Ilkeston FC 2 Alfreton Town 0
Ilkeston progressed to the final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup as they overcame Blue Square Bet Premier side Alfreton Town on Tuesday night.
Two first-half goals from Aaron Hooton did the damage as the Robins battled well against opponents from two divisions higher and ultimately could have won by a more comfortable margin.
But win they did and Matlock Town await in the final on April 30.
The visitors started the stronger and it looked from the outset that their quality was set to shine through and make things difficult for the home side all night.
Steven Hewitt broke forward and saw his low shot parried away by Chris Martin, before Josh Law then rattled the crossbar with a sixth minute free-kick from outside the area and moments later saw another set piece from distance find the hands of Martin.
But it was Ilkeston who went in front with their first chance of note on 12 minutes, and there was more than an element of ‘route one’ about it.
Martin’s long clearance found its way to the edge of Alfreton’s penalty area where former Robins keeper Ben Gathercole challenged in the air with Gary Ricketts. The Ilkeston striker won that duel and the ball broke loose for Hooton to roll home from a narrow angle.
Nathan Arnold’s dipping volley then struck the crossbar for Alfreton and Dan Meadows curled a shot straight at Martin, before the Robins extended their lead on 24 minutes.
Jack Watts’ corner wasn’t cleared properly, and when Hooton hooked a shot towards goal it took a big deflection off an Alfreton head to wrong-foot Gathercole and find the corner of the net.
That would, surprisingly, be the end of the scoring but it wasn’t for the want of trying from both sides.
Alfreton began to find Ilkeston very hard to break down and had to resort to long range efforts, although Scott Boden should have done better from 12 yards just before half-time but skewed his shot wide.
The second-half saw Alfreton huff and puff but fail to break through, with Ilkeston the more likely scorers on the break - Reid and Hooton both testing Gathercole and Ricketts heading wide.
The closest Alfreton came was Paul Clayton’s close range flick in injury-time which Martin gathered easily, and the Robins could be left proud of their display as they sealed a date at Chesterfield FC next month.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Rob Kozluk 3 Ryan Wilson (Greg Pearson 88) 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Dan Partridge 7 James Reid 8 Jack Watts 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Aaron Hooton (Kane Richards 86) 11 Matt Richards. Subs not used: James Cullingworth, Darren Caskey, Russell Peel
Scorers: Hooton 12, 24
Alfreton: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 Josh Law 3 Connor Franklin 7 Anton Brown (Dan Bradley 56) 11 Nathan Arnold (Paul Clayton 56) 12 Leigh Franks 14 Dan Meadows 15 Scott Boden (Ashley Worsfold 72) 17 Theo Streete 18 Steven Hewitt 21 Ben Tomlinson. Subs not used: Alistair Taylor, Louie Soares Att: 409
Ref: Paul Thompson (Chesterfield)
Star Robin: Aaron Hooton
by Mark Duffy