On the list of things the doctor ordered a morale-boosting Ilkeston win and with it three valuable points was pretty near the top.
Tricky weather conditions and a lack of real quality from either side made this encounter more an endurance exercise than anything else for both fans and players, but it got the Robins back to winning ways and they just about deserved it.
Strong starts to each half were the key, the opposite to many games this season where Kevin Wilson’s men have been playing catch up thanks to early concessions, although they hung on a bit towards the end before Gary Ricketts’ goal sealed the points in injury-time.
Nantwich had the first glimpse of goal two minutes in when Aaron Burns’ free-kick was fumbled by keeper Lloyd Allinson who then blocked Harry Clayton’s close range follow-up.
Ilkeston then got in front four minutes later when good work by Kane Richards and Ricketts saw the ball break to Jason Stokes on the edge of the penalty area and his effort was deflected into the corner of the net.
Another good move on 14 minutes released Richards down the right but his ball across the six-yard box didn’t get the necessary touch to turn it into net.
The game then became somewhat stale and it was 15 minutes before another opening came for either side, a mix-up in the Robins defence ending with the ball being cleared straight against Burns but rather fortunately it went directly into Allinson’s hands.
The only other chance before half-time saw the Dabbers’ Joe O’Neill head over the bar from Stephen Johnson’s cross.
Anyone who had understandably dropped off to sleep during the first-half and remained undisturbed during half-time will have been woken abruptly just 14 seconds into the second period.
That’s the time it took for Nantwich defender Sam Wilson’s weak header back to have keeper Jack Cudworth scrambling to reach the ball, but when he did it fell to Stokes who was loitering just outside the penalty area and he was able to lash home an excellent finish.
James Reid and Ricketts then got in each other’s way when a third goal looked on the cards moments later, and that looked even more costly when Nantwich pulled a goal back out of nowhere on 52 minutes.
Lively sub Osebi Abadaki received the ball on the right and his cross found its way into the six yard box where both Clayton and Burns swung at the ball which dribbled in off the post, Clayton confirmed as having been the player who got the key touch.
That meant the Robins were back on edge for the remainder although clear cut chances were few and far between. Nantwich’s Oliver Devenney fired low at Allinson from distance whilst Joe Maguire and Laurie Wilson tested Cudworth at the other end.
Abadaki came closest to an equaliser, his delightful chip forcing Allinson to tip over the bar well on 82 minutes, before a late Nantwich penalty claim was turned down in the same passage of play that saw Ben Deegan’s close range shot well blocked.
The points were wrapped up as the game entered stoppage time when Ricketts was released down the left and he cut inside and fired in an accurate shot to beat Cudworth at his near post, meaning Robins fans could breath a sigh of relief.
Monday, October 21, 2013:
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Laurie Wilson (c) 3 Aaron Webster 4 Danny Gordon 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 Jason Stokes 8 Callum Chettle (Che Adams 69) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Kane Richards 11 James Reid (Aaron Hooton 63). Subs not used: Matt Baker, Akil Wright, Lejaun Simmons
Nantwich: 1 Jack Cudworth 2 Alex Frost (c) 3 Andy White 4 Mark Jones (Ross Davidson 16) 5 Sam Wilson 6 Mat Bailey 7 Matt O’Neill (Osebi Abadaki 50) 8 Oliver Devenney 9 Aaron Burns 10 Harry Clayton (Ben Deegan 70) 11 Stephen Johnson. Subs not used: Earl Davis, Elliot Booth
Att: 341 Ref: Alan Hull
Star Robin: Jason Stokes
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter: @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter: @Sportsphotorob)