Ilkeston FC 1 Stamford 2
IN the aftermath of Simon Clark’s resignation it was easy to forget just how well his side had played to beat Ilkeston.
Stamford faced their toughest test of the season in front of a 664-strong crowd at the league leaders but the Daniels were full of confidence after a six-match unbeaten run.
Ilkeston made it clear from the start that they would seek to get the ball forward quickly to strikers Gary Ricketts and Darryl Thomas. Posh loanee Alex Archer had to be quick to come out of his area to clear the ball with his knee to thwart one early attack.
With 16 minutes gone Stamford took the lead and it started with a quick ball from Lee Beeson. Sam Mullarkey did well to win the ball before driving into the area and shooting into the far corner.
Ilkeston lifted their game in the second half but, despite all their possession, the Stamford defence stood firm.
Ilkeston made changes, bringing on Andrew Osei-Siribour who provided a wide alternative to the long ball route and gave Archer his first test of the half with a shot from distance which he did well to hold.
From then on the young keeper put in a virtuoso performance pulling of several magnificent saves, brilliantly tipping away a Rickets header that looked destined for the top corner.
But with 72 minutes gone, Stamford doubled their lead. Beeson pulled away from a defender and drove his shot into the near corner of the goal from 20 yards.
Rickets gave Archer no chance when he pulled a goal back, taking on the teenage keeper and tormenting him until he had to commit himself and then calmly sliding the ball home.
As Ilkeston piled on the pressure, Michael Jacklin cleared a corner off the line amd Archer five minutes into stoppage time Archer stretched to turn Caskey’s shot over the bar for a superb Stamford win.
Stamford: Alex Archer, Matt Cook, Adam Hewitt, David Staff, Miles Chamberlain, Michael Jacklin, Lee Beeson, Danny Steadman (Robbie Maddox 78), Gary King, Sam Mullarkey (Danny Brooks 83), Jake Gibson (Harry Deane 65). Sub not used: Seth Burkett. MOM: Alex Archer.