Ilkeston’s ‘going young’ policy will no doubt prove fruitful in the months and years to come but games like this show they will desperately need some quality experience in their team soon.
The first-half was every bit men against boys as Halesowen scored three times in half-an-hour and, similarly to the likes of Stamford and Darlington in recent weeks, left the Robins with too much to do in what was a more spirited second-half from the hosts.
Six league defeats in a row is now the stat Ilkeston didn’t want and with just two goals scored in that time it’s clear that the final weeks of the season could well end up being long ones for Robins supporters.
There is undoubtedly promise among the ranks but as a team this eleven looked out of their depth for the majority of the match and that can’t be allowed to be the case once the new season comes along in August.
Halesowen opened the scoring with the first real chance of the game, although it was a poor goal from Ilkeston’s point of view.
Jay Denny floated a free-kick through the middle and Kaiman Anderson nipped in between Jamie Hannis and the back line to flick the ball over the Robins keeper and then nod it into an empty net.
Daniel Bragoli then headed a corner wide as Ilkeston’s set-piece jinx continued to look as if it would pose problems.
Ilkeston struggled to settle, the ball not sticking up top and nothing happening in midfield
And sure enough they were 2-0 down on 27 minutes as Daniel Sweeney found space on the left and his cross went over the head of Matt Baker and Anderson nodded home from six yards out for his second goal.
Three minutes later the game was effectively over. Ashley Parsons-Smith burst into the penalty area and his low shot went straight through Hannis and found the net.
Sweeney was then put through on goal but skewed his shot wide of the post when it looked easier to score, then Roy Lee fired too high when in a good position at the other end - a rare Robins foray into the Yeltz’ penalty area.
Half-time came and went with Ilkeston needing fresh ideas and they started the second-half far brighter, Lee’s cross nearly turned into his own net by Asa Charlton but Daniel Platt pushing the deflection wide of the post.
Ilkeston continued to look the better side and Luis Rose saw a shot well saved by Platt after a corner hadn’t been cleared on 71, but clear cut chances were proving few and far between.
The Robins finally reduced the arrears on 79 minutes when Rose did well down the left and his cross was met by sub Dexter Atkinson at the back post whose shot was only just over the line before Platt pushed it away from goal.
Baker then fired over the top moments later after Halesowen failed to clear a corner, Sweeney close at the other end with a volley that was also too high.
Lee had been a lively character throughout the second-half and his persistence nearly brought reward on 85 but Platt smothered his shot after a good bit of hassling down the left,
Sweeney’s late low shot was saved by Hannis but that would be that, Ilkeston’s spirited second-half display again not enough to salvage any points.
Ilkeston: 1 Jamie Hannis, 2 Aiden Print, 3 Haydn Burrows, 4 Danny Gordon, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Ryan Head, 7 Curtis Burrows, 8 Roy Lee, 9 David Jones (Dexter Atkinson 68), 10 Mike Williams, 11 Luis Rose
Subs not used: Luke Shaw, Ben Morris, Max Thornberry, Connor Walters
Halesowen: 1 Daniel Platt, 2 Luke Connolly, 3 Aaron Griffiths, 4 Jay Denny (c), 5 Kyle Morrison, 6 Ashley Parsons-Smith, 7 Asa Charlton, 8 Daniel Bragoli (George Forsyth 46), 9 Kaiman Anderson (Michael Turner 71), 10 Michael Melvin, 11 Daniel Sweeney (Cameron Milne 90)
Subs not used: Dan Farr, Bradley Lewis
Ref: Stuart Richardson
Star Robin: Roy Lee