Skelmersdale complete league double over Ilkeston, a day after Robins released eight players

Ilkeston in action against Skelmersdale (Pic: Craig Lamont)
Ilkeston in action against Skelmersdale (Pic: Craig Lamont)

Robbie Booth’s second half strike was enough for Skelmersdale United to complete a league double over Ilkeston FC, as the Robins recent search for a league win continues.

Ilkeston, who released eight first team players on Friday, set out with Dan Udoh and Dexter Atkinson up top, Michael Williams sat in just behind.

Luke Shaw and Danny Gordon were in the holding role; Haydn Goddard and Aiden Print were wing-backs.

Ryan Head made his league debut.

With the pitch being slightly dry in areas, this caused a slight bobble on the surface.

The hosts began the game bright with Paul Woolcott collecting a cross but his shot lacked power and rolled comfortably for Jamie Hannis.

Ilkeston were moving the ball around in trademark fashion, looking for the runs of Udoh and Atkinson, only the offside flag denied Atkinson a clean run through the Skelmersdale back-line.

But after 10 minutes, the hosts did take the lead.

With their second effort on target, a loose ball fell in the Robins box; Dylan Vassallo reacted quickest and finished past Hannis to cause frustrations amongst the Robins ranks who had dominated the early stages.

Skelmersdale attempted to build on their goal advantage by threatening further on the Ilkeston goal.

Max Hazeldine raced onto a long ball forward, he managed to beat the on-rushing Hannis to the ball but his dinked effort went the wrong side of the post. Robbie Booth then curled way over the bar.

With the game slumping into a congested midfield battle, the Skelmersdale fans were sparked into life when Captain Matt Baker had to be alert to wallop a near post cross to safety.

The hosts pushed with several more corners which were all cleared.

Ilkeston looked to grab an equaliser but both Shaw and William’s efforts were blocked by tenacious Skem defending. Hazeldine looked to add to the host’s lead at the other end, but he fired over the bar inside the box.

The Robins managed a late flurry before half-time, Shaw’s cross was tipped over by Martin Fearon before Williams headed the resulting corner inches wide of the near post.

The following corner was then blazed over by Shaw from four yards.

It took just two minutes after the restart for Ilkeston to level. The Robins won a corner, Gordon delivered and Williams rose to glance the ball into the corner.

Skelmersdale responded quickly, a corner was delivered by Louis Corrigan; the ball took a nick and trickled along the goal-line before Ilkeston cleared, Chris Almond then stung the palms of Hannis with a firm strike which the young goal-keeper held.

The introduction of Curtis Burrows for Dexter Atkinson gave Ilkeston a different dimension with flair, hold up play and close control more effective. However despite the attacking change, the hosts continued to press, Corrigan again was dangerous with his delivery, an in-swinging ball to the back post was headed wide by Robert McIntosh.

However Skelmersdale re-gained the lead on 76 minutes, Hazeldine surged into the box before squaring the ball; Ilkeston could only half clear, the ball fell for Booth who confidently hammered the ball into the top corner inside the box.

Hannis then had to be alert again; he produced a stunning save tipping Tony Rendell’s point blank header over the bar.

The Robins continued to search for a second equaliser; Shaw curled a free kick from 25 yards over the bar, then Burrows headed wide from William’s ball in. Next up for Ilkeston FC is the visit of Daventry Town in the Third Round of the Integro Doodson League Cup on Monday evening, 7.45pm kick off.

Ilkeston FC Starting XI: Jamie Hannis, Aiden Print, Haydn Goddard, Jordan Wheatley, Matt Baker(c), Ryan Head (Luis Rose 75), Luke Shaw, Danny Gordon, Daniel Udoh, Michael Williams, Dexter Atkinson (Curtis Burrows 68).

Subs Not Used: Ben Morris, Connor Walters, Keenan Meakin.

Skelmersdale United Starting XI: Martin Fearon, Valter Fernandez, Louis Corrigan, Robert McIntosh(c), Tony Rendell, Robbie Booth, Dylan Vassallo, Paul Woolcott, Max Hazeldine (Alfons Fous-Mensah 76), Kenny Strickland, Chris Almond.

Subs Not Used: Danny Murphy, Tony Donaldson, Will Meredith, Phil Mooney.