• Mark Duffy

REPORT: Ilkeston remain unbeaten as they put five past Drayton

Ilkeston Town maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 5-1 win at struggling Market Drayton Town on Saturday.

It wasn't one of the Robins' greatest performances - the result only assured once they'd opened up a two-goal lead after an hour - but was enough to make it three wins out of four in the league so far to add to some impressive FA Cup displays.

And with the league taking a side step over the next week to allow the national cup competitions to take centre stage, the momentum gained from more league points can only be a positive.

After a fairly quiet start, Ilkeston took the lead with the first chance of the game ten minutes in.

Moving through the midfield, the ball ended up at the feet of James Reid who threaded a neat ball in to Alex Troke and the Robins striker confidently stroked the ball into the corner of the net.

The hosts were offering little, Sam Leyton putting their first shot on goal high over the bar on 20 minutes as the Robins continued to have the best of the encounter, although a mistake by Kieran Fenton then let in Declan Arber one-on-one but Ross Durrant saved the striker’s effort with his feet.

Alex Troke scores the opener. Photo by Lee Prewett.

Ilkeston were very close to a second on 34 minutes when left-back Mitchell Tait let fly from 30 yards but his strike came back off the post and nobody was on hand to profit from the rebound.

Sub Joe Wilson, on for the injured Charlie Marzano half-an-hour in, shot low at keeper Sam Agius soon afterwards, then opposing right-back Conor Hughes broke into the penalty area right on half-time but Durrant again did well to block the shot.

Durrant was on guard again early in the second-half to deny Jamie Hands whose free-kick was saved low down to Durrant’s right, Reid then firing too high from 25 yards for the visitors.

A golden chance to double the lead was then squandered on 50 minutes. Jack Thomas was brought to ground as he burst into the penalty area, but the normally reliable Troke saw his spot-kick saved brilliantly low down by Agius who also blocked Nat Watson’s follow up.

Troke was then denied by Agius again, this time with a 25-yard power drive which was pushed wide for a corner, Agius then denying Watson’s flick from the flag kick.

Watson then saw a low effort go wide as Ilkeston continued to turn the screw, while at the other end Arber was denied by Durrant with a deflected effort.

The second goal finally came on 61 minutes and it was Ilkeston’s top scorer who got it, Zak Goodson heading a cross from the left against the bar but the ball dropped back on Goodson’s head and this time the net bulged from a couple of yards out.

Goodson volleyed just wide on 75 minutes as the Robins now looked unlikely to squander the points, but the Robins’ top scorer wouldn’t be denied moments later as Thomas’s cross was nodded down by sub Mason Lee and Goodson had a tap in from six yards out.

Six minutes later came the fourth, Lee again playing a part as this time his pull back found Troke who finished low into the corner of the net.

Troke was then in on goal for his hat-trick but Agius saved well, before the hosts pulled a bizarre goal back as Durrant’s clearance hit attacker Cian Barnsley, the ball looped up and came down off the crossbar and Barnsley beat Durrant to the rebound to net on 86 minutes.

Thomas saw an effort tipped wide by Agius in response and Goodson put a great chance for his hat-trick over the bar in stoppage time, before with the last kick of the game Reid broke forward and drilled low into the corner from 25 yards out to round off the win in style.

Market Drayton: Agius, Hughes, Price, J O'Reilly, Hill (Davies 71), Sims, Green-Birch, Hands, Arber (Griffiths 78), Leyland (Barnsley 80), M O'Reilly.

Not used: Graybrook

Goal: Barnsley 86

Ilkeston: Durrant, Marzano (Wilson 36), Tait, Thomas, Maguire, Fenton, Goodson, Cullingworth (Bertram 78), Troke, Watson (Lee 61), Reid.

Not used: Render, Bennett

Goals: Troke 12, 82, Goodson 61, 76, Reid 90

By Mark Duffy