ILKESTON recovered from going a goal down inside two minutes as they beat Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.
Evo-Stik Division One South
ILKESTON FC 2
Jack Watts 5
Daryll Thomas 50
SUTTON COLDFIELD 1
Ben Lund 2
by Mark Duffy
THE Robins again made hard work of the job in hand but three points was the ultimate reward for overcoming Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.
It needed Ilkeston to come from behind to achieve, but at this stage of the season it matters not how the points are won, but that they are won at all.
And with Grantham dropping points in their away game at Newcastle Town, it also meant a little more pressure was applied on the league leaders as they look to cement the title.
Sutton Coldfield were in front inside 80 seconds and it was a ridiculous goal.
A long ball forward saw Russell Cooke and James Cullingworth hesitate in clearing, and when Cooke eventually decided to knock it back to Ben Gathercole he instead put it past him but it wasn’t heading straight for goal.
There was still some work for the onrushing Ben Lund to do and somehow he slid in and squeezed the ball home from right on the byline about two yards from the post.
The equaliser didn’t take long to arrive. Just four minutes later Cullingworth crossed from the right and Jack Watts eventually got hold of the ball and turned to fire past keeper Niall Cooper from ten yards out.
His mum, Angela, sat in the Clocktower Stand, immediately claimed that as an early Mother’s Day present.
Gary Ricketts sent a looping header just too high on 12 minutes as the Robins sought to ‘start again’ after their terrible opening, while at the other end Lee Parsons hooked a weak shot just wide after a long throw wasn’t dealt with well by the defence.
Ben Bailey then flicked a header wide from Lund’s free-kick and Scott Rickards was just past the post from distance for the visitors, while Chris Gumery also tested Gathercole from outside the box but his tame shot was easily held.
The visitors then had a goal disallowed as Zac Costello arrived at the back post to meet a free-kick, and although the ball went over the line via post and Gathercole, an offside flag saved Ilkeston this time around.
Watts and Ricketts both saw goalbound shots blocked by defenders just before the break as Ilkeston looked to get the edge in a poor game, while Jon Jones sent a dipping volley just over the top for Sutton on 44.
Having taken five minutes of the first-half to score the Robins then took just five minutes of the second to do the same.
A ball into the box found Daryll Thomas who saw off the attention of two defenders before finishing well past Cooper to put his side in front for the first time.
Ricketts then headed an excellent Laurie Wilson cross straight at Cooper on 55, before Thomas missed a guilt-edged chance for a third.
A long ball was made a mess of by Costello and Luke Chapman leaving Thomas one-on-one with Cooper and with enough time to sit down, have a cup of tea and read the paper before shooting, but when he finally did the visiting keeper was equal to it and blocked with his legs for a corner.
Duncum was next to burst through but was denied several bites at the cherry by defender and finally goalkeeper as the ball again went for a corner from which Laurie Wilson drilled another shot past the post via a defender.
A rare foray from the visitors then saw Rickards shoot straight at Gathercole from outside the box, and six minutes from time Jones tried from distance too but the effort went well over.
Ricketts saw a header from a corner blocked on the line as the game entered injury-time, but the whistle soon went and the points were safe.
Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (c) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas 11 Sam Duncum (Will McCall 86) Subs not used: Joe Wilcox, Joe Maguire, Tyrell Waite, James Reid
Att: 462 Ref: Duncan Street