Ricketts on target again as Robins win

Gary Ricketts
Gary Ricketts

GARY Ricketts scored his 19th goal of the season and Dan Partridge his first as Ilkeston FC overcame Newcastle Town on Saturday.

Evo-Stik Division One South

NEWCASTLE TOWN 0

ILKESTON FC 2

Dan Partridge 20

Gary Ricketts 47

by Rod Malcolm

Pinned between a rugby pitch and cricket square, circled by a cycle track, Ilkeston stuck to football basics for a lesson in how to tackle an away match against a team struggling for points.

It was often grim, perhaps a little dull, but the determination shone from Kevin Wilson’s side as they came back from the 3-4 home defeat by Leek United. The manager chose the words “solid, professional.”

The fightback began with the back four, who ensured keeper Ben Gathercole had only one save to make. Newcastle hardly had a meaningful foray into the penalty area, with Joe Maguire on patrol.

Yet the match was illuminated by two excellent goals, the first from Dan Partridge, who had a fine game at the heart of defence.

A 20th minute free kick was knocked back by Gary Ricketts and the former Walsall player took the chance like a seasoned striker.

But let the man himself describe his first for Ilkeston. “I had my back to goal, turned and shot. It was good to see it go into the bottom corner,” said Partridge, whose goal was his first in Ilkeston colours.

It was a tasty morsel for fans, one of whom had visited the snack bar and reported:”The finest chips in the league, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.”

The chips were down for Newcastle with the Robins looking secure. James Cullingworth had two efforts blocked. Ryan Wilson picked out Ricketts but Daryll Thomas stumbled as he tried to profit.

Ricketts and left-back Sam Hart were then booked after clashing near the home dugout. In 42 minutes, Jack Watts headed narrowly wide.

Would Newcastle stage a second-half revival at the Aspire Arena? The answer was an emphatic “no.”

In 47 minutes, Matt Richards and Cullingworth worked the ball out to Watts on the right. The angled cross was perfect for Ricketts, who emerged from behind his marker to head home.

That was a fitting bonus for a superb shift which he smilingly called “a normal day at the office.” The goal also made him joint top-scorer in the division.

Joe Wilcox came on for Sam Duncum who is still easing back from a virus and a spell without football.

And there was still time for Thomas to strive with little joy to regain the scoring form which boosted the Robins at the opening of the campaign. He eventually made way for Tyrell Waite.

It was left to Ricketts to sum it all up. “It was very important to get on with it and do the job. I always thought we could win the game because they didn’t cause us problems.

“We kept our concentration and in the end, we did,” he added.

Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Joe Maguire 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (c) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas (Tyrell Waite 84) 11 Sam Duncum (Joe Wilcox 54) Subs not used: Ashley Robinson, Darren Caskey, Russell Peel Att: 187 Ref: T Carty (Wolverhampton)

Star Robin: Gary Ricketts