REPORT: Ilkeston FC 2-1 Whitby Town

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Nine straight defeats was a run that had to end for more than one reason and it finally did at the New Manor Ground on Monday night.

The victory pushed Ilkeston three points further away from the drop zone which now looks no longer to be a threat, and was achieved thanks to two first-half goals that, unlike on Saturday against Blyth, weren’t to be extinguished by a dramatic fightback.

Mike Williams strikes home the penalty. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Mike Williams strikes home the penalty. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Whitby weren’t far off getting a point but didn’t have the killer instinct in the final third, although similar could be said for Ilkeston who would have welcomed a third goal but coudn’t secure it.

Ultimately it mattered little as they got the points they so desperately desired.

Whitby should have been ahead three minutes in as Mikey Roberts was sent through the middle but one-on-one with Jahquil Hill he put his shot wide of the far post.

They came even closer ten minutes later as Tyler Scarth’s looping header at the back post from a Roberts cross came back off the post and was scrambled away by Hill.

Roberts then saw a half volley drift wide as Ilkeston struggled to settle, the ball not sticking in attacking areas and not being cleared effectively from the back.

Their first clear chance came on 21 as Luke Shaw fed Luis Rose and his firm shot was beaten away by keeper Shane Bland.

The lead came Ilkeston’s way on 26 minutes and where they failed on Saturday, they succeeded on this occasion.

Williams’ cross was met by the hand of Richard Pell and a penalty was the outcome. Williams himself confidently netted the spot-kick and earned the Robins a crucial lead.

Williams was in the action again moments later as his 25-yarder flew just too high, Whitby’s Antony Hulme then denied a goal by the offside flag as his volley found the top corner of the net.

The second Ilkeston goal soon followed on 38 minutes it was Williams again at the centre of things as Haydn Goddard’s floated free-kick was met with a glancing header by the Welshman and it looped into the top corner of the net to put the Robins well in control at the break.

The second-half took a while to get going but Pell should have reduced the arrears just before the hour mark when his free header from a set piece was put just wide of the post.

Whitby did then get themselves a goal and it was with the second penalty of the game. Roberts was fouled by Aiden Print as he made his way to the byline, the Whitby striker picking himself up to net the penalty by sending Hill the wrong way.

That proved to be the last key moment of the game. The visitors pushed for an equaliser but were wasteful, particularly at set plays, and Ilkeston held on for the victory.

Ilkeston: 1 Jahquil Hill, 2 Aiden Print, 3 Ryan Head, 4 Max Thornberry, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Danny Gordon, 7 Luke Shaw, 8 Haydn Goddard, 9 Curtis Burrows (Dexter Atkinson 79), 10 Mike Williams, 11 Luis Rose

Subs not used: David Jones, Ben Morris, Connor Walters, Roy Lee

Whitby: 1 Shane Bland, 2 Scott Howes, 3 Mark Robinson (c), 4 Richard Pell, 5 Jamie Poole, 6 Matty Waters, 7 Adam Gell, 8 Tyler Scarth (Connor Gardner 76), 9 Michael Roberts, 10 Anthony Hulme, 11 Andrew McWilliams (Thibault Charmy 82)

Subs not used: Josh Keogh, Charlie Raby, Daniel Dixon

Ref: Chris Ward

Att: 345

Star Robin: Mike Williams