Ilkeston Town secured their fourth win in a row in front of nearly 2,000 people at the New Manor Ground as they overcame Racing Club Warwick 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The club’s pre-match publicity push paid off, coupled with a £1 entry fee, as the hosts comfortably broke into a 3-0 lead before two late goals from the visitors threatened to spoil the party.
But the scoreline flattered the visitors – themselves a top six side – as despite plenty of neat and tidy play they struggled to pose enough of an attacking threat when it mattered.
Indeed, Warwick had a good opening in the opening 30 seconds as Trea Bertie found space down the right and his pull back reached skipper Alex Price unmarked eight yards out but his effort was straight at keeper Ian Deakin.
Wade Malley’s weak header on four minutes was also easily gathered by Deakin as the visitors began well, but it would be Ilkeston who would get the opening goal two minutes later.
A long delivery into the penalty saw keeper Tom Cross catch and then drop the ball, Malachi Lavelle-Moore able to knock it back to Alex Marshall who headed into the net from a few yards out.
Tom Marshall’s low cross just evaded Jamie Walker in the middle on 14 minutes as Ilkeston began to get a real foothold, then brother Alex looped a header over the top from a corner.
A free-kick out wide for Warwick flicked off the head of Robins defender Charlie Jemson and dropped just wide of the post, then five minutes before the break Lavelle-Moore’s low drive was parried by Cross and cleared.
The Robins got their second right on the stroke of half-time. Lavelle-Moore did well to hold the ball up having been found in the penalty area and laid it off to Alex Marshall who took one touch before deftly finishing low past Cross to double the lead.
Ilkeston opened the second-half well and Ben Morris sliced a shot too high eight minutes in, but Morris would have more luck three minutes later as when Chris Shaw’s free-kick was blocked and Lavelle-Moore’s follow up saved, the diminutive attacker was on hand to slot home the rebound and effectively end the game as a contest.
Alex Marshall then forced Cross into a save as the Robins dominated, Jemson next to nearly score with a shot blocked on the line following a corner.
Ben Fairclough’s cross was then headed too high by Lavelle-Moore midway through the half, the Robins looking a real threat with every attack.
Tom Marshall’s free-kick was well pushed round the post by Cross with ten minutes to go, before the visitors got a goal back with five left thanks to Sean Kavanagh’s low finish.
The nerves began to jangle in stoppage time when Luke Church added another from close range, but the Robins had done their job well and the three points – and 1,889 people present – left the hierarchy happy.
Ilkeston: 1 Ian Deakin, 2 Ben Fairclough, 3 Jamie Walker, 4 Chris Shaw ©, 5 Charlie Jemson, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Ben Morris, 8 Jordan Wheatley, 9 Alex Marshall (Mark Green 86), 10 Malachi Lavelle-Moore, 11 Billy Bennett
Subs not used: Martin Lench, Jamie Hannis, Micah Edwards, Conor Green
RC Warwick: 1 Tom Cross, 2 Jack Taylor, 3 Ryan Billington (Lewis Hudson 56), 4 Martin Hutchcox, 5 Joe Smith (Luke Church 61), 6 Martin Slevin, 7 Richard Powell, 8 Alex Price ©, 9 Luke Cole (Sean Kavanagh 73), 10 Trea Bertie, 11 Wade Malley
Subs not used: Elliott Powell, Scott Davis
Ref: Alec Simpson
Star Robin: Alex Marshall