Matches so often hinge on single incidents and that was certainly the case at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
Up until the 38th minute, visitors Solihull Moors were very much in this FA Cup second qualifying round encounter, having hit the woodwork twice and played some good football.
Then midfielder Reece Fleet flew in with a heavy challenge on Ilkeston’s Kane Richards. Referee Michael Salisbury took a dim view, sent Fleet for an early bath and ultimately changed the course of the game.
The Robins had acquitted themselves well early on but were fortunate not to be behind by the time Fleet departed. From that point on it became a case of not if but when they would edge in front.
The opening stages were fairly cagey but Moors had the best openings, Joe Maguire heading Liam Daly’s goalbound effort away from danger in the second minute and Darren Byfield finding the hands of keeper Jordan Smith on 15.
Daly and Omar Bogle then both headed against the crossbar within seconds of each other after Ryan Beswick’s long throw wasn’t cleared by the Robins defence.
Darryl Knights’ shot from 25 yards was deflected just over the top before Ilkeston’s Rob Duffy saw a low shot gathered by Moors stopper Tony Breedon.
Then came Fleet’s moment of madness, his high tackle on Richards warranting the red card and leaving few of his teammates complaining.
There was still time in the first-half for Ilkeston’s Kieran Wallace to see a low effort well blocked by Breedon, while at the other end Dominic Langdon arrived at the back post to meet a cross from the right but Smith saved well at point-blank range.
Moors made two substitutions at the break but that merely removed much of the creativity they’d boasted in the first-half.
That played into Ilkeston’s hands and the hosts went on to dominate proceedings.
David Morgan was superb in midfield, his work-rate and distribution key to what would follow, while Che Adams was his usual bustling self and created two or three good openings for himself that ended either with shots being saved or missing the target.
Morgan let fly from 25 yards but was inches too high on 69 minutes but it was to be he who would turn creator for the game’s only goal ten minutes later.
Adams was fouled right on the left-hand edge of the penalty area and Morgan stepped up to swing a perfect cross on to the head of Maguire at the back post and the Robins skipper powered the ball home.
Adams and Morgan both went close to a second, while Duffy was denied it by the offside flag having netted from Luke Shaw’s cross.
Moors had done little in front of goal in the second-half but in throwing everything at the Robins in search of an equaliser they very nearly got one with virtually the last kick of the game, but a superb blocking tackle from Wallace denied what looked a certain goal as Bogle got a shot in from close range, the final whistle blowing shortly afterwards to signal Ilkeston’s path to Stockport County in the third qualifying round.
Saturday, September 27, 2014:
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 Luke Shaw, 3 Kieran Wallace, 4 Akil Wright, 5 Joe Maguire (c), 6 Jack Lane, 7 David Morgan, 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Rob Duffy, 10 Kane Richards (Jake Mulraney 89), 11 Che Adams. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Mike Williams, Eli Bako, Danny Gordon, Ashley Hunter, Aaron Myles
Solihull: 1 Tony Breedon, 2 Michael Nottingham, 3 Dominic Langdon, 4 Reece Fleet, 5 Liam Daly, 6 Rob Elvins (c) (Aaron Brown 82), 7 Darren Byfield (Jay Denny 46), 8 Junior English, 9 Omar Bogle, 10 Ryan Beswick (Aitor Espoja 46), 11 Darryl Knights. Subs not used: Deale Chamberlain, Richard Taundry, Jordan Gough, Keenah Rosser
Att: 210 Ref: Michael Salisbury
Star Robin: David Morgan
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Craig Lamont (@_CLPhotography)