REPORT: Ilkeston Town 2-0 Long Eaton United

Kyle Dixon (left) grapples with Romaine Graham. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Kyle Dixon (left) grapples with Romaine Graham. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Ilkeston Town made it three wins out of four in the MFL Premier with a comfortable, if unspectacular, win over near neighbours Long Eaton on Tuesday night.

A dreadful first-half was followed by a much more lively second, without either side ever showing their best in what also became a bad-tempered affair, the visitors playing with ten men for the last 35 minutes.

But for the Robins it was a good response to a poor display at the weekend and their first clean sheet too which will have no doubt pleased manager Steve Chettle.

In a dour opening to the game, Malachi Lavelle-Moore had the first shot of the encounter 17 minutes in, his volley blazed high and wide from a slight angle.

Zak Goodson then shot low at Liam Mitchell on 25 minutes after nice inter-play with Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, but the game still had no spark with neither side able to hold on to possession.

The best moment so far came on 33 when Tom Gamblen's cross was met by Wiggins-Thomas but his header was straight at Mitchell, then Lavelle-Moore chipped an effort to the back post which Scott Low clawed out from danger.

Tim Hopkinson also had a low effort saved five minutes before the break, but half-time arrived with little to enthuse the sizeable crowd.

The game suddenly came to life on 48 minutes in some style. A corner found its way to Billy Bennett 25 yards out and he curled a fine effort over Low and into the top corner.

Long Eaton were then reduced to ten men when skipper Josh Thornton went in late on Ryan Wheatley and was shown a straight red card, the ensuing mini-brawl seeing Ilkeston's Jamie Walker booked.

As the game got more feisty, the second goal then came on 65 minutes. A long ball forward saw Hopkinson chase and when Low came out he couldn't clear, leaving Hopkinson to turn and shoot from 35 yards out over near the touchline and the ball found its way into the net.

Chances dried up a little after that despite Ilkeston's dominance, Gamblen shooting just too high with eight minutes left as Long Eaton tried to find a way back in, but the Robins' work was done and three points secured.

Ilkeston: Mitchell, T Marshall, R Wheatley, Dixon, Jemson, Shaw (c), White, Bennett (J Wheatley 83), Lavelle-Moore (Whitehurst 87), Hopkinson, Walker (Green 61)

Subs not used: A Marshall, Morris

Long Eaton: Low, Campbell, Scanlon, Gamblen, Graham, Parker, Smith (Bestwick 58), Thornton (c), Goodson, Wiggins-Thomas, Faulkner

Subs not used: Rowley, Shaw, Banton, Clarke (GK)

Ref: Brendon Scaife

Att: 804