Report from ILKESTON TOWN 2-5 STOCKSBRIDGE PS as Steels stun the Robins

Scorer Tom Marshall in action against Stocksbridge. Photo by Danny Draper.
Scorer Tom Marshall in action against Stocksbridge. Photo by Danny Draper.

It was a sobering afternoon for the Robins at the New Manor Ground on Saturday as visitors Stocksbridge Park Steels ran out comfortable winners.

Three goals in six first-half minutes did the bulk of the damage that Ilkeston never recovered from, further strikes either side of half-time then hammering further nails in the coffin.

The Robins produced a fightback of sorts with two goals in the last half-an-hour as well as creating several other good openings, but the mountain they'd been left to climb was far too high as Steels keeper Ed Hall in particular denied them with some fine saves.

Steels had a couple of early long range efforts fail to test Ross Durrant, the latter from 40 yards by Lewis Whitham, before Kieran Fenton headed over for the Robins from a Reco Fyfe corner.

Luke Mangham's shot was deflected just too high for Steels on seven minutes as the visitors looked useful early on, but it was Jamie Walker who got into gear for the Robins ten minutes later as he cut inside and saw his 25-yarder pushed over the top by keeper Hall.

Fabian Smith drilled too high from the resultant corner, but it would be the visitors who led on 19 minutes as Luke Mangham found space on the left and his fine cross was headed home well by Scott Ruthven who had got between the central defenders.

Barely 90 seconds later it was 2-0 and one for Durrant to forget. Josh Nodder's 25 yard effort looked like it would be comfortably caught by the Robins stopper but the ball slipped through his fingers and dropped into the net.

It then got even worse for the Robins on 26 minutes and it was Ruthven again, this time allowed far too much space to head home from six yards from Nodder's cross from the left.

Steels continued to create the better chances, Mangham and Ruthven both forcing saves out of Durrant, then Whitham should have made it four but managed to put the ball over the bar from three yards out after a good counter attack from the visitors.

The fourth goal did then come five minutes before the break, as Ruthven got possession on the edge of the penalty area and hit a shot which was deflected over Durrant and into the net to cap a dreadful half for the hosts.

And it didn't get any better. Three minutes into the second-half Ruthven collected the ball six yards out, beat his man and slid the ball into the net.

Whitham's 35-yarder was then tipped over by Durrant as the visitors sought another.

Walker saw a shot from close range pushed over the top soon afterwards, the Robins searching for some kind of relief, sub Mason Lee breaking forward and finding the side netting via a deflection.

The goal did finally come on 64 minutes as Rod Orlando-Young's run into the box was ended by Michael Trench's hand ball, Tom Marshall able to step up and hammer his penalty high into the net.

Whitham forced Durrant into another low save after beating two Robins men, while Walker headed wide at the other end and then Steels' Mangham raced through but skewed his effort past the far post via Durrant's finger tips.

The Robins then notched again, Orlando-Young racing clear from a counter-attack and cutting in before finishing low past Hall with six minutes to go.

Hall then somehow blocked Lee's effort from close range and sent it over the bar as the hosts pursued a grandstand finish, the Steels keeper - superb all afternoon - then pushed another Orlando-Young curler wide of the post with what was the Robins' last opening.

Ilkeston: Durrant, T Marshall, Campbell-Gordon, Smith, Robertson, Fenton, Orlando-Young, Hollis (Davis 59), Harrad (Lee 59), Fyfe, Walker

Subs not used: Freeman, Stainsby

Stocksbridge: Hall, Greaves, Trench, Turner, McFadyen (c), Fielding, Whitham (Ludlam 89), Foulkes, Mangham, Ruthven, Nodder (Pugh 72)

Subs not used: Thompson, Slater

Ref: Jamie O'Connor

Att: 598