Football: FA Cup - Scunthorpe survive to win day at Palace

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The Independent Online
Ilkeston Town 1

Scunthorpe United 2

Third Division Scunthorpe United, 2-0 up after half an hour, survived a second-half assault by determined opponents from the Dr Martens League last night to earn the right to visit Premiership Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup on 3 January.

Ilkeston had hoped to put the frighteners on their Nationwide League opponents by taking them back to the New Manor Ground, capacity 2,400, for last night's replay, spurning a possible switch to a bigger stadium. In the event, on a bitter night of driving sleet, both sides might have preferred some more substantial windbreaks.

If they were at all intimidated, however, Scunthorpe's anxieties were calmed by a goal in the 11th minute, put away by the former Leeds striker, Jamie Forrester, a one-time partner to Robbie Fowler in the England Under- 18 side. His goal in the first game had forced the replay.

From a free-kick just inside Ilkeston's half, Mark Sertori headed the ball into the path of John Eyre, whose shot goalkeeper Malcolm Rigby could only parry, Forrester following in to score.

It was a moment to rue for Ilkeston's Ian Robinson, who had missed an equally simple chance to put the non-Leaguers ahead after five minutes of an enthusiastic opening.

The Scunthorpe goalkeeper, Tim Clarke, was forced into his first meaningful save to gather a Christian Moore shot at the second attempt, illustrating the difficulty of handling a slippery ball. His gloves were evidently more adhesive than those favoured by Rigby, who paid the price for letting another shot slip from his grasp on the half-hour as Scunthorpe reinforced their advantage.

This time it was a free-kick curled around Ilkeston's wall by left-back Sean McAuley that proved too much, Russ Wilcox squeezing the loose ball home from close range.

The introduction of Paul Eshelby, at pounds 7,000 manager Keith Alexander's most expensive signing for the non-League side, gave Ilkeston a keener edge in the second half, the former Exeter forward twice going close to putting his side back in contention with two testing long-range strikes, both of which had Clarke at full stretch to save.

It seemed fate was destined to be unkind to Ilkeston, who had the ball in the Scunthorpe net on the hour only for Gary Middleton to be ruled offside. However, their hopes were raised with 18 minutes remaining when Moore broke clear through the middle of the Third Division team's defence, rounded goalkeeper Clarke and slid the ball into an unguarded net.

Predictably, this was the cue for Scunthorpe's goal to come under siege but their resolve held firm to deny Ilkeston a capital day out in the third round.

Ilkeston Town (5-3-2): Rigby; Fearon, Middleton, Law, Shaw (Eshelby, 33), Ludlam; Knapper (Simpson, 67), Robinson, Ball; Carmichael, Moore (Huckerby 83). Substitutes not used: Wilson, Thompson.

Scunthorpe United (5-3-2): Clarke; Walsh, Sertori, Wilcox, Walker, McAuley; Hope, D'Auria, Calvo-Garcia (Housham 89); Eyre, Forrester. Substitutes not used: Ormondroyd, Evans, Shakespeare, Neil.

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn).