REPORT/REACTION: Ilkeston FC 1-2 Stafford Rangers

Luis Rose scored a fine goal for the Robins.
Luis Rose scored a fine goal for the Robins.

Shaun Goater lamented the concession of two quick first-half goals as Stafford Rangers took three points at the New Manor Ground on Tuesday night.

The result leaves Ilkeston 16 points from safety with just 12 games to play, the Robins unable to build on an encouraging draw at Grantham Town last weekend.

Goater felt disappointed with the outcome, and in particular the goals conceded.

He said: “I felt with the first goal Dante Leverock could probably have cleared the danger and allowed us to regroup, but instead the ball was intercepted and in a flash they’ve scored.

“The second goal was diappointing too because we lost comfortable possession from our throw in. Jaylon was shouted at to turn which was the wrong information because he ended up turning into trouble, losing the ball and that led to the free-kick and the goal, although we felt the scorer was offside from the set play.

“Before the goals I felt we were edging it in terms of being on top of the game but we perhaps lacked the belief in ourselves to go on and see the half out comfortably.

“I changed things around a bit at half-time and we got ourselves playing, and got a great goal back from Luis, but it became apparent we need to start assisting each other more and not always think ‘I’m the one who is going to score.’

“But for large periods of the second-half I was pleased with how we were able to keep the ball and we defended better too.”

Narrow defeats have been a regular feature of this frustrating Ilkeston season and another was the outcome here.

The two Stafford goals in six first half minutes were enough to do the damage, both having a degree of fortune about them and the scorer of the second being offside when he received the ball, but you make your own luck and Ilkeston overall didn’t do enough to quite justify taking anything from the match.

It was a game that nearly didn’t happen. Floodlight failure 40 minutes before kick-off threatened to see it postponed, but the problem was solved just in time for the encounter to start some 49 minutes behind schedule.

Ilkeston again lacked the sufficient tools that they’ll need if they’re to have any chance to stay up, this result merely adding to the sense of inevitability that the drop to Division One South is imminent.

That will leave fans again asking what the plan is moving forward, rumours of an imminent takeover again rife around the NMG which, if true, could bring some long-awaited relief to fans and players even if not guaranteeing their survival in the division.

It took ten minutes for the first effort of note, Luis Rose volleying over the top after turning a defender just outside the penalty area.

The Robins were having the better of things early on but it was then Stafford who took the lead on 14 minutes.

Izak Reid managed to win the ball a little fortunately from Dante Leverock on the byline, although the Bermudan should really have cleared his lines, Reid moving forward a couple of yards before squaring the ball behind keeper Dale Eve to where Kyle Perry was able to slam home from a yard out.

Six minutes later it was 2-0. The Robins fell asleep as Stafford took a quick free-kick which found Reid in the penalty area and after Eve blocked his first effort he was able to slide the ball home at the second attempt.

An audacious chip from Kris Taylor nearly made it three on the half-hour mark, Eve doing well to tip his effort over the top.

Danny Gordon let fly from distance but was high and wide as Ilkeston tried to force a way back into the game, but in truth the hosts were struggling to make in roads despite the positive start they’d had to the game.

The second-half took a while to get going as Stafford seemed content with their lead, although several attacks of theirs broke down due to poor play in the final third.

Anthony Dwyer had a crack from distance for Ilkeston on 59 minutes which keeper Adam Whitehouse gathered low down, but it would be another long range strike that would get the Robins back in the game five minutes later.

Rose has been a rare bright spark in the Robins team all season and here he cut inside from the right and smashed a left-footed effort from 30 yards which left Whitehouse with no chance as it found the top corner.

The Robins kept battling, Tevahn Tyrell’s shot lacking conviction when the ball fell to him eight yards out and the keeper saving low down.

Danny Gordon was next to threaten, his shot with four minutes left flying wide of Whitehouse’s goal, Perry then looping a header over the top at the other end as neither side was ultimately able to add to their tally.

Ilkeston: 1 Dale Eve, 2 Reece Horne, 3 Charlie Scanlon, 4 Dante Leverock, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Jaylon Bather (Tom Gamblen 90), 7 Luis Rose, 8 Danny Gordon, 9 Tevahn Tyrell (Ben Morris 81), 10 Anthony Dwyer (Dexter Atkinson 81), 11 Ryan Head

Subs not used: Connor Walters, Jamie Hannis

Stafford: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Sam Griffiths, 3 Darren Thornton (Tyler Lyttle 74), 4 Kieran Morris, 5 Mat Bailey (c), 6 Kris Taylor, 7 Jack Sherratt (Jake Heath 85), 8 Levi Reid (Mitchell Tolley 88), 9 Kyle Perry, 10 Izak Reid, 11 Richard Batchelor

Subs not used: Aaron Opoku, Zeph Thomas

Ref: Paul Tomes

Att: 212

Star Robin: Luis Rose