Plenty of fence-sitters will have predicted a share of the spoils in this Tuesday night clash and that very outcome was probably about right.
A lively last half-an-hour from Ilkeston perhaps merited more than just Gary Ricketts’ late equaliser, however a slightly more stale first hour meant a victory wasn’t entirely their entitlement against a side who made life difficult throughout.
New right-back Jack Dean stepped into defensive duties and looked assured throughout, while Ricketts produced one of his better all-round displays, the like of which haven’t been all too common this season.
The first 30 minutes saw only half chances fall to each side, the better ones to Barwell with Connor Gudger, Luke Barlone and Jack Edwards all seeing efforts go moderately close without striking much fear into goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson.
At the other end Kane Richards had the first of two good penalty shouts turned down early on and James Reid flashed an effort wide after Ricketts did well down the right.
Laurie Wilson’s good through ball then set Kane Richards free but having broken in to the penalty area his shot on his weaker left foot went just wide of the target.
The opening goal came on 35 minutes courtesy of Barwell’s first shot on target.
Good work down the right by full-back Scott Lower saw his cross eventually cleared to Barlone on the edge of the penalty area, and with time to sit down, have cup of tea and carefully decide where to eventually place the ball he in the end opted for a fine low drive into the corner of the net.
Indeed, that would be the last of the clear cut openings until Ilkeston began to take control in the second period.
Jason Stokes saw a shot saved low down by keeper JamesWren following Reid’s low cross, and moments later defender Matt Baker couldn’t quite get a good enough touch when the ball fell to him from Reid’s corner and Wren was able to gather on his line.
Barwell’s only major threat of the entire half was when Anthony Griffith-Jnr fired over the top from a slight angle.
Stokes had two efforts gathered by Wren before Richards’ second penalty claim saw him instead booked for simulation when to most in the ground it looked like he had indeed been fouled, manager Kevin Wilson unhappy with the treatment Richards received from referee Ben Cooke.
The goal finally arrived five minutes from time and owed much to the dangerous Stokes who, having again switched wings to this time appear on the right, put in a fine cross with his left foot which Ricketts leapt majestically to head home from four yards out.
The Robins were far from done. Stokes then broke forward after a mistake in midfield but his eventual shot was only straight at Wren.
Sub Lejaun Simmons was lively throughout his brief cameo but nearly stole the show, cutting inside from the left and fizzing in an effort that wasn’t far away from finding the net at the far post.
And that was to be Ilkeston’s last chance to snatch three points that wouldn’t have been undeserved but which ultimately eluded them.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013:
Barwell: 1 James Wren 2 Scott Lower 3 Danny Spencer 4 Guy Hadland 5 Jamie Hood (c) 6 Jack Edwards 7 Kieron Brehon 8 Nigel Julien 9 Luke Barlone 10 Anthony Griffith-Jnr 11 Connor Gudger (Tom Weale 57). Subs not used: Scott Hadland, Elliott Putman, Dave Barnett, Liam Castle
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Jack Dean 3 Ellis Storey 4 Danny Gordon (Lejaun Simmons 82) 5 Matt Baker 6 Joe Maguire 7 Jason Stokes 8 Laurie Wilson (c) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Kane Richards (Aaron Webster 90) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Mike Williams, Courey Grantham, Aaron Hooton
Att: 168 Ref: Ben Cooke
Star Robin: Jason Stokes
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter - @sportsphotorob)