By Lucas Monk
Damion Beckford-Quailey’s side are eight points behind the Robins in the Midland Football League table, but will cut this margin to five if they claim a vital three points at the New Manor Ground.
Dynamo showed a great deal of spirit in their last outing. They twice trailed away to in-form Long Eaton United, and twice equalised through Jordan Wilson despite the sending off of Beckford-Quailey in the second half. The result means that they head into this game having not lost in any of their last three. This will doubtless give them confidence ahead of what is their most momentous match of the season.
Ilkeston suffered the ignominy of defeat in their most recent fixture. Lee Fowler’s side travelled to mid-table Lye Town hoping to extend their lead at the top of the table. Instead, Nick Turton’s first-half strike handed the Flyers a filip for the rest of the campaign. The Robins have now not won in any of their last six away matches.
But for all their struggles on the road, the Derbyshire outfit’s imperious home form has preserved their place at the top of the league. They have won an impressive 18 of their 21 games at the New Manor Ground this season and netted 65 goals. Furthermore, they have won each of their last six matches on home soil.
When the sides met in the reverse fixture back in August 2018, Ilkeston ran out 3-2 winners. Elliott Reeves, Jamie Walker and Lavelle White struck for the visitors, with Karl Whymark and Jake Betts on target for Dynamo.
If that meeting is anything to go by, this one should be equally close-fought.
Shepshed, however, will be without the influential Whymark due to suspension, and suffered a further blow in midweek with the departure of Dexter Morris-Clarke, who rejoined Gresley having failed to establish himself as a first-team regular at The Dovecote. They will look to Wilson and fellow striker Matt Melbourne to fire them to a 10th away win of the season.
Ilkeston will hope that their top scorer, Elliott Reeves, can help them to a win as they try to extend their lead at the top of the division. At the other end, Chris Shaw’s vast experience will be crucial if they are to keep Dynamo out.
Updated 20:29 - 8 Mar 2019 by Shepshed Newsdesk