REPORT/SLIDESHOW: Robins denied by late leveller

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Ilkeston FC 1 Witton Albion 1

There was more late drama in an Ilkeston FC fixture on Saturday - but this time it was the Robins who were on the receiving end.

Having scored five times in the 90th minute or later in the previous three games, this time it was Ilkeston’s visitors Witton who struck late to take a point after the ten-man hosts had failed to add to their first-half lead.

The opening 34 minutes were fairly quiet, a Gary Ricketts header wide and Aaron Hooton’s run and shot that was pushed away by Albion keeper Matthew Cooper the closest either side had come to a goal.

Then the Robins took the lead when James Reid’s excellent through ball found Matt Richards who ran on to slide the ball past Cooper and into the far corner of the net.

Four minutes later Albion should have been level, when Ricketts fouled Michael Powell in the penalty area as a free-kick was floated over, but Kyle Wilson could only find the hard shoulder of the M1 with his powerful but somewhat inaccurate spot-kick.

Any thoughts things were going all the Robins’ way were dispelled right on the stroke of half-time, as Hooton foolishly struck out at Steve Connors off the ball, an offence spotted by the assistant referee, and Hooton was sent for an early bath.

As it turned out, rather than being put on the back foot as a result, the Robins were more of a threat in the second-half with ten men than they had been in the first with 11.

Ricketts’ afternoon didn’t get any better, however, as following his concession of the penalty he then missed the target with his second free header of the afternoon from six yards out after good work by Kane Richards.

Reid was then inches away twice from making it 2-0, first with a shot blazed over from just inside the box and then with an effort that was wide after more good work by Kane Richards.

Witton introduced former Robins striker Dereece Gardner as a sub and he flashed an effort across goal on 68 minutes, but Witton were struggling to break the home side down despite their numerical advantage.

Kane Richards’ shot then deflected just wide off Ricketts’ backside on 72 minutes, and the combination of poor finishing and bad luck would eventually cost the Robins dear as the game entered its final 90 seconds.

Ilkeston failed to clear as Albion pumped the ball into the penalty area, and after it had bobbled around it fell to Wilson on his right foot and this time his shot was placed perfectly into the corner of the net and the visitors had stolen a point.

Ilkeston: 1 Rob Peet 2 Rob Kozluk 3 Chris Palmer 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Aaron Webster 7 Kane Richards (Jason Stokes 78) 8 James Reid (Callum Chettle 90) 9 Gary Ricketts (Antwan Russell 75) 10 Aaron Hooton 11 Matt Richards. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Danny Gordon

Witton: 1 Matthew Cooper 2 Cliff Moyo 3 Steve Connors 4 Ben Harrison 5 Marc Joseph (c) (Nicky Platt 82) 6 Oliver James (Anthony Sheehan 58) 7 Jon Dawson 8 Michael Powell 9 Kyle Wilson 10 Neville Thompson (Dereece Gardner 57) 11 Daniel Andrews. Subs not used: Matthew Purcell, Joshua Glover Att: 576 Ref: Martin Parker Star Robin: James Reid

Report by Mark Duffy

Photos by Rob Stephenson (www.robertstephensonphotography.co.uk)