Ilkeston FC secure battling draw at Mickleover Sports

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Ilkeston FC held out for a hard-fought 1-1 draw at local rivals Mickleover Sports in a feisty Boxing Day encounter.

With at least 100 Ilkeston fans making the short trip, it made for a glorious atmosphere and, once again wonderful travelling support for the Robins.

The game started in feisty fashion, with challenges flying in but all were fairly contested.

Mickleover aimed to get in behind Ilkeston through the wings.

The Robins operated with Dan Udoh and Lee Ndlovu up top, Mike Williams sat just in behin, while JJ Blake and Joe Doyle were in the holding roles.

Ilkeston started the game well as high pressure on the Mickleover back-line caused early issues.

Olly Luto’s cross wasn’t held by the host’s goalkeeper and Ndlovu nearly pounced, but a corner was given.

And, from the resulting corner, Ilkeston took the lead.

Blake’s delivery found Doyle who lashed the ball back into the box for Matt Baker to tap home.

Ilkeston built on the lead and were passing the ball around nicely, with Ndlovu and Udoh causing problems and looking to get in behind again.

But, against the run of play, Mickleover equalised. A great run into the box saw a devilish cross delivered and Green was on hand to tap home from a few yards out.

The goal evidently lifted the hosts who began to find their passes and were intricate in their build up.

Ilkeston had lacked penetration and were struggling to make in-roads into the box.

The game had developed into a tactical battle with both sides defence’s on top towards the interval.

The Robins nearly took the lead just before half-time when Udoh raced clear of the defence, but his shot inside the box rose too high and went over the bar.

The second half presented limited chances for both sides and Mickleover started well with several efforts going just the wrong side of the post.

Ilkeston had to soak up large amounts of pressure, with Burgess and Baker evidently two rocks in the Robins back-line.

Mike Williams nearly gave Ilkeston the lead but his effort lacked power inside the box after Doyle’s excellent run and cross.

Mickleover pressed in response, but several corners were comfortably cleared by the Robins.

The end of the game saw a flurry of attempted shots on goal but both sides held out and perhaps Mickleover will be more disappointed come the final whistle with the hosts having the majority of the second half but they lacked a clinical edge as Ilkeston survived to claim a point.

Next up for Ilkeston FC is another local derby, with the visit of Matlock Town to the New Manor Ground on Monday afternoon. Kick off 3pm.

Ilkeston FC Starting XI: Evandro Rachoni, Danny Gordon, Olly Luto, Jordan Wheatley, Matt Baker, Joe Burgess(c), Joe Doyle, JJ Blake, Daniel Udoh (Eli Bako 77), Mike Williams (Lewis Walker 66), Lee Ndlovu.

Subs not used: Liam Marshall, Haydn Goddard, Rhys Dolan.