REPORT: Ilkeston FC 4-3 Stourbridge

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The two matches between these sides last season produced 13 goals and their fair share of drama.

This one produced seven more, two red cards, excellent finishes, horrible defending and a scoreline that told only half the story.

The bottom line is that Ilkeston have won three in a row and have recovered well from their opening day disappointment. They look good going forward but shaky at the back and that will no doubt create more games like this if not remedied soon.

Two away wins since that opening day loss to Skelmersdale had given the morale a welcome boost and it showed right from the off in this encounter.

As with the opening day game the first 25 minutes were fast and furious from the hosts, the difference being this time that they scored twice, rather than just the one which proved not enough against Skelmersdale.

Liam Marshall forced a stunning save from Stourbridge keeper Lewis Solly three minutes in as his header from Olly Luto’s free-kick was pushed away at full stretch.

The opening goal would come on 12 minutes and it was a fine team effort. Joe Doyle, Mike Williams and Marcus Harness moved the ball quickly between themselves. Harness then threaded the ball into Charlie Coulson who switched onto his left foot and fired in a shot which hit the foot of one post before creeping into the net close to the other.

Harness and Lee Hughes both saw long range efforts threaten the goal before a much better one from Jonathan Edwards had all at the New Manor Ground on their feet.

The Peterborough loanee picked the ball up 25 yards out in the inside left channel and cut inside before unleashing a fine effort over Solly and into the top corner.

Chances dried up in the main until half-time but Ilkeston were well organised at the back and defending well as the visitors struggled to make an impact in the final third.

That wasn’t the case early in the second-half. Stourbridge gave the Robins a taste of their own medicine by coming out all guns blazing and stunning the hosts, not with a great deal of quality but more with a bombardment of direct balls into the penalty area.

Three minutes in Kayeldon Brown took advantage of some sleepy defending at a free-kick to volley in off the crossbar, then on 51 a corner from the right was powerfully headed into the roof of the net by centre-back Daniel Scarr as the Ilkeston defence failed to cope with another set-piece.

Evandro Rachoni then did well to tip a long range Louis Harris effort over the bar before Ilkeston turned the screw again.

First a fine training ground routine from a free-kick ended with Marshall finishing from close range from a square ball across the six yard box.

Then three minutes later Harness won the ball in midfield and Edwards sent Hughes clear on goal to finish well for his third in four games.

The game was far from over though. Stourbridge netted again when Thomas Tonks’ long throw wasn’t dealt with and Karl Hawley hooked in their third on 68 minutes.

Edwards cut in and saw a shot deflected just wide on 75 as Ilkeston aimed to restore their two-goal lead, but they would instead be left hanging on until the final whistle.

Tonks’ long throws were the biggest threat and caused more than a few problems as Stourbridge pumped plenty into the penalty area towards a vulnerable back line.

That being so it wasn’t until stoppage time that Rachoni was seriously tested again as sub Chris Lait’s effort was well pushed over the bar.

A mad scramble ensued from the corner and the ball appeared to strike a hand but it wasn’t clear just who it belonged to, then Rachoni had to rescue Matt Baker as a loose header nearly let Brown in but the Brazilian got a crucial hand to the ball to concede a corner.

A late tussle then saw Harness and Tonks both get second yellows to add even more drama but Ilkeston would hang on by their fingernails to claim the three points.

Ilkeston: 1 Evandro Rachoni, 2 Joe Doyle, 3 Olly Luto, 4 Danny Gordon, 5 Matt Baker, 6 Liam Marshall, 7 Marcus Harness, 8 Mike Williams, 9 Lee Hughes (Dan Udoh 89), 10 Jonathan Edwards, 11 Charlie Coulson

Subs not used: Curtis Burrows, Kingsley Williams, Jordan Wheatley, Jahquil Hill

Stourbridge: 1 Lewis Solly, 2 Kristian Green, 3 Daniel Scarr, 4 Louis Harris (Brian Smikle 85), 5 Kayelden Brown, 6 Stuart Pierpoint (c), 7 Matthew Dodd (Chris Lait 79), 8 Leon Br: oadhurst, 9 Karl Hawley, 10 Lee Chilton, 11 Drew Canavan (Thomas Tonks 66)

Subs not used: Jacob Wedderburn

Att: 454

Star Robin: Charlie Coulson