Northern Premier League Midlands – Saturday, 23rd October 2021
Halesowen Town 0 Ilkeston Town 1
Ilkeston ended Halesowen’s unbeaten league record despite being reduced to ten men for most of the second half in a hard-fought top of the table clash, writes David Johnson.
The Robins enjoyed the better of the first half as Halesowen struggled to hold possession or find their passes with consistency in a victory that provided revenge for Ilkeston’s FA Cup exit at the Grove last month.
Ilkeston started brightly and as early as the third minute Danny Coogan’s poor back pass on his Yeltz debut failed to reach goalkeeper Dan Platt, allowing Remaye Campbell to cut the ball back to Charlie Wakefield, but home captain Paul McCone retreated to clear off the line. Adam Chapman then shot at Platt a minute later and an 8th minute free-kick from Wakefield caused further danger.
The Robins took a deserved 8th minute lead when Chris Lait lost out in his own penalty area allowing Zak GOODSON to lash home the winning goal.
As Halesowen eventually featured, Richard Gregory set up Harry White to side-foot wide in the 11th minute. But Ilkeston continued to cause the greater danger and Alex Troke blasted a good 20th minute chance over the bar after Calum Flanagan was this time guilty of losing out.
Lait volleyed high after 26 minutes and after a couple of bookings for the visitors, Jordan Goddard played the ball into White in the area but goalkeeper Ross Durrant went down smartly to save after 37 minutes. Lait then worked down the left but his 41st minute ball along goal was cleared.
The Yeltz ended the half with their defence again under stress and Wakefield went close to doubling their lead when he struck the bar with a superb effort.
Halesowen made a somewhat better start to the second period and substitute Jack Holmes curled just wide after pressure on the edge of the Ilkeston penalty area. The hosts were then given hope when Ilkeston goalkeeper Durrant was sent off after bringing down Kyle Finn as he mis-controlled a long ball. But White could only strike the resulting free-kick straight at replacement goalkeeper Bradley Foster and Halesowen barely troubled Foster from that point on for the remainder of the game as the Robins defended their lead well and restricted the hosts.
On the break Ilkeston substitute James Carvell fired over the bar in the 87th minute. The Ilkeston goal remained little tested although White put the ball wide from substitute Robbie Bunn’s cross as the game entered injury time. In the seventh minute of added time substitute Simeon Cobourne was fouled on the edge of the penalty area but Goddard hit the resulting free-kick into the defensive wall.
Halesowen remain top of the table but the defeat provides a stark warning of the stiff opposition from the competitive top-five clubs.
Halesowen Town: Dan Platt; Danny Coogan (Robbie Bunn 79), Brett Lloyd, Josh Hawker, Paul McCone (c), Calum Flanagan, Kyle Finn, Jordan Goddard, Harry White, Richard Gregory (Jack Holmes 46), Chris Lait (Simeon Cobourne 68). Subs Not Used: Dan Brookes, Toby Scott.
Ilkeston Town: Ross Durrant; Tom Williams, Mitchell Tait, Charlie Wakefield, Joe Maguire, Kieran Fenton (c), Zak Goodson, Adam Chapman (Bradley Foster 59), Remaye Campbell (Patrick Webb 88), Alex Troke (James Carvell 79), Jared Bird. Subs Not Used: Ollie Brown-Hill, Rashaan Frances.
Referee: Harry Tarrant Attendance: 932
Booked: Chapman (30), Campbell (33), Goodson (72), Coogan (77)
Sent Off: Durrant (58)
‘Tulleys Print’ HTFC Man of the Match selected by Cillian Baker: Jack Holmes