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Monday 22nd February
at the New Manor Ground
EvoStik Northern Premier League
Ilkeston FC (0) 0
Stamford AFC (3) 3
Lee Beeson 4, Greg Smith 14, Paul Malone 34
Admission £6. Programme £2. Attendance 352
In all seriousness, if I had not already seen the league table prior to kick off; if you'd asked me to take a punt on which one of these two sides was in the bottom three, I wouldn't have guessed it was Stamford.
The Daniels swept their hosts away in the first half, in which they ran a woeful Robins side ragged.
When the visitors 45 year old keeper, Paul Bastock, made his first save of the game, after more than half a hour had elapsed, we joked with him we'd assumed he had been given the night off until then.
Lee Beeson, who has only recently rejoined the visitors, opened the scoring early in the game, after Paul Malone had diverted the ball into his path from Jon Challinor throw in.
Challinor was involved in the build up to the Daniels second goal, when the home side's captain was adjudged to have handled his deep cross from out on the right wing. Jamie Harris, the Robins keeper moved to to his right too soon and having seen which way he was going, Greg Smith rolled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
The home side and their fans were shell shocked when Stamford went three goals to the good on 32 minutes, when Paul Malone nodded home a 'free header' from Jake Duffy's corner.
Greg Smith hassled the home side's defence and won the ball, but he skied his shot over the bar.
After the break, Stamford sat back and invited 'Ilson' to come at them, knowing the game was already all but wrapped up and that a fourth goal on the break would definitely clinch all three points.
Alas, the home side received their invitation to party in the Stamford half, but struggled to enjoy themselves or impress anybody with their moves. In fact, Michael Williams behaved like he'd been hogging the punch bowl and having already been booked he was shown a red card for OTT dissent.
Ilkeston were knocking the ball about well, but failing to make any impression around Stamford's goal area.
Greg Smith combined with Jake Newman and the latter scuffed his shot wide of the target, but it barely mattered, as the game was winding down to it's inevitable conclusion.
The team that wanted it more got what they deserved... and Ilkeston got the result that their lack of attacking prowess merited too. They'll have better days.
FT: Ilkeston 0 v Stamford 3