The story to be told on this freezing afternoon was one all too common in Ilkeston’s season as they lost 1-0 to Corby Town.
There was lots of effort, a few chances created and some bright and dominant spells, but they lost to the odd goal once again and dropped points against one of the sides battling along with them to stay in the division.
That challenge looks a tough ask for Ilkeston unless substantial changes are made to their squad, a lack of firepower being their main problem but more steel required throughout the team if they’re to fight their way out of the bottom four.
And with some tough games upcoming with which to try and salvage desperately-needed points, those changes must happen as a matter of urgency.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, the rarity of an inspired 11th minute substitution paid dividends for the visitors as it provided the only goal of the game.
Ryan Bell had replaced the injured Steve Kinniburgh early on and within two minutes he was able to profit after Jamie Hannis had parried a Jordan Crawford effort, the ball scrambled in from a couple of yards out with Ben Milnes also challenging to try and score the goal. Arguably, Hannis should have done better with the initial effort.
Crawford then put another curling effort just wide as Corby continued to be the bigger threat, a second nearly coming on 22 minutes when some poor defending allowed Ryan Green to hit the bar and Connor Kennedy to somehow fire into the ground and over the bar from six yards.
Ilkeston finally came to life on the half-hour mark, Dexter Atkinson’s good run down the right seeing him get to the byline and pull back to Luis Rose whose shot was well saved low down by Aidan Grant and the ball was cleared.
Jaylon Bather should then have done better following a corner eight minutes later, the ball nodded down to him ten yards out but the Bermudan snatching at his shot meaning it dribbled wide of goal.
Ryan Bell fired too high from distance for the visitors, but it would be his goal that was the difference at half-time.
The Robins created the better of the openings at the start of the second-half, a scramble following a set piece out wide not profited on as Bather and Matt Baker hovered and there seemed to be a handball by a Corby defender too, then Ben Morris firing well wide from distance.
Baker’s low shot was pushed away by Grant on 65 minutes, then, after Tevahn Tyrell and Reece Horne had been introduced, Danny Gordon’s shot was too high on 76.
Corby were offering little in reply, Aaron Brown heading wide on 81 minutes as they tried to nick a goal against the run of play.
But in the end that early goal would prove crucial as despite pouring plenty forward in the latter stages the Robins couldn’t get the vital touch to earn them a point, and it’s now 17 games since they last got three of them.
Ilkeston: 1 Jamie Hannis, 2 Connor Walters, 3 Ryan Head, 4 Tom Gamblen (Reece Horne 71), 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Jaylon Bather, 7 Luis Rose, 8 Dexter Atkinson, 9 Danny Gordon, 10 Ben Morris (Tevahn Tyrell 71), 11 Brandon Clarke
Subs not used: Max Thornberry, Charlie Scanlon, Keenan Meakin
Corby: 1 Aidan Grant, 2 Miles Smith, 3 Steve Kinniburgh (Ryan Bell 11, Danny Draper 71), 4 Connor Kennedy, 5 Jamie Tank, 6 Jason Lee, 7 David Bell (c), 8 Steven Leslie, 9 Aaron Brown, 10 Ben Milnes, 11 Jordan Crawford (Jamie Anton 88)
Subs not used: Liam Marshall, Bradley Marshall
Goals: Ryan Bell 13
Ref: Tom Reeves
Star Robin: Tom Gamblen