SKELMERSDALE United stretched their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division to four points with a first-half performance that secured a comfortable victory over the men from Derbyshire.
The first ever clash between the two sides was witnessed by a healthy 353 crowd at the West Lancashire College Stadium and Tommy Lawson’s team responded to them with a rampant opening.
In the third minute Hughes beat the Ilkeston offside trap and only a sharp interception by goalkeeper Ross Etheridge prevented a goal opportunity from his cross.
In the sixth minute, Ilkeston were punished by Hughes, the wide man was in the centre-circle when he received the ball and set off on a run, after evading one tackle, he slipped past another, forwards Morning and Dean Astbury played their part, making runs that took defenders away from Hughes, reaching the 18 yard line Hughes thundered a powerful drive past Etheridge to make it 1-0.
In the 16th minute a Hughes cross to the far post was met by a Neil Prince volley that went just wide, down the other end Ilkeston did briefly threaten but veteran centre-forward Gary Ricketts didn’t connect with Tyrell Waite’s cross.
Skelmersdale continued to press.
Etheridge had to go full length to his right to keep out a Morning shot then Astbury had another effort blocked.
In the 29th minute Skelmersdale got the breathing space their attacking endeavours surely deserved.
The ball was moved around the middle of the park then rolled back to Tom Hardwick, the Skelmersdale captain looked up and released a 60 yard ball to Astbury, he controlled and set off on goal, as Etheridge came out to meet him he put the ball low and hard into the net behind him.
lSKELMERSDALE UNITED: Hibbert, Strickland, Ince (Holden, 82), Hardwick ©, Wylie, Dunn, Hughes, Burton (Peet, G., 88), Astbury, Morning, Prince Subs (not used) O’Reilly, Greene, Field
l ILKESTON: Etheridge, Alexander, Wilson R. (Richards K., 49), Wilson L. ©, Storey, Baker, Carvalho, Richards M, Ricketts, Waite, Reid Subs (not used) Wright, Chettle, Peet R.
l Referee: Matt Donohoe (Manchester)