Robins recover to seal a key victory

Ryan Wilson prepares to fire in an effort on goal during the 3-1 win over Hucknall Town.
Ryan Wilson prepares to fire in an effort on goal during the 3-1 win over Hucknall Town.
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ILKESTON secured home advantage for the play-off semi-finals after a fairly comfortable success over Hucknall Town on Easter Monday.

Evo-Stik Division One South

ILKESTON FC 3

Laurie Wilson 13

Will McCall 39

Jack Watts 81

HUCKNALL TOWN 1

Austin Wallace 5

by Mark Duffy

ILKESTON secured home advantage for the play-off semi-finals after a fairly comfortable success over Hucknall Town on Easter Monday.

They did it the hard way, once again conceding a horrible early opener before turning the game around, but with Carlton Town falling to a last minute defeat at Rainworth it leaves second place very much in the Robins’ hands.

A common theme this season has been sloppy starts and this match was no different.

Despite Matt Richards looping a header into the arms of Town keeper James Lindley in the opening exchanges, Hucknall took the lead five minutes in and it was a poor goal to concede.

Aiden Brady was freed down the left and his low cross looked comfortable for Russell Cooke to clear, but instead the Robins skipper mis-kicked the ball completely and Austin Wallace nipped in to beat keeper Ben Gathercole to the ball and find the net.

The Robins fought back and Gary Ricketts couldn’t quite get enough contact on Richards’ cross after nine minutes, the ball instead going for a corner, but the leveller was to arrive on 13.

The returning Will McCall did well down the left before seeing his cross punched away by Lindley, but Laurie Wilson was waiting just outside the penalty area and he drilled a low shot back in which found the corner of the net.

The game then settled into a bit of a lull and it took a while for the next real chance to come, but when it did arrive, what a chance it was.

Daryll Thomas beat the offside trap and ran on to go around Lindley, but faced with defender Kieran Walker on the line the ball got under his feet somewhat and his shot was dealt with by the Hucknall full-back.

Jack Watts hit the side netting moments later with a drive from the edge of the penalty area and was wide with another shot on 36, but he was then to create the Robins’ second goal just three minutes later.

After being freed down the right he put over a cross which found its way to McCall at the far post, and the winger controlled before drilling in a low shot which nestled in the far corner of the net.

Thomas nearly added a third moments later but Lindley managed to get to the ball first before the Robins man could get a shot in, and Laurie Wilson’s low shot was palmed away by the Town stopper on 44 - the resultant corner seeing Watts’ header blocked on the line.

Thomas and Laurie Wilson both saw half chances go close early in the second-half and Ryan Wilson was just wide with a drive from distance.

Ricketts hadn’t had many sniffs but a header wide wasn’t far away on 65, and Watts’ ball across the six yard box minutes later somehow missed everyone.

A rare Hucknall chance saw Callum Lloyd’s long range shot dealt with by Gathercole on 71 and Robins sub Francis Green hooked an effort just wide four minutes later after running on to Cullingworth’s long ball.

Green was close again on 81 when a delightful touch by McCall set him up but a chip across goal wasn’t quite on target.

The game was sealed on 81 minutes and it was the hard-working Watts who got his reward, breaking forward on the inside right channel before firing in a low shot from just inside the penalty area.

Sub James Reid’s first job was to see a deflected shot drop just wide, but the points were safe and a home date on April 23 was assured.

Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson (Joe Wilcox 82) 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (c) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas (Francis Green 68) 11 Will McCall (James Reid 85) Subs not used: Joe Maguire, Andrew Osei-Siribour

Att: 527 Ref: Matthew Walsh

Star Robin: Laurie Wilson