Dave Challinor reckons Hartlepool United could have a star for the future in Joe Grey, after the youngster capped a fine debut to help the National League side progress in the FA Cup in this eye-catching encounter.
A goal and an assist from the 17-year-old saw the visitors race into an early two-goal lead, Lee Molyneux opening the scoring two minutes before Grey got his. Tom Crawford added a third before the break.
Mason Bloomfield and David Parkhouse added more with Gavan Holohan rounding things off in style late on.
“He’s deserved his opportunity and he couldn’t have got off to a much better start, hopefully it’ll be a debut he can remember and one he can look back on fondly,” Challinor said of youngster Grey, who signed pro terms in the summer.
“You have to cherish them moments, there can be lots of disappointing days through a football career so to start like that will do him the world of good. He plays with a youthful exuberance; he’s got lots to learn which he knows – and he wants to improve and wants to get better.
“It was a tricky tie. The BBC don’t turn up for no reason, they sniffed a possible upset. It’s an occasion where we came in as favourites and we had to embrace that and how you start the game is really important and we were two up within the first eight minutes.
“It really gave them a mountain to climb and put them on the back foot, it can also take the crowd out of the game too but in fairness they kept going because the game was open. There was endless chances and it would have been a good watch for any neutral.”
Things got off to a perfect start for the away side after Grey slipped a ball through the Robins’ defence to Molyneux who delicately dinked over Durrant.
The Pools doubled their lead two minutes later. David Ferguson found acres of space on the left side before firing across goal to find Grey who converted from close in.
Ilkeston’s hero from the last round Ollie Brown-Hill lifted a shot over the bar as the home side battled to make their mark on the game.
From an Ilkeston throw-in, the Pools were devastating on the break with six streaming forward, Bloomfield squaring for Crawford to make it three with 22 minutes on the clock.
Zak Goodson then went close for the Robins, cutting in from the left but he dragged his shot just wide of the upright.
Alex Troke robbed Gary Liddle just inside the opposing half but couldn’t test Ravas in the Pools goal, his low drive striking the post and going behind.
Hartlepool were then denied by the woodwork twice in as many minutes. Mason Bloomfield hitting the post. Nicky Featherstone then nicking the bar with his effort.
Troke went close again with a header, but the post denied him for a second time.
Ilkeston were making the game more of a contest after the interval. Goodson cut inside from the left, but the winger’s shot could only sting the palms of Ravas.
Bloomfield had to be patient but eventually got a goal for the visitors after 68 minutes. Substitute Josh MacDonald found enough time in the box to pick out Bloomfield who was left with an easy finish.
As the game wore on, Ilkeston continued to press for a consolation. But Hartlepool put the game beyond definitive doubt with seven minutes left. A break from a free-kick left the Pools three against one – MacDonald slipped in Parkhouse who finished well off the upright.
Holohan had time left to add a brilliant sixth, jinking his way away from three defenders before unleashing an unstoppable strike from range to cap off a good afternoon for the National League highflyers.
Ilkeston Town (4-5-1) Durrant 6, Wilson 6, Bennett 6 (Tait 80’ 5), Thomas 6, Maguire 6, Fenton 6, Goodson 6, Brown-Hill 6 (Bertram 80’ 5), Troke 6, Marzano 6 (Lee 72’ 5), Reid 6 Subs not used Stainsby, Cullingworth, Render, Dill
Hartlepool United (4-2-3-1) Ravas 6, Cass 6, Ferguson 7, Johnson 6 (Odusina HT 6), Liddle 6, Crawford 7, Featherstone 7, Holohan 7, Molyneux 8 (MacDonald 62’ 6), Grey 8 (Parkhouse 72’ 6), Bloomfield 9 Subs not used Killip, Shelton, Donaldson, Ofosu
Referee David Richardson
Entertainment Rating 4/5
Star Man Mason Bloomfield – Hartlepool United