REPORT: Ilkeston FC 2-3 Spennymoor Town

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Much-fancied Spennymoor took the points from this encounter on Tuesday night but they were made to work for it by a young Ilkeston side.

The visitors arrived with a team full of experience and quality which eventually shone through enough to take the points, two goals in the last 13 minutes proving crucial.

But Ilkeston, who again couldn’t test the goalkeeper enough to really look like they’d have a chance of taking three points from the match, could at least take heart from a hard-working display on a bitterly cold night.

Mark Shelton’s early free-kick proved easy for former Ilkeston Town goalkeeper Dan Lowson to gather, Andrew Johnson’s effort at the other end similarly gathered by Ross Durrant after some hesitant home defending.

Kallum Griffiths tried his luck from distance but that strike too was easy for Durrant to claim as neither side was able to truly get a firm foothold in the early stages.

Durrant then had to push a mis-hit Griffiths punt forward over the top and from the resulting corner James Curtis headed too high.

Rory Coleman curled a free-kick over on 17 minutes but the Robins were again struggling to make too much of an impression in the final third early on.

Graeme Armstrong could have put the vistors in front soon afterwards after Durrant failed to claim a cross, the ball dropping just wide of the target via an Ilkeston touch, Durrant then spilling a Curtis header from the corner before gathering.

Then, against the run of play, the Robins took the lead after 25 minutes. It was a goal not in keeping with their disjointed start as Shelton received the ball in midfield and threaded a fine pass through for Ben Morris who finished superbly with a first time shot.

Johnson headed straight at Durrant on 34 minutes after an error in the Robins defence but whilst the visitors were still seeing plenty of the ball, they were largely wasteful at key moments.

That changed on 41 minutes with the equaliser, although Ilkeston helped them to it. Durrant rushed out of goal to try and claim a long ball forward on the left hand edge of the penalty area, but despite also having a defender there to help him neither got the ball and Adam Mitchell nipped in to take the ball and then slide it into an empty net.

Mitchell was then inches wide right on half-time with a strike from the edge of the box, the Robins perhaps feeling quite fortunate to go in at the break on level terms despite having had the lead.

Ilkeston started the second-half on the front foot but it was Spennymoor who came close to taking the lead close to the hour mark as Mitchell was sent in on goal but fired wide of the far post from a fairly narrow angle.

Lowson then dropped a free-kick at the feet of Matt Baker who couldn’t quite get a shot in six yards out and Spennymoor cleared, before Graeme Armstrong forced Durrant into a fine save at the other end when in on goal, the ball going out for a corner.

Eventually it would be Spennymoor who got the lead on 76 minutes when good build-up play on the edge of the box freed Jamie Chandler and he finished well across goal from a tight angle and with a powerful shot.

Curtis headed just wide moments later as the visitors sought to turn the screw, their superior quality throughout their team beginning to prove the difference.

Their position was cemented with three minutes to go, the ball falling to Armstrong in the penalty area who had time to pick his spot and finish low past Durrant to end the game as a contest.

A late flurry from the Robins made Spennymoor quiver a little, Rose’s superb first-time volley from a Lavelle-Moore cross looping over Lowson to reduce the arrears two minutes into stoppage time, but it would prove too little too late as the visitors held out to take the points.

Ilkeston: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Danny Gordon, 3 Rory Coleman, 4 Ben Morris (Anthony Dwyer 81), 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Jaylon Bather, 7 Luis Rose, 8 Mark Shelton, 9 Malachi Lavelle-Moore, 10 Keenan Meakin (Brandon Clarke 59), 11 Haydn Goddard

Subs not used: Connor Walters, Tom Gamblen, Reid Owen

Spennymoor: 1 Dan Lowson, 2 Kallum Griffiths (Craig Gott 48), 3 Chris Mason (c), 4 Jamie Chandler, 5 Joe Tait (Ian Watson 90), 6 James Curtis, 7 Rob Ramshaw, 8 Shane Henry, 9 Graeme Armstrong, 10 Adam Mitchell, 11 Andrew Johnson (Mark Anderson 88)

Subs not used: Andrew Rafferty, David Dowsen

Ref: Mark Howes

Att: 259

Star Robin: Luis Rose