Robins labour to another home win

Russell Cooke (right) clears against Brigg
Russell Cooke (right) clears against Brigg

GOALS in each half from Gary Ricketts and Jack Watts were enough for Ilkeston to win something of a turgid encounter at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.

Evo-Stik Division One South

ILKESTON FC 2

Gary Ricketts 34

Jack Watts 56

BRIGG TOWN 0 

by Mark Duffy

GOALS in each half from Gary Ricketts and Jack Watts were enough for Ilkeston to win something of a turgid encounter at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.

Visitors Brigg, safe from relegation and with nothing much to play for, offered little in opposition to the Robins whose main aims were to win the match and improve their goal difference enough to eliminate any threat of being overtaken by Carlton Town in the final round of matches as the battle for the important second place continues.

They achieved the first target but in only scoring twice, and with Carlton winning 3-1 at Coalville, nothing changed on the goal difference front which may mean a little nailbiting at Grantham after all should things not be going well.

It was Brigg who had the first opening inside 60 seconds, skipper Liam Davis cutting inside and hitting a low shot which was well held by home debutant goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson.

Ricketts fired well wide on six minutes after being set up by Will McCall, and McCall himself then tried an ambitious effort from distance moments later which squirmed under keeper Tom Woodhead who was relieved to see the ball roll just wide of goal for a corner.

Ricketts was wide again on 19 after James Cullingworth’s up-and-under cross landed on his head, and Watts was even closer five minutes later with a curled effort just past the far post.

But the opener came on 34 minutes and it was fairly simple. Francis Green did well to get to the byline down the right and his pull back across goal took a deflection on its way to Ricketts who couldn’t miss from six yards out.

Brigg hadn’t done an awful lot but nearly levelled in first-half stoppage time, the experienced Darren Mansaram putting a free header wide after Ryan O’Loughlin had put a set-piece in from the left.

Watts then somehow couldn’t convert in front of goal after Green had squared again from the byline as the teams went into the break at 1-0.

The second-half started quite brightly before slipping into a lull it never recovered from.

Ricketts headed straight at Woodhead two minutes in after Laurie Wilson’s cross, and sub Joe Wilcox’s first job after replacing Ryan Wilson was to thread a lovely through ball through to Watts whose squared ball across couldn’t be turned in by Ricketts.

It was 2-0 on 56 and again it was poor defending from Brigg. Ricketts won the ball down the right before playing it into the six-yard box where McCall couldn’t turn it in but he was instead able to help on to Watts who had time to finish well from eight yards out.

Philip Jackman went close for Brigg on 65 but shot straight at Allinson, and aside from the author of this report’s Grand National pick winning the big horse race of the day midway through the half, not much else was happening.

Indeed, the next real chance didn’t come until injury-time when sub Daryll Thomas put a simple chance straight at Woodhead, Ricketts unable to convert the rebound.

But the win was safe if unspectacular and all eyes now turn to what could be a very lively seven days.

Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson (Joe Wilcox 49) 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (c) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Francis Green (Daryll Thomas 72) 11 Will McCall (James Reid 80) Subs not used: Joe Maguire, Sam Duncum

Att: 457

Ref: Geoff Law

Star Robin: Matt Richards