The Doodson Sport Cup isn’t high on the list of priorities for many teams in the Northern Premier League but for Ilkeston FC it created another night of winning football on Tuesday.
This was their 11th win in 12 games and wasn’t as convincing as it could have been, particularly given the strong line-up chosen by Kevin Wilson.
Lincoln played their part with a well-organised defensive display but ultimately the Robins’ quality came through to seal progress into the quarter-finals.
The game was subdued to say the least for the first 20 minutes or so, Lincoln looking more interested in the final third without any real effect and the Robins slow to get out of first gear.
The first opening came on 22 minutes when Akil Wright, in an unfamiliar right wing-back role, did well on the flank before pulling the ball back to Rob Duffy who hit the side netting when he really should have hit the target.
Lincoln’s Matthew Cotton hooked a weak shot at keeper Jordan Smith moments later and then former Robin Sam Duncum was put through on goal but from a slight angle could also only fire straight at the Ilkeston keeper.
Cotton then beat Smith to a Brendan McDaid through ball 40 yards out but couldn’t find the net from a very narrow angle, Jack Lane on hand to block Cotton’s weak shot as it headed towards goal.
That would be the extent of the chances in the first-half as neither side was able to exert a great deal of authority on proceedings.
Reid put a free-kick into the arms of former Ilkeston keeper Rob Peet early in the second-half, but the deadlock would finally be broken on 58 minutes.
Wright’s cross from the right wasn’t cleared by the defence and it fell to Mike Williams on the edge of the penalty area who placed a fine effort into the far corner of the net to continue his pleasant habit of scoring in cup ties this season.
Rai Simons was released moments later but could only shoot weakly at Peet, before Joe Maguire found himself one-on-one with Peet after Duffy’s neat flick but put the ball wide of the post when it looked easier to score.
All of sudden, Lincoln then pulled themselves level with their first chance of the second-half.
Duncum swung in a free-kick from the right which somehow eluded everyone except United skipper Michael Jacklin at the back post and he headed home from a couple of yards out.
The hosts battled back with Duffy seeing a shot saved low down by Peet to force a corner.
Maguire went close again with seven minutes left, his glancing header from Reid’s corner just going wide of the far post, then Simons got free again but he too saw his effort just miss the target.
The decisive goal arrived three minutes from time and it was a great effort, as Morgan lined one up from 25 yards and his low shot was perfectly into the corner of the net where Peet couldn’t reach it.
That was ultimately enough to put the Robins through after a game they controlled in the most part but in which, not for the first time in recent weeks, they struggled to kill off their opponents with any degree of conviction.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015:
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 James Reid 3 Akil Wright (Luke Shaw 67) 4 Matt Baker 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Jack Lane 7 Danny Gordon 8 Callum Chettle 9 Rob Duffy (Evan Garnett 84) 10 Mike Williams 11 Rai Simons Subs not used: Haydn Goddard, Curtis Burrows, Danny Gordon
Lincoln: 1 Rob Peet 2 Jordan Lemon 3 Kallum Smith 4 Brendan McDaid 5 Michael Jacklin (c) 6 Callum Ward 7 Sam Duncum 8 Danny Brooks (Gio Carchedi 67) 9 Matt Cotton 10 Scott Ruthven 11 George Asplin (Jack Wilkinson 89). Subs not used: Gio Carchedi, Sam Wilkinson, Kyle Pooley
Ref: J Clark
Star Robin: David Morgan