Ilkeston continued to keep up their end of the bargain in the MFL Division One title race with a 4-0 win at home to Cadbury Athletic on Saturday.
They had little trouble in disposing of the visitors who offered little after the first 20 minutes of the game, the Robins themselves not at their best until they’d got a firm grip on things in the second-half.
But as so often this season, they ended up showing little mercy as they claimed a comfortable three points.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, the Robins had the first opening of note when Malachi Lavelle-Moore fed Alex Marshall through the middle but his shot from a slight angle was well parried by keeper Stuart Parsons.
The visitors had offered little but should have gone in front on 16 minutes when Deon Colstock’s pull back found Romario Rose in space but he fired over when he had time to control and do better, the chance emanating from a mistake by Chris Shaw.
They had an even better chance soon afterwards as they charged forward in numbers and with four players in the penalty area for Odane Barnes’ pull back, Rose forced a fine save out of Ian Deakin low to his right and the Robins scrambled the ball clear.
Almost immediately, Ilkeston’s Jamie Walker got up to head the ball against the crossbar from Ben Fairclough’s cross, then Athletic’s Lewis Cosgrove was allowed a free header from a set piece out wide but it was straight into Deakin’s hands.
The Cadbury woodwork rattled again when Walker’s cross found Lavelle-Moore’s head and Parsons got a slight touch to push his effort onto the crossbar.
But the opening goal finally came on the half hour mark. Walker swung in a near post corner from the right and Lavelle-Moore was able to guide a flick into the net from a couple of yards out.
They then had a golden chance to double the lead nine minutes later when Walker broke into the penalty area and was brought down by Sam Delaney. Walker got up to take the resultant penalty but Parsons got down well to his left to save what wasn’t the strongest-hit kick from the Robins man.
Good work 25 yards out saw Jordan Wheatley fire just past the post on the stroke of half-time, but a one-goal lead would be all Ilkeston held at the break.
Walker headed an early second-half effort straight at Parsons as Ilkeston looked to build on their advantage, but the left winger would fare far better with the second goal on 57 minutes.
Receiving the ball in space 25 yards out but level with the left edge of the penalty area, Walker curled a looping shot over Parsons and into the top corner of the net.
Five minutes later Walker scored again, but this time from much closer. Fairclough’s cross from the right dropped to Alex Marshall who in turn found Walker and he was able to slide the ball home from six yards out.
Cadbury replied with a Colstock effort which was parried away well by Deakin, then things went a bit quiet for a while before Lavelle-Moore’s 25-yarder was saved by Parsons.
The icing on the cake came on 89 minutes as sub Tim Hopkinson was gifted the ball out wide and ran on to have a shot parried by Parsons but Lavelle-Moore was able to tap in unopposed from a couple of yards out to round off a comprehensive win.
Ilkeston: 1 Ian Deakin, 2 Ben Fairclough, 3 Jamie Walker, 4 Chris Shaw ©, 5 Charlie Jemson (Micah Edwards 72), 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Ben Morris, 8 Jordan Wheatley, 9 Alex Marshall (Tim Hopkinson 66), 10 Malachi Lavelle-Moore, 11 Martin Lench (Conor Green 80)
Subs not used: Jamie Hannis, Mark Green
Cadbury Athletic: 1 Stuart Parsons, 2 Stuart Cook, 3 Brett Lloyd, 4 Sam Delaney, 5 Lewis Cosgrove (Andre Edwards 84), 6 Andrew Cooper ©, 7 Deon Colstock, 8 James Douglas, 9 Odane Barnes, 10 Lewis Kemp (Owen Coleman 79), 11 Romario Rose (Chad Barrett 69)
Subs not used: James Apperley, Fraser Oliver
Ref: Robert Cairns
Star Robin: Jamie Walker