FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Ilkeston FC 2 Belper Town 2
Ilkeston were once again punished for their failure to kill teams off on Saturday as Belper Town forced an FA Cup replay.
Two Daryll Thomas goals should have been enough to dispose of the Nailers, but a spirited fightback from the visitors earned them a draw and nearly saw them snatch a winner late on.
Both sides had headers flicked wide from corners early on, Jordan Ball for Belper and Joe Maguire for Ilkeston, before Thomas cut inside and saw his shot beaten away by keeper Aaron Chapman.
It was Belper who took the lead on 16 minutes. Steve Warne’s cross was headed into the air by Ball and when Robins keeper Ashley Timms was unable to get to the dropping ball first, Ben Leonard, facing away from goal, managed to head home from six yards out.
Ilkeston didn’t create much in reply initially and even lost Ryan Wilson injured on 22 minutes, but a key 60 second period eventually got them level.
Joe Wilcox produced a perfectly-timed challenge to deny the goalbound Ball on 38 minutes, and within moments the Robins right-back was beating two players as he marauded down the right before feeding Thomas with an excellent pass, the Ilkeston striker finishing well into the corner of the net to send the teams into half-time level.
James Reid headed a Wilcox cross over the top from six yards out early in the second-half as Ilkeston began to take control, new signing Aaron Hooton also coming to life firstly with a break forward and shot deflected into the side netting and then firing too high when in space following a defensive error.
Between those chances, Jack Watts struck the outside of the post as the Robins put the pressure on.
All of that made Thomas’s second goal look like it could well put them on the way to victory, as again he finished well after this time being set up by Watts down the inside right channel.
But the lead lasted only four minutes. Simon Harrison saw a shot deflected inches wide of the post, and when he took the resulting corner sub Ashley Longstaff lost his marker at the back post to head home off the crossbar.
That led to a lively final 20 minutes. Hooton broke forward and put a ball into the six yard box which missed Thomas by inches, and Andy Rushbury was just wide at the other end.
Then, in injury-time, Belper nearly won it, as a counter-attack saw Longstaff through on goal with a defender in close attendance but his low shot was tipped wide by Timms and that proved vital as the teams ensured a second meeting at Belper on Tuesday night (September 25th, 7.45pm)
Ilkeston: 1 Ashley Timms 2 Joe Wilcox 3 Ryan Wilson (Russell Peel 22) 4 Dion Chambers 5 Dan Partridge 6 Joe Maguire 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Aaron Hooton 10 Daryll Thomas 11 James Reid (Will McCall 77). Subs not used: Ellis Storey, Alex Ford, Ryan Osborne, Andrew Osei-Siribour, Chris Martin
Scorers: Thomas 39, 65 Belper: 1 Aaron Chapman 2 Aaron Pride 3 Greg Wright 4 Ben Leonard (Ashley Longstaff 57) 5 Richard Adams 6 Karl Colley 7 Simon Harrison (Andy Rushbury 77) 8 Steve Warne 9 Mark Ward (Colin Marrison 57) 10 Jordan Ball 11 Ryan Mallon. Subs not used: Michael Simpkins, Shaun Roulston, Jon Froggatt, Dave Ratcliffe
Scorers: Leonard 16, Longstaff 70
Att: 519 Ref: Duncan Carratt (Rotherham)
Star Robin: Joe Wilcox
by Mark Duffy