Report from ILKESTON TOWN 2-4 STAMFORD as high-flying visitors take the points

Alex Marshall in action against Stamford. Photo by Lee Prewett.
Alex Marshall in action against Stamford. Photo by Lee Prewett.

Ilkeston Town are five games without a win as their first home game of 2020 ended in defeat at home to impressive Stamford.

The visitors are flying high and are unbeaten away from home and on this evidence it was clear to see why, as a pulsating game saw them by far the better team and perhaps surprised not to have won more comfortably.

Ilkeston remain a 'work in progress' under Martin Carruthers and despite forcing two goals and giving Stamford problems at times, they were largely outclassed by a side that look every bit promotion material.

There remain positives for Carruthers' side to build on but the number of goals conceded since his arrival will no doubt still be a concern as they battle to keep themselves in the play-off hunt.

Cosmos Matwasa flashed an effort wide of goal early on as Stamford began strongly, Matwasa then forcing Durrant to save low down moments later.

But it was Ilkeston who took the lead on 16 minutes and it was their debutant wing-back who scored the goal. Alex Marshall's sublime control from a Jamie Walker cross saw him then saw a shot well saved by Danny Haystead, but Stamford couldn't clear and Melanius Mullarkey was on hand to drive the ball into the corner of the net from 12 yards out.

Stamford replied with Tendai Chitiza's shot well pushed away by Durrant, and they got their deserved leveller on 25 minutes as Chitiza again found space in the box and fired in an effort which looked to be going wide as Kieran Fenton stretched and diverted it into his own net.

And three minutes later Stamford led as a corner from the right found Tom Siddons at the back post and his header was nodded in on the line by Rob Morgan although some credited Siddons with the goal.

Siddons saw another effort drop over the bar on 35 minutes as Stamford continued to look impressive, Matwasa guilty of another effort going wide of the target on 44 when he should have hit the target.

Ilkeston got themselves level on the stroke of half-time although there was perhaps a degree of good fortune about the penalty that did it - Harry Vince adjudged to have handled the ball whilst in the midst of a scramble with Walker much to the surprise of many. Walker didn't care and scored from the spot although Haystead got a strong hand to the ball.

The second-half began as the first had ended with both sides creating chances. First Matwasa saw a shot deflected against the post, then newly-arrived sub Kole Lambert was sent clear by Alex Marshall but forced a fine stop from Haystead.

Stamford then re-took the lead when Chitiza was blocked off in the box but the ball fell to James Hicks whose low strike went in off Fenton on the goal line, though this time it would have been harsh to credit it as an own goal.

Lambert flashed another effort just wide on 55 minutes as the Robins tried to find their way back into the game again, before a rare lull in proceedings saw chances dry up but a few bookings occur as things at times got a bit feisty.

Stamford then sealed the points on 77 minutes from the penalty spot. Chitiza nudged the ball past keeper Durrant and although the ball was cleared off the line by Dean Freeman, Durrant brought Chitiza down in the process and the spot kick was awarded.

Up stepped Vince to find the corner of the net.

The Robins were denied soon after as Stamford defender Michael Armstrong forced a good save out of his own goalkeeper with a diving header as he tried to clear a cross, before Vince was sent off going into stoppage time for a second yellow card after taking too long at a throw-in.

But the points were safe for Stamford who saw the game out for another happy away day.

Ilkeston: Durrant, Mullarkey, Walker, T Marshall (Fyfe 76), Robertson (Racchi 46), Freeman, Hollis, Fenton, Wells, A Marshall, Whyman (Lambert 46)

Subs not used: Squires, Stainsby

Stamford: Haystead, Armstrong, Brown-Hill, Vince, Wright (c), Cooke, Chitiza, Morgan, Siddons (Taylor 89), Hicks (Challinor 81), Matwasa (O'Hare 87)

Subs not used: Keeble, Mwanyongo

Ref: Luke Watson

Att: 552