First-half treble is enough for victory

Daryll Thomas scored his second goal in as many games at New Mills.
Daryll Thomas scored his second goal in as many games at New Mills.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Evo-Stik Division One South

NEW MILLS 0

ILKESTON FC 3

Gary Ricketts 19, 42

Daryll Thomas 45

by Duncan Hibbert

Three first-half goals were sufficient for Ilkeston FC to secure victory over New Mills at Church Lane on Monday evening.

The hosts weren’t allowed to get into their stride early on by a strong and physical Robins side, and it came as no surprise when the visitors took a 19th minute lead, when Daryll Thomas’s cutback from the byline was converted from close range by Gary Ricketts.

This opening goal seemed to spur on the home side and they eventually started to make some headway in the attacking third of the pitch.

Captain Luke Horrocks stung the palms of Ben Gathercole with a long distance shot and then the on-loan Nottingham Forest keeper made an excellent save to deny Carlos Meakin’s stinging low effort.

The game’s outcome though was ultimately decided by the five minutes leading up to the half time interval.

Gathercole started the sequence of events with a stunning save to deny Ashley Stott’s header, somehow clawing away the ball when it looked like it had already gone past him.

The importance of the save became even more apparent when 60 seconds later, Ricketts scored his second goal of the evening when he reacted quickest to a Joe Maguire knockdown from a corner to double Ilkeston’s advantage.

The shell-shocked home side then conceded a third on the stroke of half-time.

Horrocks lost possession following a quick free-kick and within a matter of seconds, Thomas had run into the acres of space afforded to him by the lack of defensive cover to nick the ball around the quickly advancing James Coates and shoot into the unguarded net.

If there was any way back into the game, New Mills needed an early goal in the second half and Meakin could have grabbed a lifeline, but after finding himself with time and space, the midfielder dragged his effort narrowly wide of the far upright.

That could have changed the complexion of the game but as the half progressed, it was clear that Ilkeston’s gameplan was to hold on to what they had.

The Millers did get a couple of further sights of the goal though but again Gathercole was alert enough to smother Stott’s shot with his legs and then on the sole occasion they managed to beat the keeper, Ryan Wilson was on hand to clear Meakin’s header off the line.

Any neutral looking at the scoreline may conclude Ilkeston had won easily and whilst it would be churlish to deny them the victory, there is no doubt that the outstanding performance of Gathercole was a significant factor in them maintaining their position at the summit of the Evo Stik Division One South table.

Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Liam Green 5 Dan Partridge 6 Joe Maguire 7 Joe Wilcox 8 Adam Colton 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas (c) (Tyrell Waite) 11 Russell Peel (Fabian Smith, Ashley Robinson) Subs not used: Laurence Zisaruk-Gibson, Aaron Butcher (GK) Att: 161

Star Man: Ben Gathercole