Ilkeston Town 3 (Gibson 56, 64, 78)
Boston United 2 (Obiero 59, Gordon 61)
By Mark Duffy
Montel Gibson struck another hat-trick as we recorded an impressive win over National League North side Boston United on Tuesday night.
In a game of two contrasting halves, all the goals came in the second and four of them in the space of eight minutes as both sides enjoyed an energetic run-out in the closing stages of their pre-season campaigns.
And it was the Robins who prevailed thanks to Gibson’s superb finishing on the night.
We began well and Gibson saw a shot saved by Boston’s goalkeeper, known only as ‘Trialist A’, in the opening few seconds, the next chance coming on ten minutes when Chris O’Grady also shot straight at the United stopper who then got down low to deny the same player seconds later.
We lost Jamie Ward injured midway through the first-half, Zak Goodson replacing him, Boston’s ‘Trialist B’ with the next opening as he cut inside and fired a shot straight at Tomasz Bukowski in the Ilkeston goal.
Shaun Pollock then shot wide from distance for the Pilgrims but the half drew to a close with the game goalless.
The second-half began fairly slowly but was brought to life by a stunning goal on 56 minutes.
Gibson found some space 30 yards out and without much hesitation let fly with a superbly hit effort that found the top corner of the net.
But Boston were level four minutes later when Micah Obiero received the ball in the penalty area and was able to fire low into the corner past Bukowski.
Within a further two minutes the visitors then led, as a ball over the top found Jaanai Gordon and he lobbed Bukowski in style to complete a quick turnaround.
But we then levelled with the fourth goal in eight minutes, as O’Grady’s deep cross found Gibson at the back post and he beat the goalkeeper with a header.
The game was far more watchable now and Ward, fit enough to return to the fray after his early injury, forced a save low down on 73 minutes just after his reappearance.
United nearly regained the lead when Jordon Crawford cut inside and thundered an effort off the underside of the crossbar before heading the rebound straight at Bukowski.
And it was us who would then score next, with the in-form Gibson running on to a knock down and finishing well to complete his second hat-trick of pre-season.
We kept coming and Ward drilled an effort just past the post from distance on 81, Charlie Wakefield even closer moments later with a 25-yarder which struck the crossbar.
Remaye Campbell also went close late on but saw his shot saved, the game ending moments later to give us a morale-boosting win.
Ilkeston: Bukowski (Trialist B), J Thomas (Hilton 71), Brown-Hill, Bradley, K Thomas (Troke 71), Fenton, Ward (Goodson 26), Bird (Ward 71), O’Grady (Campbell 71), Gibson, Wakefield
Boston: Trialist A, Brown (Trialist D 46), Platt, Mbeka, S Pollock (Gordon 46), Ferguson, B Pollock, Solanke, Obiero, Trialist B (Crawford 46), Trialist C (Shiels 46).