attacking play was a feature again but so too was the Robins’ profligacy in front of goal.

They had started brightly with early half chances for Kane Richards and Jason Stokes offering cause for optimism, but then Blyth winger Arran Wearmouth clattered into Joe Maguire in the penalty area and after he’d crashed to the floor the inevitable if not clear cut spot kick was awarded.

Craig Hubbard slotted home the opener from 12 yards.

After James Reid and then Maguire both missed good chances to level, it was Wilson who did just that in the most spectacular fashion.

Spartans keeper Michal Misiewicz cleared from the edge of the penalty area and when the ball was headed down in the centre circle it fell to Wilson three yards inside the Blyth half and he hit a stunning half volley back over the Canadian stopper’s head and perfectly into the top corner of the net.

That inspired Robins players to try fancy finishes of their own but Reid chipped over and Jason Stokes floated a shot wide when power may just have been the better option each time.

Gary Ricketts mis-directed a header wide from a corner and before the break Hubbard volleyed just over.

It took the Robins a little while to wake up for the second-half, so much so that when they did they were 3-1 down.

Two crosses from the left and two goals from Dan Maguire were their undoing, the first taking a deflection over the head of Allinson three minutes into the second-half and the second seeing him fairly free six yards out to steer home on 57.

Matt Baker also had to head off the line to deny Maguire in between his two goals.

An uphill struggle was on the cards for Ilkeston but they continued to dominate possession and create openings.

Sub Aaron Hooton looked as rusty as his lack of football might suggest and when unmarked six yards out the ball merely hit him and went wide, before Ricketts and Blyth’s Ashley Davis both saw shots go wide of the target.

The lifeline Ilkeston needed came on 78 minutes when Richards was brought down in the penalty area and Aaron Webster stroked the spot-kick home to set up a grandstand finish.

The Robins pushed hard but couldn’t break Blyth down again, though that was more down to their finishing than good defence.

Hooton’s looping header from Callum Chettle’s cross went over the top when it should really have hit the target, and the clearest chance came three minutes from time when Richards’ pull back from the byline found Reid six yards out but in stretching to finish he put the ball over the top and confirmed it wasn’t to be Ilkeston’s night.

Blyth: 1 Michal Misiewicz 2 Phil Airey 3 Ian Watson 4 Nathan Buddle 5 Arjun Purewal(c) 6 Craig Hubbard (Ryan Cummings 55) 7 Dan Maguire 8 Damen Mullen 9 Ashley Davis 10 Lewis Horner 11 Arran Wearmouth (Dean Holmes 70). Subs not used: Matty Wade, Danny Parker, Joe Kendrick

Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Matt Baker (Akil Wright 88) 3 Aaron Webster (c) 4 Danny Gordon 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 James Reid 8 Laurie Wilson (c) (Callum Chettle 64) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Kane Richards 11 Jason Stokes (Aaron Hooton 64). Subs not used: Che Adams, Mike Williams

Att: 311 Ref: Mr Markham

Star Robin: Laurie Wilson

Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter: @DuffersSport)