Matlock Town 1 Ilkeston FC 1
Teenage substitute Akil Wright enjoyed a short but memorable debut as a young Ilkeston FC side earned a point in the Derbyshire Dales on Saturday.
Wright scored an 89th minute equaliser just moments after arriving as a substitute, capping another impressive display by the Robins’ academy starlets following the 4-0 win at Whitby just days before.
Five 16-year-olds featured for the Robins and all showed great maturity throughout in what was a poor spectacle but a good opportunity to assess what gems the Ilkeston academy has.
The hosts started well and after Lavell White saw an early effort easily gathered by Robins keeper Chris Martin, they took the lead on 11 minutes.
A corner was cleared back to taker James Ashmore, and when he put the ball back into the penalty area Lewis McMahon controlled and turned to hook a fine volley past Martin and into the far corner.
Clear goalscoring opportunities would prove few and far between throughout, Keiran O’Connell’s deflected shot wide and a scramble in the penalty area leading to the ball being cleared off the Matlock goalline the closest either side came to netting in the remainder of the first-half.
But of the new youth on show, Callum Chettle and Danny Gordon looked industrious in midfield, right-back Liam Mahon useful both going forward and in defence, and Matt Baker similarly assured in the back four.
The second-half saw a few more chances created but still a lack of urgency from either side.
Massiah McDonald fired over when through on goal after 55 minutes, while Greg Pearson and Russell Cooke both should have levelled with good chances for Ilkeston.
Young sub Paris Pereira also entered the fray and looked energetic up front, including having a shot saved by keeper Nick Buxton, but it was Wright who would steal the show late on.
After Matlock could only clear a Chettle corner back to him, his ball into the area bobbled around before finding Wright who controlled well and finished superbly to reinforce the belief that Ilkeston’s academy is really beginning to flourish.
The two sides will meet again in the Derbyshire Senior Cup final at Chesterfield FC on Tuesday night (30th) with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Matlock: 1 Nick Buxton 2 Will Dennis 3 James Travis 4 Martin Foster (c) 5 Oscar Radford 6 Lee Featherstone (Matt Wilkinson 86) 7 Gareth Davies 8 James Ashmore 9 Matt Andrews (Massiah McDonald 23) 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Lavell White Subs not used: Ben Algar, Matt Leese
Scorer: McMahon 11
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Liam Mahon (Curtis Burrows 69) 3 Ellis Storey 4 Matt Baker 5 Russell Cooke 6 Greg Pearson 7 Danny Gordon 8 Callum Chettle 9 Dereece Gardner (Akil Wright 85) 10 Kieran O’Connell 11 James Reid Subs not used: Jan Yeomans, Ryan Swift
Scorer: Wright 89
Att: 460 Ref: David Richards (Halifax)
Star Robin: Callum Chettle
by Mark Duffy