Monday, 29 February 2016

Ilkeston FC 3 v Daventry Town 0 - Integro Doodson EvoStik NPL LC3

Monday 29 February 2016
The Integro Doodson EvoStik NPL League Cup 3rd Round
at the New Manor Ground
Attendance 174
Ilkeston FC (1) 3
Michael Williams 29
Daniel Udoh 60
Dexter Atkinson 71
Daventry Town (0) 0
Admission £6. Programme £2. Attendance 174
Woo hoo! It's a leap year... which means you get an extra day to watch football.
So having travelled up from the Birmingham City U21 game earlier on, I stopped off at Ilkeston for my second game of the day.
Well, it would be rude not to.
The Robins thoroughly deserved their margin of victory tonight, with a dominant performance at times and a virtuoso display of quality finishing, which set them up with an away game at Kidsgrove Athletic in the next round of the Integro Doodson EvoStik Northern Premier League League Cup, a competition that probably has quite a large trophy if somebody is going to have to engrave that lot on it.
Danny Gordon and Luis Rose were absent from the Ilkeston line up that I watched last Monday with Keenan Meakin and Dexter Atkinson taking their shirt numbers in the starting line up.
The lacklustre showing against Stamford AFC a week ago and the high tempo, neat passing and thoroughly enjoyable shift they put in at the New Manor Ground, begs the question: Will the real Ilkeston FC please stand up?
Left click to enlarge
The first greeting I received at 'Ilson' was "Are you back again? You must be a glutton for punishment!"
Ha, ha, I was actually working on the premise that the home side surely couldn't play as badly as they had last week... and for once in a while, I was right!
Andy Watson's side showed their teeth first, when Curtis Burrows cracked the ball over the visitors bar from 15 yards, while at the other end, Jamie Annis was relieved to see the ball bounce to safety off his cross bar, albeit from a miscued Andy Creaney cross.
David Udoh was combining well with Michael Williams, while Dexter Atkinson posed a threat out on the wing, but much as Ilkeston looked as though they were primed to make a real go of it tonight, Daventry went close again, when Edilson Panzo-Antonio found himself in space inside the goal area, but he put the ball over with the goal at his mercy.
Ben Heath did well to keep Burrows out, when Udoh had split the visitors defence wide home with a precision free kick, but Ilkeston didn't have to wait long to open the scoring and they took the lead in the 29th minute, when Williams picked up the ball in the centre circle, advanced forward and unleashed the ball into the back of the net, via the upright from an improbable distance.
If this cup tie was to finish 1-0 now, we'd just witnessed a goal worthy of winning any game.
Luke Shaw who has always impressed me when I saw him in action for the home side's development teams, was getting forward in support of his attack and Burrows went close to making it 2-0 when he planted a header just wide of the post, from the right back's cross.
Right on the stroke of half time, Udoh ought to have doubled the Robins lead, but couldn't quite keep his effort on target.
HT: Ilkeston FC 1 v Daventry Town 0
The home side stepped things up a notch after the interval, as they jabbed away at the visitors defence from the flanks, searching for a crack in their guard to deliver a killer blow.
Daventry broke up an attack on their area and started to push out, but the loose ball had landed conveniently for Udoh, a few yards outside the area and without hesitation he belted an unstoppable thundering shot into the top right hand corner of Heath's goal.
There was nothing the visitors keeper could have done to stop that one.
Atkinson put a good delivery onto the edge of the six yard box, but Williams headed flick on fell wide of the back stick.
Daventry's 'Purple Army' (above) had their arms aloft and were just about to celebrate getting a goal back through Scott Cross, but Hannis dropped down quickly to his right and pulled off a great save.
The Robins keeper did well again when he turned a free kick from Barry Deacon away for a corner.
Around half a dozen visiting fans called out for a "handball!", as Ilkeston cleared their lines, but none of their players joined in and nobody else seemed to have seen anything amiss; but you can't knock them for trying.
Atkinson had played really well out on the wing and it was fitting that he scored Ilkeston's third on 71 minutes, to all but kill off the game, when Udoh unselfishly laid the ball sideways for Ilkeston's number 11 to claim his side's third goal from close range.
That knocked the wind out of Daventry, and while a few spectators started to drift away to avoid the torrential rain that was starting to arrive with a vengeance, the Robins peppered the visitors goal with several more chances, but Heath kept them at bay and Ilkeston had to be content with a 3-0 home win.
FT: Ilkeston FC 3 v Daventry Town 0
And for the record, that bloody rain REALLY turned up, mob handed, and caused absolute havoc for me on the way back up the M1.