Marcuss Harness’s stunning free kick saved a point against Sutton Coldfield Town as Ilkeston were denied three points in a thrilling draw.
Ilkeston began the game with the confidence we’d expect after three straight wins. Jonathon Edwards partnered Danny Udoh in attack and it was Edwards who created the first opening, firing wide from 25 yards.
The opening exchanges were dominated by the Robins, who switched the play numerous times, making the visitors close down quickly to nullify the space.
Udoh almost opened the scoring, the powerful striker held off Forde inside the box, before firing straight at Wren in the Sutton Coldfield goal. Charlie Coulson also mustered an effort but the ball fell harmlessly wide of the bottom corner.
However after 15 minutes, the Robins created their best move, Marcus Harness found Edwards who returned the ball back to Harness. Harness played a teasing square ball into the box but Forde arrived before the lurking Udoh, to clear.
Sutton Coldfield nearly opened the scoring against the run of play. A controversial corner was awarded and O’Callaghan climbed high to head over Rachoni’s bar.
Ilkeston continued to carve out openings, Coulson found Edwards who produced a sharp swivel on the edge of the box, but his shot lacked venom and was straight at Wren.
Rachoni’s goal soon became a bright beacon for Sutton Coldfield towards the end of the first half. Rachoni did well to palm away Trainer’s looping effort, then Sam Bell out-paced Matt Baker after a long ball forward and sent a shot just wide of Rachoni’s near post.
The visitors grew in confidence and suddenly looked more likely to score. Jackson raced onto another long ball forward, Rachoni failed to come out and claim the ball and Jackson lobbed the ball just over.
However just before half-time, Sutton Coldfield took the lead. Bell raced past Marshall after another long ball forward; but this time Bell slid the ball past Rachoni from a tight angle.
The start of the second period nearly saw the visitors double the advantage. Phillip Trainer controlled the ball well in his stride and hit a sweet volley just wide of the near post.
But just before the hour mark, Ilkeston were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Marcuss Harness stepped up and curled a beautiful effort into the top corner to the eruption of the ecstatic home fans.
The equaliser lifted the Robins, Edwards curled just over the bar and Mike Williams hit a powerful volley straight at Wren. Harness was again influential as his delicious ball in just eluded the late run of Mike Williams at the back post.
Danny Udoh and Mike Williams also came close but both were denied by Sutton Coldfield’s resolute goalkeeper.
Late on, Joe Doyle crossed for Edwards who could only head high and wide, to cap off a dominant second period but the Robins had to settle for just the point this afternoon.
Never the less, Ilkeston extend their unbeaten league run to four games and will look to continue the good run as we travel to Matlock Town on Monday
Ilkeston FC : Rachoni, Doyle, Luto, Gordon (K.Williams 81), Baker, Marshall (c), Harness, M.Williams, Edwards, Udoh, Coulson.
Subs Not Used: Hodgett-Young, Burrows, Print, Hill(GK).
Sutton Coldfield Town: Wren, Bryant, Jackson, Forde, Kettle, Rowley, Gonzales, Trainer, Bell (Leek 73) Leek (Turton 85), O’Callaghan, Fitzpatrick (Nadat 60).
Subs Not Used: Ballinger, Stephens.