Stafford Rangers 2 Ilkeston FC 1
Goals early in each half were enough to send Ilkeston to another midweek away defeat on Tuesday as Stafford Rangers took all three points.
The visitors were far from impressive throughout but were left fuming at the award of Simon Everall’s second goal just 90 seconds into the second-half, claiming the ball failed to cross the goal line.
That incident proved pivotal in a game where Rangers offered little threat other than Everall’s two goals, and in which Ilkeston were again guilty of poor decisions in the final third.
Things got off to the worst possible start just three minutes in, as Peter Heler’s through ball found Everall running through and he had plenty of time to pick his spot and fire past keeper Ashley Timms from a narrow angle to put Rangers in front.
Despite being behind Ilkeston would go on to control much of the first-half, with Daryll Thomas at the heart of their two best chances.
First he saw a shot blocked by a defender following Ryan Dicker’s error at the back, and then, when fed through one-on-one by Matt Richards’ incisive through ball, he could only fire straight at keeper Adam Alcock who did well to block the shot.
Danny Quinn and Dicker for Rangers and James Reid for Ilkeston all saw efforts go close before the end of the first-half, but the game’s controversial moment would arrive just moments into the second.
After Timms had blocked Everall’s first shot, the striker fired in another which beat the keeper but not Ryan Wilson on the line. He hacked clear, only to see the assistant referee award a goal - a decision which enraged the Robins players and saw Timms booked for his protests.
Ilkeston never really recovered from that shock, although sub Gary Ricketts’ header at Alcock wasn’t far away from pulling one back on 57.
The goal did come 17 minutes from time, Jack Watts curling a fine effort home from the edge of the area after a short corner from Richards, but other than a low shot from Chambers which Alcock gathered well late on, that was to be all the Robins could muster on another disappointing night.
Stafford: 1 Adam Alcock 2 Jimmy Turner 3 Oliver Davies 4 Liam Walshe 5 Ryan Dicker 6 Peter Heler 7 Levi Reid (Fabrice Kasiama 87) 8 Lee Downes 9 Simon Everall (Darren Alexander 90) 10 Danny Quinn 11 Courtney Pitt. Subs not used: Luke George, Alex Curtis, Jordan Wood
Scorer: Everall 3, 47 Ilkeston: 1 Ashley Timms 2 Joe Wilcox (Greg Pearson 71) 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Dion Chambers 5 Dan Partridge 6 Joe Maguire 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Aaron Hooton (Gary Ricketts 52) 10 Daryll Thomas 11 James Reid (Dereece Gardner 52) Subs not used: Russell Peel, Chris Martin
Scorer: Watts 73
Att: 312 Ref: Paul Hobday (Tipton)
Star Robin: Jack Watts
by Mark Duffy