Alfreton Town progressed into the final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night as they overcame Ilkeston Town 2-0 at the Impact Arena.
In a match played on a carpet of snow but on a pitch which had been well protected by covers in the run-up to the game, neither side was able to produce anything too pretty in terms of football but to Ilkeston’s credit they didn’t look to be a team that plies its trade four levels below their hosts.
Sub Brendon Daniels proved the difference with two second-half goals, but Ilkeston could hold their heads high after a battling display.
Both sides took a while to settle on the snowy pitch, Andre Johnson driving wide for the hosts nine minutes in after Craig Westcarr had seen two shots blocked by the Robins defence.
At the other end, Jamie Walker cut inside but with his weaker right foot was high and wide when getting a shot in.
It took until 27 minutes for the next clear chance, Alfreton counter-attacking and Chris Sharp forcing a good save out of Jamie Hannis before Ilkeston cleared.
The half-time break arrived with neither side able to break the other down, and there certainly not looking the four levels between them that there are.
The hosts began the second-half well and Westcarr forced Hannis to tip his powerful strike from the edge of the area over the bar three minutes in.
Ilkeston weren’t creating too many threats although Alex Marshall headed Walker’s cross straight at Tobias Johansson just after the hour mark.
The lead finally came for the hosts on 68 minutes. Daniels had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes when he was fouled 25 yards from goal. Daniels picked himself up and placed a fine free-kick wide of Hannis and into the corner of the net.
Tom Marshall arrowed a long range strike just over the top moments later as the Robins responded well, but the game was effectively ended as a contest on 71 minutes.
Westcarr battled into the box and a tackle inadvertently found Daniels six yards out who, unmarked, was able to slot the ball home.
Alex Marshall missed a great chance to pull a goal back with eight to go, receiving the ball from Montel Gibson, cutting back but shooting wide when a goal looked more likely.
Ryan Jennings headed Westcarr’s cross wide with five minutes left and Westcarr’s free-kick forced Hannis to push it wide, and at the other end Walker drove low at Johanssen after creating space, but the game then petered out and the hosts were through to face Chesterfield in the final.
Alfreton: 1 Tobias Johansson, 2 Tom Allan, 3 Bradley Wood ©, 4 Kegan Everington, 5 Sam Topliss, 6 Lee Beevers, 7 Ryan Jennings, 8 Tom Platt (James Baxendale 71), 9 Chris Sharp (Marcus Marshall 83), 10 Craig Westcarr, 11 Andre Johnson (Brendon Daniels 56)
Subs not used: Craig Disley
Ilkeston: 1 Jamie Hannis, 2 Lavell White (Ben Morris 66), 3 Jamie Walker, 4 Chris Shaw ©, 5 Charlie Jemson, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Martin Lench (Ben Fairclough 60), 8 Jordan Wheatley, 9 Alex Marshall, 10 Tim Hopkinson (Montel Gibson 76), 11 Billy Bennett
Subs not used: Ian Deakin, Elliot Hodgett-Young
Star Robin: Jamie Hannis
Star Red: Brendon Daniels