Tuesday 20 August
Ilkeston FC stormed to the top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division table this evening (Even if it's just for one night) after comfortably beating Stamford AFC 3-0 in front of a jubilant New Manor Ground crowd.
The game started nervously for the Robins early in the second minute after a Rob Peet clearance hit the back of a Stamford striker who was unable to capitalise on the gifted opportunity after Matt Baker bailed the Robins out with a strong tackle to get the ball away from danger.
Eight minutes later Ilkeston were given a scare once more after Ryan Robbins' effort was cleared off the line by an alert Rob Kozluk to keep the scores level at 0-0.
With almost twenty minutes of the game gone both sides looked energetic and good value for a goal, although neither team could break the deadlock in the opening twenty despite plenty of efforts. Shouts for a penalty came in nineteenth minute from the Ilkeston faithful after Kane Richards was brought down in the box and two minutes later Kozluk was the man of the moment once more as the ball was once more blocked on the goal line and deflected up onto the post, denying what was a second almost undeniable goal for Stamford.
The most controversial moment of the game came in the 27th after a stonewall penalty shout was turned down by the referee after a the ball was judged to be handled in the area by the Stamford defender which everyone in the ground seemed to have seen except the referee.
After reviewing the incident on Ilkeston's live video highlights it seemed to be a certain penalty.
The second half started absolutely brilliantly for the Robins after new boy Chris Palmer stepped up to take a free kick just outside the area which beautifully found it's way into the back of the net to put Ilkeston in the lead with Palmer scoring on his home debut.
Three minutes later James Reid put an absolutely lovely ball into the box from some distance which was then turned into the back of his own net by Stamford Captain Richard Jones to take the score to 2-0 as the Robins really turned the game round in their favour as they played absolutely brilliantly as a unit.
Ilkeston rounded off an impressive second half display in the 69th minute after Laurie Wilson scored an absolute screamer from around 35 yards which was parried into the bottom corner by the helpless Stamford goalkeeper to take the score to 3-0 and put the game fully out for reach for the Daniels who couldn't better the Robins who were putting on a stellar second half performance.
Every Ilkeston player on the pitch this evening put in a good shift in front of a healthy crowd of 539, with the boys looking strong going forward and more than capable of defending well at the back when called upon.
Supporters will be undoubtedly keen to get down to the New Manor Ground on Saturday in the Robins second home game of the season against Marine FC to find out whether Ilkeston can keep up their hot unbeaten run and keep their heads up around the top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League table.