Saturday, August 3
Belper Town 3
Ilkeston FC 2
A goal at the start of each half for the home side and a selection of missed chances from Ilkeston FC meant the Robins ended up losing this pre-season friendly at Christchurch Meadow on Saturday.
Up against keen opponents, who lost out in the play-off semi-finals of last season’s Evo-Stik League Division One South, the Robins made the worst possible start to the match when they went behind inside the first minute.
Belper striker Jamie Jackson was out of the traps quickly to open the scoring for the Nailers, going past two challenges before firing the ball home.
Once the Robins had set themselves, they started to push forward for an equaliser and created a number of corners which caused problems for the home defence, without getting the goal their efforts deserved.
It was no surprise to the watching crowd when Ilkeston finally made the pressure count.
Jason Stokes was on hand to drill home an impressive effort that was struck from the edge of the box with power and precision for his fourth goal in four pre-season games.
Rob Peet had to be alert to foil a fine shot from Colin Marrison but Ilkeston were looking good for the remainder of the half, without getting the second goal that would have been their reward.
Into the second half and Belper were able to score early on again.
Only seconds of the half had elapsed when the prolific Jon Froggatt was on hand to make it Belper 2 Ilkeston 1.
But Robins’ fans didn’t have to wait long for a response as the equaliser came in the 51st minute.
And it was Stokes who was on hand again for his second with a tap-in after good work from Gary Ricketts at a corner.
But Belper then produced several dangerous attacking moves and were rewarded with 80 minutes on the clock when Ashley Longstaff converted a cross by Mark Ward from close range for what proved to be the winning goal.
More chances came the visitors’ way in the closing stages but they were unable to take them and lost this five-goal encounter.
n Striker Rai Simons has become the latest Bermudian footballer to join Ilkeston FC after signing a two-year scholarship deal with the club.
The deal to bring the 17-year-old to the New Manor Ground was made after he met with Ilkeston chairman Dave Mantle and commercial manager Nigel Harrop in Bermuda.
Simons was highly recommended to the Robins by Bermuda Hogges owner Paul Score, who has forged a partnership between the two clubs.
Simons has already made his international debut, playing for Bermuda last month against the Falkland Islands, scoring twice.