REPORT: Ilkeston FC 1-0 Barwell

Liam Marshall strikes home the winning penalty. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Liam Marshall strikes home the winning penalty. Photo by Craig Lamont.

This was a terrible game played in terrible conditions and won by a terrible goal but Ilkeston won’t care.

Having gone seven league games without a win they’ve now secured two in three days, and although this was far from a convincing performance they did what they had to do in the driving rain at the New Manor Ground.

Clear cut chances were few and far between as the two sides largely cancelled each other out, that being the case until skipper Liam Marshall slotted home the winner from the penalty spot nine minutes from time.

The change to 5-3-2 again brought dividends, albeit if not as much in an attacking sense as it had done in the win over Nantwich, but a key factor has been stopping the flow of goals going in against the Robins and that can only be positive.

The first shot of note came 14 minutes in when Barwell’s Callum Woodward found the arms of Ross Durrant with a free-kick from 25 yards.

Declan Towers saw a header pushed wide by Durrant on 21 after a corner hadn’t been cleared by the Robins, then Anthony Carney drove low at the keeper as Barwell continued to create the only openings the game had to offer in driving rain.

Skipper Richard Lavery was next visitor to threaten as his looping flick from a set piece drifted wide, while Ilkeston’s only effort on goal of the half would be Joe Burgess’s header which went harmlessly past the post from a corner.

Ilkeston began the second-half well, sub Charles Weston, on for the injured Lee Ndlovu in the first half, shooting low at Liam Castle when released in the opening minute.

Hickey Brady cracked one from long range straight at Durrant on the hour but the match was proving to be a dull affair with the sides cancelling each other out.

When it finally came the goal was more down to calamity than skill. Keeper Castle rushed miles out of his goal and didn’t get to the ball before Mike Williams who got the ball past him out wide and squared to Weston. He was then clattered to the ground just inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Marshall to find the corner of the net for his third goal of the season and second in three days.

And that would be the difference. Barwell threw plenty forward late on but the new defensive setup Ilkeston have introduced worked well again to deny them - 17-year-old Jordan Wheatley particularly impressive - and another three points was the reward to add to Saturday’s similar haul.

Momentum can both help and hinder depending on form but it now seems that the winless run which hampered Ilkeston’s attempts to progress up the league is behind them.

Colwyn Bay visit the New Manor Ground on Saturday in the third of a trio of home games, and it would take a brave punter to back against the Robins now their tails appear to be up.

Ilkeston: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Joe Burgess, 3 Olly Luto, 4 Jordan Wheatley, 5 Matt Baker, 6 Liam Marshall (c), 7 Joe Doyle, 8 Eli Bako (Marcus Harness 70), 9 Lee Ndlovu (Charles Weston 32), 10 Jack McKay (Dan Udoh 82), 11 Mike Williams

Subs not used: Charlie Coulson, Evandro Rachoni

Barwell: 1 Liam Castle, 2 Scott Lower, 3 Eddie Nisevic, 4 Liam Kay, 5 Declan Towers, 6 Richard Lavery (c) (Nigel Julian 84), 7 Alex Tomkinson, 8 Callum Woodward (Daniel Gaunt 70), 9 Jamie Towers (Iyesden Christie 70), 10 Hickey Brady, 11 Anthony Carney

Subs not used: Dominic Brennan, Aaron Opuku

Ref: R Price

Att: 404

Star Robin: Jordan Wheatley