REPORT: Ilkeston 4-1 South Normanton Athletic

Elliott Reeves in action against South Normanton. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Elliott Reeves in action against South Normanton. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Ilkeston Town maintained top spot in the MFL Premier with a comfortable win at home to bottom-of-the-table South Normanton Athletic on Monday.

The result was rarely in doubt despite the Shiners at one point getting level during the first-half, Ilkeston by far the stronger throughout and entertaining the bumper Bank Holiday crowd of nearly 800 as their excellent form continued.

The match was expected to be the last in charge for Town boss Steve Chettle ahead of his imminent move to Notts County, and as with much of his reign, his side were dominant and ruthless in front of goal.

It didn't take long for the Robins to get their noses in front. Five minutes in, Lavell White linked up with Tim Hopkinson who fed the ball in for White to run on and finish well past former Robins keeper Curtis Hall.

Hopkinson headed straight at Hall from a corner soon afterwards as Ilkeston continued to control things from the off, but they were then stunned by an equaliser on 11 minutes.

A free-kick just inside the Robins half was pumped into the penalty area where centre-half Oliver Cox got up to send a looping header over everyone and into the far corner of the net.

The Shiners were nearly in again on 16 as Ross Haig got to the ball before Mitchell but Charlie Jemson cleared the danger.

But Ilkeston were soon back in front with a fine goal. Hopkinson sent Elliott Reeves clear down the inside left channel and as Hall came out of his goal, Reeves chipped him superbly from 25 yards out to find the top corner.

White then saw Hall block a low effort with his legs as the Robins sought a two-goal advantage, which they proceeded to get on 27 minutes.

A ball into the box saw the Shiners fail to clear and after a bit of pinball, Reeves was on hand to net from close range for his second of the afternoon.

Hopkinson then saw a shot saved after a clever free-kick found him in the penalty area, the Robins striker then shooting wide after Hall spilled a Reeves effort.

Athletic were still in the hunt and John King's shot was diverted away from goal by Chris Shaw, then Hopkinson chased down Hall and saw his blocked clearance drift just wide.

Reeves' powerful drive was well tipped over by Hall on 40 as the chances kept coming, while King nearly reduced the arrears when his cross found its way through and came back off the far post, Haig putting the rebound just over the top as an entertaining half drew to a close.

Jemson headed a corner inches past the post at the start of the second period, then at the other end Jack Tyson's strike was straight at Liam Mitchell in the Town goal on the hour mark.

Walker's low drive was parried away by Hall soon afterwards, before the fourth goal arrived on 67 minutes.

Billy Bennett's good run down the left saw him burst into the penalty area where he was then tripped by Ryan Nadine, Walker stepping up to put the penalty wide of Hall and end the game as a contest.

Hopkinson and Reeves both saw chances blocked by the keeper as Ilkeston continued to put pressure on, but the game fizzled out with neither side able to add to their tally as they remained at the top and tail of the division respectively.

Ilkeston: Mitchell, T Marshall, Bennett (Whitehurst 72), Dixon, Jemson, Shaw (c), White, J Wheatley, Reeves (A Marshall 84), Hopkinson (Lavelle-Moore 84), Walker

Subs not used: Hodgett-Young, Morris

South Normanton: Hall (c), Nadine, Butcher, S Cox, O Cox, Blades, King, Haig (Blake 46), Fell (Dunne 57), Tyson, Garnett (Lewis 54)

Subs not used: Strzyzewski, Tansley

Ref: M Timon

Att: 781