Ilkeston FC 1 Chorley 0
Patience is a virtue and Ilkeston were rewarded for theirs on Saturday as they finally broke down Chorley at the New Manor Ground.
The Robins knocked at the visitors’ door throughout the afternoon but struggled to break it down until 18 minutes from time when a rare goal from Ryan Wilson earned the points.
It should have been a more emphatic win, indeed Chorley were always in with a shout of a point thanks to some promising openings of their own, but a third home victory in a row was ultimately sealed.
Ilkeston had the better of the opening half but Chorley threatened first as Tom Ince found space before seeing his shot blocked and a second attempt flash wide when he really should have scored.
Aaron Hooton was to have a frustrating afternoon, largely thanks to Chorley keeper Jack Cudworth who made a fine double save to deny the Robins striker on 18 minutes and had pushed away another Hooton effort before the half was out from Gary Ricketts’ cross.
Hooton was also inches away from connecting with a rebound on 27 after Matt Richards’ fine run ended with a low shot from 30 yards which struck the inside of the post and eluded everyone as the ball flashed across goal.
Dale Whitham warmed Chris Martin’s palms on 39 minutes with a low drive that was pushed wide, while Ricketts fired over in a good position just before the break.
The Robins would also have numerous chances in the second period, Ricketts, Hooton and the impressive Jack Watts all close, the latter opportunity coming after Ricketts had mis-cued a header back into the winger’s path six yards out but Watts blazed over the top.
The goal finally came on 72 minutes and began with a set-piece. Richards’ cross following a short corner saw Laurie Wilson make contact and the ball was cleared off the line, but it only found the head of namesake Ryan on the edge of the penalty area and his looping effort beat the back-pedalling Cudworth and nestled in the net.
Watts twice created good openings that were wasted and sub Russell Peel also went close, before Chorley nearly levelled deep into stoppage time but Jack Cunliffe’s low drive was superbly and crucially held by Martin under pressure and the three points were safe.
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 James Cullingworth 3 Steven Smith 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Joe Maguire 6 Jide Maduako 7 Jack Watts 8 Ryan Wilson 9 Gary Ricketts (c) 10 Aaron Hooton 11 Matt Richards (Russell Peel 87). Subs not used: Russell Cooke, Dereece Gardner, Jordan Smith, James Reid
Scorer: R Wilson 72
Chorley: 1 Jack Cudworth 2 Kieran Walmsley (Ash Parillion 79) 3 Tom Walker 4 Andy Teague (c) (Chris Blackburn 49) 5 Andy Russell 6 Jamie Vermiglio 7 Dale Whitham 8 Steve Flitcroft (John Cunliffe 60) 9 Adam Roscoe 10 Darren Stephenson 11 Tom Ince. Subs not used: Matt Jansen, Ahmadi Porya
Att: 405 Ref: Stuart Eagland (Lichfield)
Star Robin: Jack Watts
by Mark Duffy