Saturday, March 31, 2012
Evo-Stik Division One South
ILKESTON FC 5
Jack Watts 13
Daryll Thomas 22
Matt Richards 38
Gary Ricketts 70
Francis Green 84
SHEPSHED DYNAMO 0
by Mark Duffy
ILKESTON sealed a play-off berth in some style on Saturday as bottom-of-the-table Shepshed offered little resistance to the Robins’ attacking power.
As home bankers go, this was about as comfortable a win as you can get, the result never in doubt and with five different goalscorers doing the damage.
Ilkeston’s first opening came five minutes in when Jack Watts exchanged passes with Gary Ricketts on the edge of the penalty area but his placed shot was inches wide of the post.
Four minutes later a break following a Shepshed corner saw Sam Duncum eventually take possession but he too was inches wide with a shot across goal.
The opener was to come in the 13th minute and it followed a corner on the right. Darren Caskey received the ball back after playing it short and when his cross was firstly headed against the crossbar by Watts, the same player volleyed the rebound into the top corner of the net.
Matt Richards blasted wide three minutes later as the hosts continued to dominate, and it was 2-0 on 22 minutes as James Cullingworth’s cross from the right was nodded down by Ricketts and Daryll Thomas controlled well before volleying high into the net.
Ricketts headed a corner straight at keeper James Martin moments later and Duncum shot wide again after another good break on 28 as the Robins threatened an avalanche.
The third duly arrived on 36 and it was as stunning as it was unexpected.
Richards, who hadn’t previously scored in a Robins shirt, picked the ball up 40 yards out before dribbling past three players and hitting a low shot past Martin into the far corner of the net.
Shepshed then tested Ben Gathercole for the first time, Leighton Simmonds’s effort from outside the area tipped wide of the post by the Robins’ keeper, but with Ricketts heading straight at Martin just before half-time, the visitors may well have felt fortunate to only be three down at the interval.
Watts was first to show in the second-half, his shot hitting the side netting after a delightful through ball from Caskey on 51 minutes.
Goal four took a while to come but it was the newly-crowned Division One South Player of the Year who scored it.
Ryan Wilson carried the ball forward before squaring to Ricketts in space and his low shot was into the corner of the net.
It was Ricketts’s last action as he was immediately replaced by debutant Francis Green.
Richards tested Martin again from distance on 73 but the keeper held his shot well, before Green marked his return to the New Manor Ground with a goal on 82 minutes.
Watts put a ball in from the right which found the new man in space ten yards out and he had plenty of time to control and fire home.
Thomas fired just past the post from Cullingworth’s pass on 87 minutes and Shepshed nearly scored before the end when Ndricim Krasniqi went around Gathercole but saw his weak effort cleared off the line by Russell Cooke, but that was that and the Robins had secured the points once more.
Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole, 2 James Cullingworth, 3 Ryan Wilson, 4 Darren Caskey (James Reid 72), 5 Dan Partridge, 6 Russell Cooke, 7 Jack Watts, 8 Matt Richards, 9 Gary Ricketts (Francis Green 69), 10 Daryll Thomas, 11 Sam Duncum (Will McCall 77) Subs not used: Joe Wilcox, Lloyd Allison (GK)
Referee: Danny Gratton (Stone)
Star Robin: Jack Watts