MATCH REPORT: Skelmersdale United 2 Ilkeston FC 1

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Max Hazeldine’s second half winner heaped more frustration on Ilkeston as the Robins suffered back-to-back league defeats at Stormy Corner.

Paul Holland altered the starting line-up. Anton Brown came back into the side, Jak Kenworthy started at right back. Danny Gordon made his 100th appearance for Ilkeston, Haydn Goddard dropped to the bench with a slight pull in his hamstring.

There was no Anthony Dwyer after his move to Stafford Rangers late this week.

Ilkeston controlled the early portions of the game, knocking the ball around with ease and looking for gaps in the United defence. Gordon and Brown looked to track back but were launching attacks and spreading the ball to the wings.

Ross Durrant made a crucial early save agains the run of play as Skem pinched the ball in midfield and led a three versus one attack, resulting in Max Hazeldine’s shot saved at point blank by Durrant.

Skelmersdale were warming into the contest and creating the better openings despite having less of the ball, Paul Foy blazed a rebound over the bar after a cross from the far side hit the Ilkeston bar.

Mark Shelton had Ilkeston’s fist moment, side-footing a Rory Coleman corner wide at the near post. Chad Whyte then missed an opportunity, firing wide of the far post after creeping into space in the box. Then with 23 minutes gone, United took the lead.

A corner from Luke Wall found the head of Michael Grogan who rose and headed past Durrant. Chris Almond nearly gifted the Robins an equaliser, heading a Coleman free kick over his own bar but the game soon descended into physicality. Shelton was booked for a late tackle; there were also gritty challenges from both sides.

Rose then came close to connecting with a Malachi Lavelle-Moore cross at the back post before the Robins did equalise. A Coleman corner found Jaylon Bather who knocked the ball down, this caused a scramble before the loose ball fell to Lavelle-Moore who slotted in for 1-1.

The second half saw Ilkeston pile on the pressure, they were camped in the Skem half but similarly to the first half, the hosts generated the better chances. Paul Foy drizzled a cross to the back post but no one could connect. Lavelle-Moore flicked a header from a Brown flick on wide of the near post.

Chad Whyte then threatened again but his strike from Chris Almond’s cross was inches wide. Whyte was a constant threat but Durrant’s instinctive goal-keeping ensured his effort looped over the bar and out for a corner.

Just past the hour Ilkeston were sent down to ten men, Shelton dribbled into space and appeared to be caught on the edge of the box but the Referee thought otherwise and booked Shelton for simulation and Shelton was given his marching orders. The sending off rallied the home side who began to pile forward and both Matt Baker and Bather had to be alert to clear the endless waves of balls into the box.

Skelmersdale found the winner on 77 minutes after a smart move in the box resulted in a Durrant save but the loose ball trickled into space and Hazeldine slammed the ball into the empty net to the delight of the home faithful.

This ensured that Ilkeston slipped to back to back league defeats and are now winless in four league games. Next, the visit to Rugby Town in the League Cup on Tuesday night.

Ilkeston FC Starting XI: Ross Durrant, Jak Kenworthy, Rory Coleman, Ben Morris (Brandon Clarke 65), Matt Baker(c), Jaylon Bather, Luis Rose, Mark Shelton, Malachi Lavelle-Moore, Anton Brown, Danny Gordon.

Subs Not Used: Haydn Goddard, Tom Gamblen, Keenan Meakin, Reid Owen.

Skelmersdale United Starting XI: Martin Fearon, Chris Almond, Shaun Holden, Dylan Smith, Phil Mooney, Michael Grogan, Paul Foy, Kenny Strickland(c), Max Hazeldine (Benito Lowe 87), Chad Whyte, Luke Wall.

Subs Not Used: Ben Hodkinson, Steven Akrigg, Callum Mahoney, Jason Jeffries.