Year begins with a defeat for Robins

Matt Richards (right) shadows an opponent during Monday's clash.
Matt Richards (right) shadows an opponent during Monday's clash.

ILKESTON FC began 2012 in disappointing fashion with a home defeat to local rivals Belper Town on Monday.

Evo-Stik Division One South

ILKESTON FC 0

BELPER TOWN 1

Jordan Turner 86

by Mark Duffy

WHEN it comes to New Year’s resolutions, performing better at home has got to be pretty high on the lists of Ilkeston FC’s players.

For this was an extremely below-par display in what was a generally dire encounter, with both sides cancelling each other out until an appropriately dreadful goal won Belper the points four minutes from time.

And with a bumper Bank Holiday gate of 844 in attendance, it was a pity the entertainment value wasn’t greater and that many of the ‘extra’ supporters who opted for a visit to the New Manor Ground may well be wondering whether it’s worth coming again.

Despite Ilkeston starting the game stronger it was Belper who had the first chance, Aron Wint’s free-kick from the left seven minutes in seeing Ashley Longstaff beat keeper Dan Lowson to the ball but his header dropped just wide.

Glyn Cotton sent an effort way over the top on 12, and it was ten minutes later before the Robins’ first shot in anger, James Reid letting fly from distance but the ball going wide of Gavin Saxby’s right-hand post.

The game then drifted into the first of its many lulls, and it was the 37th minute before another opening came either side’s way though it was one that should have led to the opening goal for the Robins.

Tyrell Waite did well on the right before finding Reid ten yards out who missed his kick, the ball eventually falling to Matt Richards who blazed over the bar when in a good position.

At the other end, Richard Adams’ header from a corner was harmlessly over the top, and Richards was off target again for Ilkeston with a sliced shot two minutes before the break.

An early second-half opening saw Ricketts unable to connect well enough with a Reid cross, before the visitors created their best opening so far on 65.

Deon Meikle muscled his way into space down the right before pulling the ball back to Longstaff, and when his shot was pushed away by Lowson, Jon Froggatt was unable to turn in the rebound.

Saxby had to tip a Ricketts header over the top five minutes later, before another period of relative inactivity in a dreadful game ended with Meikle going close from distance after 83 minutes, his left-foot strike just past the angle of post and crossbar.

Ex-Robin Chris Adam then had Lowson in action again with a strike from outside the box which was spilled before being gathered, while sub Andrew Osei-Siribour then saw two shots blocked at the other end.

But disaster struck the hosts four minutes from time and it was down to indecision in the Ilkeston back line.

A hopeful punt forward saw defender Russell Cooke and Belper sub Jordan Turner in a race for the ball, but when the normally reliable Cooke was unable to deal with the situation and Lowson arrived to try and clear, his attempted whack to safety merely saw the ball land at Turner’s feet and he was able to roll the ball into an empty net.

That proved to be the winner, a goal in keeping with the quality of the match, and once again at home it was ‘must do better’ for the Robins.

Ilkeston: 1 Dan Lowson 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 Tyrell Waite (Andrew Osei-Siribour 55) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Ashley Robinson, Darren Caskey, Joe Wilcox, Russell Peel

Att: 844 Ref: Nick Hopton

Star Robin: Matt Richards