REPORT: Blyth Spartans 3-1 Ilkeston FC

Malachi Lavelle-Moore was on target again for Ilkeston.
Malachi Lavelle-Moore was on target again for Ilkeston.

Ilkeston’s three match winning run was ended at Croft Park as Blyth claimed three points, however the Robins will be full of high spirits despite defeat.

Paul Holland made one change from the win over Skelmersdale as Jaylon Bather came in for the injured Anton Brown. Anthony Dwyer started up front with Ben Morris and Rory Coleman on the wings. Luis Rose moved central behind Dwyer.

The opening stages of the game saw a tight tactical battle, Ilkeston sat in a well organised shell with Blyth moving the ball characteristically well.

Coleman’s corner was directed at the back post but Bather couldn’t adjust his feet quick enough and the ball came off his foot and out for a goal kick.

Soon Spartans began to get into their stride and should have taken the lead as a lofted cross found Robbie Dale who nodded the ball down to Stephen Turnbull whose low effort was brilliantly saved by Ross Durrant.

However, as the half progressed, the home support began to voice frustrations, Blyth worked their way into threatening positions but on many occasions, Ilkeston could relax with poor ball distribution to Dale and Luke Armstrong in the box. Sean Reid came close on the half hour mark; racing onto a loose Matt Baker clearance, but his shot went wide of the far post.

Coleman had Ilkeston’s next dangerous moment, cutting inside and unleashing a strike from 30 yards which Adam McHugh had to touch behind. However, Ilkeston could be pleased heading into the break with the solidity of the performance and frustration which they had caused on the hosts.

The second-half resumed the momentum for Spartans who maintained intensity; Matty Pattinson testing Durrant who made a save at the near post after the midfielder cut inside.

The Robins attack soon began to waver and Blyth started to pepper the Ilkeston goal. Dale’s header was expertly saved at point blank range by Durrant, before the hosts won a penalty as Rose appeared to drag down Dale in the box.

Dale stepped up and saw his kick saved by Durrant but Pattinson converted the rebound.

Two minutes later it was two, as Dale’s vintage run saw him past Rose and Walters and he produced a cracking finish into the top corner to once again score against the Robins.

Paul Holland looked to Dexter Atkinson and Malachi Lavelle-Moore and it was the latter who came up with the goal back. Dwyer skipped past two challenges before squaring to Lavelle-Moore who rifled a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Ilkeston nearly levelled when Atkinson’s low cross was inches away from Lavelle-Moore’s toes before Blyth capped the points late on. Dan Maguire raced into the box and found Armstrong who finished past Durrant.

Ilkeston: Ross Durrant, Danny Gordon (Connor Walters 46), Rory Coleman, Ben Morris (Malachi Lavelle-Moore 62), Matt Baker(c), Luke Foster, Luis Rose, Mark Shelton, Anthony Dwyer, Jaylon Bather (Dexter Atkinson 72), Haydn Goddard.

Subs Not Used: Brandon Clarke, Reid Owen.

Blyth: Adam McHugh, Alex Nicholson, Michael Liddle (Andrew Cartwright 71), Matthew Wade, Nathan Buddle, Ryan Hutchinson, Matty Pattinson (Jarrett Rivers 75), Stephen Turnbull, Luke Armstrong, Sean Reid (Daniel Maguire 56), Robert Dale(c).

Subs Not Used: Michael Richardson, Gavin Caines.