GOALS from Jack Watts and Gary Ricketts sealed all three points for Ilkeston FC at Hucknall on Boxing Day.
Evo-Stik Division One South
HUCKNALL TOWN 0
ILKESTON FC 2
Jack Watts 42
Gary Ricketts 68
by Mark Duffy
Whatever delights Kevin Wilson may have unwrapped or consumed on Christmas Day, none would have been as satisfying as the three points gained at his former club Hucknall some 24 hours later.
The Robins boss was happy after a largely dominant display on a pudding of a pitch at Watnall Road, as goals in each half from Jack Watts, his fourth in as many games, and Gary Ricketts, also returning to his old stomping ground, did the damage.
On paper this was a tricky one with Hucknall having a good season and Ilkeston needing a win after a couple of games without one.
The reality was that despite a few scares in the first-half, this proved a comfortable victory for the visitors.
Hucknall had the first effort of note just 90 seconds in, Corey Gregory turning on the edge of the area but seeing his weak shot easily gathered by debutant keeper Dan Lowson.
Gregory was too high with a volley from 25 yards out six minutes later and strike partner Grant Ryan then sent an effort wide as the hosts continued their bright start to the game.
Dan Partridge then got lucky when after completely missing the ball on the edge of the penalty area, Ryan was unable to capitalise as his shot was blocked.
Ryan Wilson had Ilkeston’s first major effort on 14, his volley from distance deflected over the top by Hucknall defender Aaron Mitchell, and James Reid suffered a similar fate six minutes later as his shot went wide off the heels of a Town defender.
Yellows keeper Ben White was then called into action in a big way on 24, when Ricketts pulled the ball back to Tyrell Waite on the edge of the penalty area and his powerful strike was well tipped over the bar.
Anthony Gregory then had Lowson scampering to cover his post with a shot from 25 yards minutes later, but after something of a lull in proceedings it was the Robins who were to eventually break the deadlock three minutes before the break.
Seconds after Joe Maguire had seen a header crash back off the crossbar from a Reid cross, the Ilkeston winger put in another fine ball which Watts got to ahead of White and he headed the ball into the net for his fourth goal in as many games since signing from Frickley to leave the Robins in front at the break.
Hucknall lost Mitchell with a serious-looking injury early in the second-half, the former Ilkeston loanee prostrate on the ground for several minutes before being stretchered off and taken to hospital by ambulance.
Maguire and Waite both had efforts drop wide, but it was 68 minutes in before the second goal would arrive.
James Cullingworth found space on the right to put in a low cross which Ricketts guided home on the half volley.
Reid, Ricketts and sub Andrew Osei-Siribour had further chances to seal the game late on, while at the other end Lowson’s only major tasks of note were to gather a low shot from Ryan and watch another from Phil Massingham dribble harmlessly wide.
But the three points were safe and the Robins players could now enjoy their Christmas fully before preparing for next Monday’s all-Derbyshire clash with Belper at the New Manor Ground.
Ilkeston: 1 Dan Lowson 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Joe Maguire 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (c) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts (Joe Wilcox 90+3) 10 Tyrell Waite (Andrew Osei-Siribour 68) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Darren Caskey, Adam Colton, Russell Peel
Ref: S Meredith
Star Robin: James Reid