Ilkeston Town 3 Harriers 5
Venue: New Manor Ground
away fans: 75 approx
Goal spree gets the Harriers through
The Harriers went through to the next round of the FA Trophy at Ilkeston tonight but not without a few scares on the way. Defences were not at the best for either side and after taking a 2-0 lead with two goals in two minutes from Justin Richards and Brian Smikle the rest of the night became a 'we score, you score' type of game.
Martin Riley made it to the starting eleven despite his groin injury following the Coventry game but there was another surprise with Matt Barnes-Homer rested to the bench and Stefan Moore making an overdue start. For the hosts the former Harrier, Lee Thompson, was on the bench.
Ilkeston started the stronger on a very spongy pitch but it wasn't long before the Harrier had their first chance on goal when Russ Penn forced a save out of Chris Adamson following a corner. A few minutes later Justin did just that when he turned defender David Haggerty and then chipped the ball over the keeper.
Two minutes later and we took what should have been a commanding lead when Brian Smikle added a second goal following an exchange of passes between himself and Richards to send the ball into the roof of the net from just outside the area.
The lead was soon narrowed though when seven minutes later Tom Cahill ran between our hesitant defenders onto Sam Duncum's cross and put the ball past Adam Bartlett.
The goal seemed to wake the Reds up once more and we started to take more control over the game with Martin Brittain finding more space than he has in recent weeks and putting some fine crosses over. From one Keith Lowe came close to scoring but was just about beaten to the ball by a Town defender.
Moore and Richards were both starting to build up an understanding between each other and they both came close to scoring after supplying each other with crucial passes. Richards shot was only just off target and Moore's was easily saved by the keeper. Mark Creighton also got in on the act too with a header that went just past the post as half time approached.
The half ended with the Harriers just about in front but the hosts weren't letting us have it all our own way and were determined to make a game of it.
HT: 1 - 2
Again Ilkeston came out the stronger but it didn't take too long for Martin Brittain to settle the visiting fans nerves by producing a stunning strike to give us a two goal advantage again and make it 3-1. His curling free kick left the Town keeper stationary as it swooped past him into the bottom corner of the net.
The difference didn't last long though because within ten minutes Marc Newsham had narrowed the scoreline once more when he left our pace-less defence standing to fire one off beyond the reach of Bartlett.
The goal gave the hosts renewed faith and again they set siege to the Harriers goal. The impressive Sam Duncum swept past Creighton and co once more to force a corner for Creighton to redeem himself by heading the ball back up field to safety.
In the 68th minute the Harriers increased the lead once more through Russ Penn. Again Moore and Richards were the creators when they swept through the Town defence to hand Penn the opportunity to grab our fourth goal of the night and one that should have been the final nail in the Unibond sides Trophy hopes.
With the Harriers now in, hopefully, the home straight to victory Mark Yates made a double substitution and took off Justin Richards and Martin Brittain for Matt Barnes-Homer and David McDermott. Ilkeston responded by doing the same and took off Marc Newsham and Sam Duncum for Jon Douglas and Anthony Howell.
The change worked for one team but not the other because once more Ilkeston closed the gap on us. This time Cahill got his second goal of the night when he latched onto Paul Hurst's cross to put the ball past Bartlett once more.
A nail biting climax to the game was now coming up and would the Harriers manage to hold onto the slender lead or would Ilkeston draw level and take us to a replay back at Aggborough? There was no need for us to worry though because with seven minutes of the game left Stefan Moore crowned a fine night for himself by finally finishing the game off.
He ran through the host defence and let fly with a shot that beat Adamson ends up to score our fifth goal of the night and the one that earns us a tie at home to York City in the next round.