Some games are decided by moments of individual brilliance, some by great team goals and some by incidents of sheer horror.
In a season of unpredictability and inconsistency for Ilkeston it isn’t hard to work out which of those categories this match fell into.
A catastrophic loss of concentration half-an-hour into this encounter ultimately proved decisive, home debutant Jamie Anton and goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson in the spotlight as Anton’s back pass went under the foot of his fellow loanee and the ball rolled apologetically over the goal line.
At that stage it was hard to believe it would be the only goal of the game, both sides creating promising openings in the first-half in a match played at a good tempo.
Matt Richards had danced through two challenges before forcing Chris Gemmell into a fine save just 40 seconds into the game, Joe Maguire shooting just wide from the resultant corner.
Rushall were playing mostly on the counter and Allinson had to push away Carl Palmer’s long range effort on ten minutes, Zak Martin’s rebound flying just wide of the far post.
Stan Mugisha was often a threat and he twice found too much space and hit shots that threatened the Robins goal, Allinson claiming one and the other going just wide.
The Robins replied with Kane Richards’ good low shot pushed wide by Gemmell and Aaron Webster’s not so good low shot going much wider after a knock down on the edge of the penalty area.
A game-ending injury to Rushall’s Lee Downes then held proceedings up for five minutes, and it was barely seconds after the resumption that the winning goal came, Anton’s admittedly fairly heavy back pass not dealt with at all well by Allinson who was being watched by the boss of his parent club Huddersfield Town, Mark Robins.
Kristian Ramsey-Dickson, sub Liam Spink and Mugisha all saw efforts then go very close to extending the lead before half-time, while Kane Richards’ cross at the other end was inches away from Aaron Hooton in the six-yard box.
The onus was on Ilkeston to go out all guns blazing in search of a point or three in the second-half, but while the effort was there, the quality in the final third wasn’t.
After Tom Eckersley had put a good chance wide for Rushall on 52 minutes, it was Ilkeston who would have the better openings for most of the remainder, although the majority ended up being half chances that came from bright build-ups, such was the poor decision-making being made by the home attackers.
The best saw Jason Stokes volley wide on 73 minutes, Maguire head straight at Gemmell from a corner not long afterwards, and then a late free-kick reached young sub Courey Grantham six yards out but he didn’t know too much about it and the ball went straight into Gemmell’s hands.
Perhaps the best opening came when Kane Richards did well down the Stokes and found Stokes six yards out but the winger could only flick his shot over the top under pressure from a defender.
Spink missed a great chance to kill the game in injury-time, firing over when in space, but it mattered not as a big, strong and undoubtedly very physical Olympic side held on to squeeze past the Robins for the second time this season.
Monday, November 4, 2013:
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Jamie Anton 3 Ellis Storey 4 Danny Gordon (Courey Grantham 82) 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Matt Baker 7 Jason Stokes 8 Aaron Webster 9 Aaron Hooton (James Reid 64) 10 Kane Richards 11 Matt Richards (Gary Ricketts 64). Subs not used: Mike Williams, Callum Chettle
Rushall: 1 Chris Gemmell 2 Josh Craddock 3 Zak Martin 4 Jimmy Turner 5 Gavin Caines (c) 6 Wayne Daniel 7 Carl Palmer 8 Tom Eckersley (Christian Dacres 70) 9 Kristian Ramsey-Dickson (Dele Adebola 83) 10 Stan Mugisha 11 Lee Downes (Liam Spink 32). Subs not used: Asa Charlton, Mitch Tolley
Att: 385 Ref: Declan Bourne
Star Robin: Kane Richards
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter - @sportsphotorob)