Friday, 21 April 2017

Ilkeston FC (Academy) 0 v Mansfield Town (Brooksby) 1 - English Colleges League

Friday 21st April 2017
National League U19 Alliance
English Colleges League
at the New Manor Ground
Ilkeston FC (0) 0
Mansfield Town (0) 1
Rhiess McLean 78
Flickr photo gallery HERE
To say that the New Manor Grounfd pitch was inneed of some TLC would be a massive understatement.
During a break in play, the match referee, the right honourable James Thornhill asked me if I could get him some water.
Happy to oblige a dehydrated match official, I quipped "Back in a minute pal, I'll just nip off and get you bottle"
"Oh it's not for me" replied Mr Thornhill "It's this pitch that's thirsty!"
A good point well made methinks.
Myles Saxton played a defence splitting ball into the path of Rheiss McLean as the Brooksby Lads had the better of the opening exchanges, but Charlie Wood dived bravely in and claimed the ball from off of the Stags strikers toe.
I didn't say bravely because the Wood ran the risk of being kicked for dashing head on into a potentially painful situation, because it was his gung ho act of complete disregard for his own safety, as he bounced on the bone hard pitch that posed the real danger... very real actually.
Ilson's Jake Brogden delivered a right wing cross towards Dan Faulkner, but Lewis Matthews did well to clear the ball away. Alas Matthews only last eighteen minutes before he hobbled out of the game, giving Mansfield the opportunity to let the mercurial talent that is Lance Moyo loose on their hosts.
Ryan  Evans set up McLean just inside the home side's area with a clever back heel, but the Stags number nine's shot was tipped over the bar at the expense of a corner, even though he had beaten the keeper. But none of the officials spotted it, so well done to the Robins right back Tom Taylor, that was a mighty fine save pal!
Paul Douglas pounced to claim an under hit back pass, but the visitors keeper, Sam Bennett, forced the  Reds striker to change course and as he ran wide, he sliced the ball past the post. Good goalkeeping doesn't always necessitate actually touching the ball.
Funsu Maveso delivered two good balls into the home side's goalmouth; Owen Clark headed the first one over and Wood punched McLean's flick towards Kieran Lane away.
Charlie Sheridan, who'd got forward to help his attack down the right flank, the last twice I have seen him play, operated more deeply today, keeping tabs on  the attacking threat that Kieran Fisher and Zibusiso Sibanda posed. And all told he won that/those particular battle(s) over the duration of the game.
Evans met Clark's free kick with his head and put the home goal under pressure again, but Wood got up and retrieved the ball.
Moyo was inches away from breaking the deadlock just before the break, when he had showed his initiative to see off a challenge before stroking the ball wide to Evans, who in turn crossed it to McLean and when Wood thwarted him, the loose ball fell to Moyo, who vanished in a cloud of dust as he hooked the ball inches past the right hand upright.
Ilkeston were just moments away from taking the lead through Sibanda, when Sheridan nicked the ball away with a well timed blocking tackle.
Evans was denied a penalty, despite getting his heels clipped as a bore down on the Ilkeston  goal, but having dusted himself down, he set up a chance for Wilson Irons, who blazed his shot from right to left, across the face of the Ilson goal and just wide of the left hand upright.
Wood saved from McLean as he turned on the spot to allow himself the time and space to drill the ball towards the Robins net.
Jack Toon was inches away from netting a cheeky goal, when his intended cross was cleared off the line.
The best water fetcher in development league football.
Evans shot was saved and moments later, Toon's close range stab was deflected round the post.
Finally, in the 78th minute, Irons unleashed a shot from ten yards out, that Wood did well to block, but he couldn't stop McLean latching onto the rebound to knock the only goal of the game in from close range.
Late in the day, Toon hooked the ball into the six yard box and as the keeper and two defenders followed Evans to the near post, he helped the ball on it's way to Irons, who shot wide with the goal at his mercy, as the ball sat up abruptly off of the concrete like pitch.
FT: Robins 0 v Stags 1