“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see, Ilson win away,” sang Robins fans while the score was still 0-0 on this windy day in Lincolnshire.
Thankfully their prophecy was fulfilled as Ilkeston’s players went on to seal three valuable points for the first time since November 2, with a clean sheet adding a bow to the Christmas present that was high on boss Kevin Wilson’s wish list.
They rode their luck at times during the second-half but ultimately deserved their win, secured thanks to goals in each half from Laurie Wilson and returning loanee Tyrell Waite.
Stamford, who hadn’t lost in six games prior to this clash but who were still in the bottom four, struggled to get a prolonged foothold on the game and duly suffered their second home defeat to the Robins since the visitors’ new life began two seasons ago.
The first 25 minutes or so produced mostly half chances for each side, Jason Field from distance and Ryan Robbins twice threatening Rob Peet in the Ilkestonn goal, with Gary Ricketts’ weak shot at Stamford stopper Alex Lynch and Matt Richards’ low effort wide after cutting in from the right all the Robins could muster.
That changed on 28 minutes with the opening goal. Stamford had been fouling their way through proceedings up to this point and were made to pay as a free-kick out on the right was swung in by Richards and after Ricketts’ shot was blocked, Laurie Wilson was on hand to stab home from close range.
After Callum Chettle fired wide following a good move four minutes later, Stamford had their best spell of the game approaching half-time but Peet was able to beat away an effort from Dan Lawlor and Robbins saw an effort deflect just too high on the stroke of the interval.
The second-half saw better quality chances for each team but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the goals tally down.
Jon Challinor twice went close for Stamford, firstly firing just wide and then beating two players before putting a shot inches wide of the far post.
In between those openings, Ilkeston nearly made it two when Richards got past Lynch and to the byline but when his pull back found Waite two of his efforts were blocked and Richards’ follow-up was then cleared off the line.
Stamford’s best chance to level came on 72 minutes when Nabil Shariff was found in space, but after Peet had blocked the striker’s first effort, Shariff somehow put the rebound wide of a seemingly open goal.
That proved costly as with ten minutes left Ilkeston sealed the points. James Reid fed fellow sub Kane Richards through the middle and as his pace looked to have taken him past Lynch, the keeper clipped Richards to bring him down for a penalty.
Waite, who looks twice the player he was prior to moving to Notts County both in a physical and playing sense, stroked home the spot kick with ease.
Richard Jones and Field both saw efforts go close to pulling a goal back while Ilkeston’s other debutant Cheye Alexander broke forward late on only to see his low shot find the hands of Lynch, but the win was secure and the relief obvious on the faces of Robins players, staff and supporters as the final whistle blew.
Saturday, December 14, 2013:
Stamford: 1 Alex Lynch 2 Shawn Richards 3 Jason Field 4 Jack Ashton 5 Richard Jones (c) 6 Ryan Walker (Ashley Robinson 62) 7 Dan Lawlor 8 Jon Challinor 9 Nabil Shariff (Alvin Jarvis 80) 10 Jordan Smith 11 Ryan Robbins (David Moyo 75). Subs not used: Liam Richardson, Will Jones
Ilkeston: 1 Rob Peet 2 Cheye Alexander 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 Chey Adams 8 Callum Chettle (Kane Richards 59) 9 Gary Ricketts (Aaron Hooton 90) 10 Tyrell Waite 11 Matt Richards (James Reid 67). Subs not used: Matt Baker, Danny Gordon
Att: 307 Ref: David Avent
Star Robin: Tyrell Waite
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter: @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter: @Sportsphotorob)