Hat-trick of wins leaves Strachan calling for more

Charlie Coulson celebrates having put Ilkeston ahead against Stourbridge on Monday night. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Charlie Coulson celebrates having put Ilkeston ahead against Stourbridge on Monday night. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Gavin Strachan revelled in three straight wins as Ilkeston FC’s season built some crucial early momentum - and challenged his team to keep them coming.

Monday night’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Stourbridge followed a 2-0 success in Wales over Colwyn Bay last Saturday, which added to the 2-1 win at Grantham four days earlier.

And with two games in three days upcoming over the Bank Holiday weekend, Strachan says the momentum being built up could quite easily see more wins on the board.

He said: “That’s what it’s about now. After Monday’s game the dressing room was quite quiet as some of the youngsters forget that it’s not just about their development and how they play anymore, it’s about getting points too and we’d earned them.

“The games keep on coming now so we’ll work with the fitness coach in ensuring the load isn’t too much for the young legs to handle and perhaps look at a few different things in training.

“This is why we wanted a team that was really fit and we’ve got players in the wings who are itching to get games. Lee Hughes is suspended on Saturday so there’s a chance there for someone else to come in and stake a claim.

“We’re in great form and I see no reason why we can’t build on this great momentum and get more wins under our belt at the weekend.”

On the win over Stourbridge, Strachan said: “The first-half was excellent. We played well against their system and it was the most relaxed I’ve been on the bench so far!

“We looked a real threat and could well have had more goals but it was exactly what we were after.

“I knew they’d come at us in the second-half. They’d tried playing one way which wasn’t successful so went more direct at us after the break and it worked. We’d done loads of work on dealing with teams like that in pre-season but we just froze a little bit and defended far too deep which allowed them to get closer to our goal.

“At that point there’s usually only one team that’s going to win, namely the side that’s clawed two goals back and who are still pressuring, but in fairness to what is a relatively young side, we recovered really well and showed great character.

“The routine for the third goal is down to my assistant Andy Watson and worked a treat, then we’ve got a good breakaway fourth before letting the ball bounce in our six yard box and allowing them in for another goal.

“I’m pleased we hung on against a difficult side and the three points are what matter. It was a great game for a neutral to watch but in the end, terrible for the coaches to endure!”

Meanwhile, Ilkeston have been drawn at home in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.

They will host either Rugby Town of Evo-Stik Division One South or Midland Football League side Coventry Sphinx on September 12. Those two sides meet each other in the preliminary round this weekend.