Ilkeston Town 4 Dynamo 1
By Shepshed Newsdesk
Wonderful Walker helps Town down Dynamo
By Lucas Monk
Jamie Walker struck a hat-trick as an under-strength Shepshed Dynamo suffered a heavy defeat to Ilkeston Town at the New Manor Ground.
Walker struck once in the first period and twice in the second to all but end Dynamo’s hopes of claiming the Midland Football League title. Kyle Dixon netted the other Ilkeston goal.
Damion Beckford-Quailey’s side are now 11 points off the pace with just six matches to go until the end of the campaign.
They have also slipped to fifth in the table following Sporting Khalsa’s 1-1 draw at home to Coventry Sphinx.
Shepshed, who were without Karl Whymark and regular left-back Chris Acott, got off to a most inauspicious start.
Unchallenged, Walker burst through on goal and crashed a right-footed shot into the top corner on eight minutes.
Dynamo attempted to respond, with Jake Betts heading Liam Hurst’s free kick over the bar.
But it was the hosts who applied a greater deal of attacking pressure as they sought a second goal.
Elliott Reeves had a shot blocked before Reece Fyfe drew a low save from visiting ‘keeper Brandon Ganley on the stroke of half time.
Shepshed’s best opening of the half came shortly thereafter. Pearson Mwanyongo drew a good save from Town stopper Liam Mitchell at the near post in what was the last action of note before the break.
After the interval, Dynamo started the second half in superb fashion, and pulled level with just four minutes of it gone.
Jordan Wilson raced onto Hurst’s chipped pass and fired a low shot past Mitchell and into the net. That was the striker’s fourth goal in three matches. It sparked joyous celebrations from the travelling supporters. Their side, it seemed, had finessed for themselves a foothold in the match.
But as was the case in the first period, parity was short-lived.
Two minutes after Wilson had clawed them back into the match, Shepshed were behind again.
Dixon was left all alone at the far post, and he had no qualms about punishing more sloppy defending from the visitors. He took a touch and blasted the ball high into the roof of the net and, with that, Ilkeston were on their way to a comfortable victory.
But not before two moments of controversy. Matt Melbourne went down in the box under a challenge from Tom Marshall. Mitchell appeared to handle the ball outside of his area. Dynamo’s desperate pleas fell on deaf ears in both instances.
Mitchell then added insult to injury by producing a good save to keep out Sam Moore’s low strike after good Shepshed build up on the edge of the penalty area in the 63rd minute.
Thereafter, Ilkeston took control of proceedings once more. Ganley had to be at full stretch to deny Walker from outside the box, before the latter made the points safe in the 70th minute.
From distance, Walker arrowed a sumptuous shot toward goal that arched into the top corner, giving Ganley no chance.
That made the points safe for Town, but not before Walker completed his hat-trick and compounded Dynamo’s misery in added time.
He latched onto a long punt forward and rolled the ball under Ganley and into the net to make it 4-1.
This was a chiefly feeble showing from Shepshed, but they faced a tall order. Having to take on the league leaders away from home without two of their most influential players - Whymark and Acott - was particularly difficult. Ilkeston demonstrated their class by being composed in possession and building attacks patiently from the back, and the final score reflected their quality.
That score means that, in effect, Dynamo’s season is competitively over. There are just six matches remaining, and they would require a miracle if they were to overturn Ilkeston’s newly established lead of 11 points. The Robins will now look to fight off second-placed Walsall Wood and claim the title and a second successive promotion.
But Beckford-Quailey and his side still have an incentive to perform in their remaining fixtures. Shepshed have made considerable progress on the pitch this season, and it would be fitting if that were to be borne out in a strong finish to the campaign starting with their next match, which sees them host Westfields on the 23rd of the month.
Shepshed: Ganley, Doy (Patrocinio 79’), Pheasant, Wakeling (Phillips 33’), Betts, Mwanyongo, Hurst, Prenderville, Moore (Thomas 71’), Melbourne, Wilson.
Unused substitutes: Hill, Conteh.
Ilkeston: Mitchell, White, Bennett, Wheatley (Smith 71’), T Marshall, Meikle, Fyfe, Hollis, Reeves (A Marshall 75’), Dixon (Piliero 79’), Walker.
Unused substitutes: Baker, Shaw.