REPORT: Ilkeston FC 3-0 Ramsbottom Utd

Lee Ndlovu scores from close range to make it 1-0. Photo by Craig Lamont
Lee Ndlovu scores from close range to make it 1-0. Photo by Craig Lamont

This turned out to be a good test of Ilkeston’s patience but it was one they ultimately passed with flying colours at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.

Bottom-of-the-table Ramsbottom proved a tough nut to crack for most of this encounter until they were finally broken down three times in eight minutes in the final stages.

It wasn’t the most attractive of games, strong winds not helping either side, but the three points were deservedly Ilkeston’s at the end of it.

An early goal would probably have opened the floodgates for the hosts but it proved a frustrating first-half as good opportunities went begging.

The first real opening came Ilkeston’s way ten minutes in when after a good move, Eli Bako took too long to shoot when in the penalty area and keeper Grant Shenton gathered the ball at his feet.

The Robins were playing against the considerable wind in the first-half and it hindered their cause on several occasions early on.

Rammy’s Alex Meaney drove a low free-kick at Evandro Rachoni on 18 minutes but chances were proving few and far between in the early stages, Shelton Payne doing similar with another free-kick moments later.

Ilkeston were inches away from the lead on 26 minutes when Danny Gordon was released near the byline and his floated cross was headed against the crossbar by Lee Ndlovu.

Dan Udoh fired low at Shenton from distance on the half-hour mark, before he went even closer soon afterwards when his close range shot was blocked by Shenton and when Ndlovu followed up to roll the ball towards goal, Liam Gibson was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Both Robins players should have scored.

Udoh was again off target right on half-time as he fired wide after being fed by Ndlovu inside the penalty area.

The second-half took a long while to get going but the Robins should have scored 20 minutes into it when Udoh squared for Gordon who was six yards out but he managed to skew the ball wide of goal.

Matt Baker then couldn’t quite turn the ball in from sub Mike Williams’ cross after a corner wasn’t cleared by the visitors, Olly Luto firing just too high from another corner soon afterwards.

At the other end, Baker had to be alert to clear a Payne free-kick off the line, before Williams shot straight at Shenton as Ilkeston still struggled to break the visitors down.

Joe Burgess then found space on the edge of the box but saw his shot deflected just too high, and it was from the subsequent corner that the goal finally came.

Blake swung it into the six yard box and Ndlovu forced the ball home from a couple of yards out.

Udoh then produced a fine piece of skill to beat his man and fire in a shot from distance which Shenton parried away, but the second goal arrived straight away as Udoh headed down a cross from the right and Williams had time to finish well from a few yards out to effectively end the game as a contest.

If that didn’t, the next goal moments later certainly did and it was quite a strike. Udoh didn’t have much on when the ball dropped to him just outside the area but he juggled it past a defender and proceeded to hammer in an unstoppable strike on the volley which left Shenton with no hope.

Williams saw an effort saved by Shenton as Ilkeston continued to seek more goals, but three would be more than enough to send the struggling visitors to another away defeat.

Ilkeston: 1 Evandro Rachoni, 2 Danny Gordon (Curtis Burrows 80), 3 Olly Luto, 4 Jordan Wheatley, 5 Matt Baker, 6 Joe Burgess (c), 7 Joe Doyle, 8 Eli Bako (Mike Williams 62), 9 Dan Udoh (Haydn Goddard 90), 10 JJ Blake, 11 Lee Ndlovu

Subs not used: Rhys Dolan, Jahquil Hill

Ramsbottom: 1 Grant Shenton, 2 Robbie Bromley, 3 Sam Grimshaw (Aaron Smith 83), 4 Liam Gibson, 5 Nia Bayunu, 6 Price Haywood, 7 Shelton Payne, 8 David Kuba-Kuba, 9 Michael Oates (Matty Crothers 72), 10 Alex Meaney (Jordan Bone 72), 11 Kade Koppin

Subs not used: John Pritchard, Marcus Porcha

Att: 432

Ref: James Bell

Star Robin: Dan Udoh