Ilkeston Town extended their lead at the top of the Total Motion Midland Premier Division with a 3-0 home win against title rivals Sporting Khalsa, with all the goals coming in the first half.
Elliott Reeves opened the scoring midway through the half. Billy Bennett added a second with less than ten minutes till the break, then Reeves confirmed the win with his second of the game just two minutes later.
Sporting Khalsa started the brighter of the sides but failed to test Liam Mitchell in the Ilkeston goal. Sean Williams blasted over the bar before Dan Westwood had an effort blocked. Dave Meese then came close but could only flick his header over the bar before Ilkeston went in front.
Reece Fyfe and Jermain Hollis combined well down the right with the latter playing the ball to Reeves. He kept his composure and slotted the ball past Sam Arnold into the far side of the net.
Khalsa were almost on level terms when a corner flicked just inches wide of the post. Up the other end Jamie Walker came close to making it 2-0 when he poked the ball just wide of the post under pressure from an onrushing Arnold.
Ilkeston did make it 2-0 with just under ten minutes left till the break. Khalsa captain Tesfa Robinson fouled Reeves just outside the area and Bennett curled the freekick along the floor and into the bottom corner.
Reeves added a third almost instantly from the restart to make it 3-0 at the break. A loose ball fell to him inside the area and he placed it into the back of the net.
Ilkeston started the second half quickly and had two good chances to extend their lead. Alex Marshall headed Bennett’s cross back across goal and it needed a combination of Arnold and a man on the line to keep it out. Just moments later Fyfe volleyed Alex Marshall’s cross just wide of the left-hand post.
Walker then saw an effort saved by Arnold before Khalsa had chances to pull one back. Substitute Jay Holdcroft squared the ball, for what would have been a tap in had it found a team mate instead Ilkeston were able to clear. Westwood then came close heading just over the bar at the near post.
Tom Marshall was on hand to keep the ball out of the Ilkeston net, smashing it clear after a ball across the area had been turned past Mitchell. The Ilkeston ‘keeper was then equal to Westwood’s effort after the Khalsa forward showed some good control inside the box.
Ilkeston were then forced to play the remaining ten minutes with ten men as substitute Richard Brodie limped off injured.
Khalsa continued to push for a goal that would get them back into the game. Holdcroft had an effort go for a corner that came to nothing and Meese headed over the bar as Ilkeston held on for the win and almost extended their advantage when Kyle Dixon burst through on goal but Arnold did enough to force the Ilkeston man to run it out of play.