Goals from Luis Rose and Dan Udoh saw safe passage to the Doodson League Cup semi-finals as Ilkeston cruised to victory at Kidsgrove Athletic on Wednesday night.
The win sets up a semi-final at Scarborough Athletic next Tuesday night (22nd), the winners from that going on to play Marine or Colwyn Bay in the final on Friday, April 29.
Ilkeston operated with Udoh and debutant Roy Lee up top. Curtis Burrows and Rose were on the flanks. Mike Williams and Danny Gordon were holding with Haydn Goddard and Aiden Print wingbacks.
From the start, Ilkeston showed confidence and intensity as Udoh won the ball and muscled off a defender before hammering an effort off the bar with just four minutes on the clock.
The Robins had plenty of the ball but it was the hosts who should have opened the scoring as Anthony Malbon raced through but was denied point blank by Jamie Hannis inside the box. Hannis was then alert to parry away Jordan Johnson’s near post effort.
However with 16 minutes on the clock, Ilkeston took the lead. A fantastic move saw Williams find Udoh who raced into the box and produced a quick step-over before squaring for Rose to tap in for his first senior goal.
This added to the early confidence, Williams checking inside before firing over the bar from outside the box soon afterwards.
Kidsgrove again had a chance to score, Malbon found space in behind but once again Hannis was on hand to save inside the box.
The Robins maintained intensity and continued to attack; Williams hit a 30 yard free-kick straight at Harry Pickering before Lee could only glance a header wide.
Lee nearly added a second, Udoh producing a lovely weighted pass which he collected before forcing a stop at the near post from Pickering.
Lee remained a threat throughout the first-half, his shot from just outside the box well held before he was inches away from connecting with a Burrows cross.
The second-half presented more of a contest as the hosts dug in and nearly found an equaliser. Nick Wellecomme was put through but Hannis saved with his legs, Hannis continuing to produce moments of brilliance as he parried Malbon’s effort away as the Robins were under siege in the early stages.
But just after the hour mark, Ilkeston doubled the lead. A looping cross from Williams was only half cleared to Udoh who picked the ball up and lashed a strike into the bottom corner from a tight angle. The goal settled the fringes of the game.
The introduction of David Jones and Dexter Atkinson gave added spice but equally added potency on the counter attack.
Jones made an immediate impact as Rose was released on the far side. He raced into the box before crossing for Jones but the striker couldn’t connect cleanly and the hosts cleared.
Jones then had another chance to add a third but Pickering denied him from a few yards. Ross Davidson then dipped a volley the wrong side of the post.
Jones had one last chance late on after he collected a through ball from Udoh. He skipped past one challenge before Pickering again smothered his effort.
Next up for Ilkeston is the visit of Halesowen Town this Saturday, 3pm kick off.
Ilkeston: Jamie Hannis, Aiden Print, Haydn Goddard, Danny Gordon, Matt Baker(c), Ryan Head, Curtis Burrows (David Jones 71), Luis Rose, Dan Udoh, Mike Williams, Roy Lee (Dexter Atkinson 71).
Subs Not Used: Luke Shaw, Connor Walters, Max Thornberry.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harry Pickering, Danny Smith (Paul Donnelly 83), Lewis Bergin, Ashley Hodgkinson, Paul Taylor, Karl Espley (Will Bailey 71), Anthony Malbon(c), Ross Davidson, Nick Wellecomme, Jordan Johnson (Joe Woolley 56), Jack Sherratt.
Subs Not Used: Andy Kinsey, Chris Boast.