Goals from Danny Webber and Jordan Hulme sunk a battling Ilkeston FC as Salford City grabbed all three points with a 2-0 Evo-Stick NPL Premier Division win at Moor Lane.
With a healthy and cracking atmosphere inside Moor Lane, Ilkeston set up with Dan Udoh as the lone striker, Dexter Atkinson; replacing Luis Rose and Curtis Burrows started on the flanks. Mike Williams sat just behind Udoh with Danny Gordon and Haydn Goddard in the holding role.
Salford began the game with a buzz, Gareth Seddon and Jordan Hulme played a quick one-two on the edge of the Ilkeston box but Seddon could only skew wide. Moments later Danny Webber delivered a good cross, Baker cleared but only to Luke Clark who had his shot blocked, Jordan Hulme then fired wide.
The Robins generated their first moment after six minutes, Luke Shaw found Williams in the box, he laid the ball off to Udoh who fired just over the bar inside the D. Both sides traded chances, Webber fired wide inside the box before Goddard mis-cued an effort which trickled to Craig Dootson.
Ilkeston nearly took the lead after 21 minutes; a blistering counter attack saw Goddard slide in Williams who nearly found the bottom far corner with a gorgeous strike.
This resulted in an impressive spell, with Ilkeston knocking the ball around with confidence, flank to flank.
The Robins had another big opportunity when Burrow’s effort was blocked; Udoh raced onto it but totally missed his first time effort inside the box.
City were inches away from taking the lead when a great cross into the box found Josh Hine un-marked, two yards out; the striker could only side-foot over the bar. Hulme then found space inside the box but crashed his shot off the bar.
After the interval, it took just two minutes for Salford to open the scoring. Hine’s long throw wasn’t claimed by Hannis, instead the ball was knocked backwards and was helped in on the line by Webber. This gave relief for the home support, the hosts pressed again Hulme had an effort blocked following a corner before John Johnston could only hit the rebound over.
Ilkeston were looking for the equaliser and had several chances, Goddard delivered a corner towards Udoh who couldn’t direct his header goal-wards. Williams then struck an audacious effort from 30 yards which Dootson held well.
Just after the hour mark, the hosts doubled the lead, in a slick move; Webber found Hulme inside the box and he showed the composure to finish near post past Hannis. Hine almost added a third, collecting a long Dootson goal-kick before forcing Hannis to save his effort with his legs.
The Robins lacked cohesion in the second half and often their link up play would break down in the final third. Salford were quick to every second ball and were confident with the two goal cushion.
Burrows attempted to wrestle back an element of control, he crossed for Luis Rose but again Salford remained firm.
The Robins nearly grabbed a consolation, in their best move of the second half, Atkinson found Keenan Meakin who crossed for Burrows but great reactions from Dootson prevented the ball nestling into the net.
But Salford earned a hard fought win and inflicted back to back defeats on the Robins. Next up for Ilkeston FC is the visit of Daventry Town in the Integro Doodson League Cup Third Round tie on Monday evening, 7.45pm kick off.
ILKESTON FC: Jamie Hannis, Luke Shaw, Aiden Print, Jordan Wheatley, Matt Baker(c), Haydn Goddard (Luis Rose 69), Curtis Burrows, Danny Gordon (Ryan Head 84), Dan Udoh, Mike Williams (Keenan Meakin 74), Dexter Atkinson. Subs not used: Ben Morris, Connor Walters.
SALFORD CITY: Craig Dootson, Evan Gumbs, Steve O’Halloran, Gary Stopforth, Steve Howson, Chris Lynch(c), Jordan Hulme, Luke Clark (Richie Allen 66), Josh Hine, Gareth Seddon (John Johnston 31), Danny Webber (James Poole 79). Subs not used: Andy Dawson, Joe Mwasile.