League and cup agony for Robins after Udoh departure

Dan Udoh scored eight goals for Ilkeston this season and has now signed for League One side Crewe Alexandra.
Dan Udoh scored eight goals for Ilkeston this season and has now signed for League One side Crewe Alexandra.

Ilkeston FC were left to reflect on another frustrating few days this week as their young players suffered two more defeats.

A 3-1 loss to Halesowen Town in the league on Saturday was followed by League Cup heartbreak as the Robins were beaten on penalties by hosts Scarborough Athletic in Tuesday night’s semi-final clash.

Those results followed the exit of popular striker Dan Udoh to League One side Crewe Alexandra over the weekend.

Robins boss Andy Watson was unavailable for interview after Tuesday night’s loss, but speaking after the Halesowen defeat, he was again left lamenting the concession of three first-half goals, as had been the case against Stamford and Darlington in recent weeks.

He said: “It was another match where we performed much better in the second-half when the game was probably beyond us.

“We need to get ourselves ahead in games more often as it gives us more belief and something to hold on to, as was the case in the win over Salford.”

Udoh’s departure was confirmed on Monday, the striker not having featured in the Halesowen game having instead travelled to Crewe for his medical.

An undisclosed fee has been paid for the 19-year-old with various add-ons and clauses believed to have been included in the deal. He has signed a two-year contract.

Udoh signed for the Robins last summer after impressing in pre-season and having established himself as a first team regular went on to score eight goals in all competitions.

The Nigerian U17 and U20 international, who came to the UK at the age of nine-years-old, becomes the latest in a growing line of Ilkeston players to have progressed into the Football League.

Robins boss Andy Watson said: “Dan deserves this move as he’s an extremely hard-working player with a great attitude.

“He’s remained based in Hertfordshire whilst with us and makes the drive to Ilkeston several times a week, which shows his dedication to the cause.

“We’re all delighted for Dan and wish him every success with Crewe, where I firmly believe he could break into the first team very quickly.”

Udoh said: ”I’m really delighted about my move to Crewe, it’s a testament to my hard work and the chance that I’ve been given by Ilkeston.

“Without this club, I don’t think this would have happened, I’d be back home and working in London, playing football three times a week instead of full-time.

“I’d like to thank the gaffer Andy Watson. Since he took over I started to get my chance in the team and show him what I can do. Luckily I found my feet quickly and started moving forward.”

Ilkeston now head to promotion-chasing Ashton United on Saturday, before a side fighting at the other end of the table, Mickleover Sports, come to the NMG on Easter Monday for a 3pm kick-off.