Match report: Tulips 1, Ilkeston Town 0
Teenage Lincoln City scholar Gianluca Bucci was on target to secure victory for the Tulips at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
The 17-year-old loanee slotted in the only goal of another match which saw the Tulips turn in a fully committed and disciplined performance to beat off a huge challenge by visiting Ilkeston for valuable BetVictor NPL South East Division points.
The three points took the Tulips above the total they achieved for the whole of last season, and took them another step nearer to a play-off position.
In difficult windy conditions, which the Tulips had full in their faces for the first half, the visitors, with former Tulip striker Kieran Wells at the centre of things, dominated with a constant flow of attacking moves. After just eight minutes Wells forced a super fingertip save from ‘keeper Alex Smith.
Shortly afterwards Owen Betts, playing his final game for the Tulips before returning to parent club Notts County, scrambled the ball clear from the line as The Robins’ assault continued.
But the Tulips dug in deep and mid-way through the half were only inches away from grabbing the lead with James Hugo’s shot following an assist by the energetic Elliott Burrell flashing across the Ilkeston goal.
The deadlock was broken, albeit against the overall run of play, in the 35th minute. A free kick was won just outside the Ilkeston penalty area and young Bucci stepped up to take the kick. The ball as heading for the target but took a huge deflection from a defender, turning it past the wrong-footed Ross Durrant into the net.
Early in the second half Bucci blazed the ball over the target and now, with the blustery conditions in their favour, the Tulips began to seize a greater amount of the play. Inspirational skipper Lewis Brownhill threaded the ball down the left side to put Kevin Bastos on a run for goal. Only a superb block by Durrant denied him and the Tulips a second goal.
Jack Smith curled the ball wide from a good position and Brownhill also went close after connecting with a clever through pass from Kegan Everington.
Team: Smith, Betts, Hugo, Bucci, Greenwood, Yeomans, Bastos, Everington, Smith (Rettie 84 mins), Brownhill, Burrell(Ramsden 76 mins).
MoM Greenwood. Att: 182