Ilkeston FC 1 Burton Albion 0
Ilkeston FC opened their pre-season programme in style as they overcame League Two side Burton Albion at the New Manor Ground on Tuesday night.
Kane Richards’ fine first-half header was the difference between the sides in a game that saw both sides field vastly different teams in each half but which left Robins boss Kevin Wilson enthused by what he had seen.
As opening pre-season friendlies go, this wasn’t bad, despite a humid evening making it difficult for any kind of decent tempo to develop.
Burton fielded most of their current first team squad over the 90 minutes and also featured a few trialists including former Derby and Stoke star Rory Delap.
For Ilkeston, 22 players got 45 minutes each and rarely looked uncomfortable against their professional opponents.
Albion had the first shot on target with Jimmy Phillips putting a weak effort into the arms of new Robins keeper Rob Peet.
Aaron Hooton then had three good openings to register for the hosts, first firing straight at keeper Dean Lyness, then firing over the top when in a good position ten yards out and finally skewing horribly wide when released after good work by James Reid.
The only goal came on 33 minutes and it was one of great quality. Trialist Adam Eden found space down the left and swung over an inviting cross that Richards met with a fine header which looped over Lyness and into the net.
It took until the second-half for more chances to come and it was Burton who really should have registered with at least one of them, Robbie Weir slicing wide from close range, Michael Symes flicking over the top from even closer and Alex MacDonald’s excellent dipping volley dropping just wide.
Danny Gordon volleyed over from the edge of the penalty area for Ilkeston on 64 minutes, before Burton’s Jack Palmer dragged another good chance wide ten minutes later.
The final and probably best chance Albion would have to earn a draw came on 76 minutes, when Dominic Knowles created space in the penalty area before dinking an effort towards the top corner of the net but young keeper Scott Low got up well to tip the ball over the bar.
The usual pre-season requirement of improving fitness levels and getting important minutes under belts were certainly answered here, but beating a team from a higher level is always a good tonic whatever the circumstances and can only bode well for this young Ilkeston side.
Ilkeston first-half: Peet, R Wilson, L Wilson, Maguire, Chettle, Reid, K Richards, Cullingworth, Hooton, Whittaker, Eden.
Second-half: Low, Kozluk, Craven, Ricketts, Watts, Williams, Storey, Gordon, Baker, Peel, Downes.
Burton: Lyness (Dunn 46), Edwards (Delap 46), Andrews (Sharps 46), Currie (Hussey 46), Diamond (Doyle 46), Bell (Weir 56), MacDonald (Harness 68), Phillips (Palmer 46), Dyer (Knowles 46), Symes (Trialist 68), Wilkins (Slade 46)
by Mark Duffy