Watson laments errors after Barwell beating

Andy Watson was disappointed with the manner of the defeat to Barwell.
Andy Watson was disappointed with the manner of the defeat to Barwell.

Ilkeston head coach Andy Watson cited poor defending as the main reason for his side’s defeat at Barwell on Saturday and vowed to work hard on eliminating individual errors that could prove costly to the Robins’ hopes.

The 4-0 reverse was Ilkeston’s heaviest defeat of the season so far and leaves them without a win in four league games.

And Watson felt frustrated by a number of factors that he believes contributed to the result.

He said: “I had a look at the recording of the game and it became more apparent to me where things went wrong.

“The goals conceded were, from our point of view, poor goals to give away. There were situations where we could have prevented the openings occurring and that’s something we need to work on, namely eliminating the individual errors.

“Credit must be given to Barwell who acclimatised to the conditions far better than us.

“The pitch was in a poor condition, something we’ve had to deal with a lot recently with them frequently only being declared playable in the hours leading up to matches.

“It’s punishing us a bit such is our style of play but we have to adapt and earn the right to win games. What we achieved earlier in the season with our attractive style and brand of football is very difficult to replicate on some pitches but we came up against a side who were able to adapt better and we lost 4-0.”

Watson continued with a similar shape to that which proved successful in the 5-1 League Cup win over Lincoln United five days earlier, although young striker Lewis Walker was withdrawn from the starting line-up having felt unwell in the pre-match warm-up.

Watson said: “When something works as well as it did against Lincoln you’d be foolish not to go with it again even though the opposition and circumstances are very different.

“I went with an attacking theme as I want to win games where we can and carry an attacking threat, but what disappointed me most at Barwell, and probably our fans too, was that we didn’t create as many chances as we usually do or get as many crosses into the box.

“Lewis didn’t feel able to play beforehand but we had Mike Williams ready to step in so I don’t think it affected us too much, although we weren’t able to name another substitute in Lewis’s absence.”

Ilkeston now prepare to host Halesowen Town at the New Manor Ground on Saturday before the rearranged trip to Rushall Olympic follows next Tuesday night.

Both sides sit just above Ilkeston in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League table and Watson is keen to see the winning mentality return.

He said: “We need the boost of a league win. It’s really important we don’t allow our heads to drop and for negativity to creep in unnecessarily.

“We’ve shown several times this season that we can play well against good sides in this division and compete, now we just need to keep working hard and the results will come.”

Watson says he has kept his feelers out for new players to help freshen up the current squad, but that it is proving difficult to recruit the right personnel.

He added: “It’s pointless bringing in players just to add numbers. They have to be better than what we’ve got and in areas where we legitimately need to improve, and despite having made a few enquiries nothing has happened as yet.

“We’ll keep looking to add and improve and remain competitive.

“One good thing is that we have Luke Shaw back from his loan at Belper and that’s been like having a new player in the squad. He’s been training for ten days or so now and gives us another option.”

Meanwhile, two former Ilkeston loanees have this week secured moves to Leeds United. Twins Jack and Paul McKay, who spent time with Ilkeston earlier in the season on loan from Doncaster, have both signed two-and-a-half year deals at Elland Road.