REPORT: Grantham Town 1-2 Ilkeston FC

Matt Baker heads the winner at Grantham. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Matt Baker heads the winner at Grantham. Photo by Craig Lamont.

An 87th minute header from defender Matt Baker completed a Lee Hughes-inspired comeback for Ilkeston at Grantham Town on Tuesday night.

He rose unchallenged to plant the ball firmly beyond goalkeeper Jake Turner to give the visitors their first league victory of the season and a first win for new head coach Gavin Strachan.

Earlier veteran striker Hughes, now 39, supplied a moment of class to bring Ilkeston back into contention.

The former West Brom, Coventry and Notts County star’s first contribution to the game was questionable as he kicked the ball against the shins of Jack Beckett from a free-kick which saw the Grantham midfielder booked.

But there was no doubting the quality of his 29th-minute finish that enabled Ilkeston to recover from the setback of conceding the opening goal after just 32 seconds.

An accurate ball forward from Danny Gordon was expertly controlled on his chest to take him beyond the last defender and give him time and space to steer a right-footed shot past Turner.

Grantham had taken the lead with the evening’s first attack.

Danny Meadows volleyed his cross in from the right and there was barely a hint of a challenge in the penalty box as Beckett controlled the ball for Lee Ndlovu to turn and shoot past a stranded Evandro Rachoni from six yards.

Ilkeston finished the first half well on top as they began to impose their passing game on a home side who were giving the ball away very easily.

The second-half was more evenly contested although it was Ilkeston who carried the greater threat.

Another sublime piece of skill from Hughes nearly gave Ilkeston the lead on the hour as he jinked past two Grantham defenders before curling his angled shot a foot wide.

Both sides used two substitutes and a draw looked likely until Baker’s late strike secured a first-ever victory for Ilkeston away at Grantham.