Report: Skelmersdale Utd 1 Ilkeston FC 4

Ashley Hunter (left) is congratulated on his first-half goal by Kieran Wallace, who would later score too. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Ashley Hunter (left) is congratulated on his first-half goal by Kieran Wallace, who would later score too. Photo by Craig Lamont.

When Scott Bakkor put Skelmersdale in front just 47 seconds into this contest it was fair to say things could only get better for the young Robins.

That they did and emphatically so.

What followed was a top quality response that saw Ilkeston turn things around by half-time and then go on to destroy the league leaders further in the second-half.

Skelmersdale’s form had suffered in recent weeks despite their lofty position and with Ilkeston on a high following a couple of good wins the signs were that fortune could well favour the visitors by the time the afternoon was out.

But the early signs weren’t good.

There was a blow before kick-off for Ilkeston as defender Akil Wright pulled up injured in the warm-up, Matt Baker stepping in to take his place in central defence.

The hosts’ exit out of the traps then caught the Robins as cold as the Lancashire breeze present at Stormy Corner, Danny Mitchley seeing his shot from the edge of the penalty area parried by keeper Jordan Smith but Bakkor, a scorer for Witton Albion against Ilkeston on the first day of the season, netted the rebound from close range.

The Robins responded well, Callum Chettle’s shot low at the keeper after a well-worked corner routine and Ashley Hunter firing wide after being released by a long ball forward.

Kenny Strickland was pulling many a string in the Skem midfield and he was close to a second goal on 18 minutes but saw his long range drive fly just wide of the post.

Something of a lull in proceedings followed but that was eded by the Ilkeston equaliser on 32 minutes.

David Morgan’s free-kick into the box was poorly defended by the hosts, the ball dropping for Joe Maguire who controlled before firing high into the net.

Within three minutes the game had been turned on its head. Another free-kick from Morgan was once again not defended well by Skelmersdale’s defence and Maguire’s mis-hit shot was diverted home off a post by Ashley Hunter - he too adding to his tally from last weekend at Whitby.

Skem responded with Bakkor having a shot beaten away well by Smith after being set free down the inside right channel, but aside from a few lively tackles and the home side getting a little impatient with referee Kevin Mattocks, that was the last major action of the first-half.

Having fallen behind so early, the Robins then got revenge for Skem’s quick start by dishing out a similar punishment at the start of the second-half.

A good passing move ended with Rob Duffy threading a ball through to Kieran Wallace who ran on to finish well just 67 seconds in.

The hosts responded with skipper Rob McIntosh forcing a good block from Smith after Ilkeston didn’t clear their lines from a free-kick, then Smith reacted well to divert a shot wide that had taken a huge deflection off defender Jack Lane.

James Reid was lively throughout and his cut inside was followed by a low shot parried wide by keeper Martin Fearon, but the fourth goal would follow just moments later.

A handball out on the left wing gave Ilkeston a free-kick, Morgan’s fine delivery to the b ack post met by a powerful Kane Richards header into the net - a deserved reward for a fine personal display.

Duffy put a good chance wide with eight minutes left after fine work by Hunter, before the game fizzled out along with any faint hopes of even a consolation from the somewhat stale home side.

Skelmersdale: 1 Martin Fearon, 2 Valtar Fernandes, 3 James Short (Dean Astbury 70), 4 Rob McIntosh (c), 5 Rob Bodie, 6 Kenny Strickland, 7 Curtis Thompson, 8 Michael Simpson (Phil Mooney 80), 9 Danny Mitchley (Dion Charles 72), 10 Scott Bakkor, 11 Alex Meaney

Subs not used: Ross Lloyd, Peter Wylie

Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 James Reid, 3 Kieran Wallace, 4 Matt Baker, 5 Joe Maguire (c), 6 Jack Lane, 7 David Morgan, 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Rob Duffy, 10 Kane Richards, 11 Ashley Hunter (Mike Williams 89)

Subs not used: Danny Gordon, Eli Bako, Rai Simons, Luke Shaw

Ref: Kevin Mattocks

Star Robin: Kane Richards

Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)

*Ilkeston are next in action on Saturday (29th) with a home clash against Matlock Town.