Andy Watson says Ilkeston FC draw against Marine felt like a defeat

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Andy Watson says Ilkeston FC’s draw with Marine on Saturday felt more like a defeat after the Robins had failed to turn their domination into goals.

The 0-0 draw saw Ilkeston create several good openings but they couldn’t break down a stubborn Marine defence despite the visitors having player-manager Sean Hessey sent off early in the second-half.

And head coach Watson said it ended up just being ‘one of those days’.

“It’s two points dropped rather than one gained, no question,” he said.

“When you look at the Workington game a few weeks ago, had we not conceded the winner in stoppage time that to me would have been a point gained given how Workington dominated much of the game.

“This time we’ve had probably 70 per cent of the possession and created good chances but couldn’t get the goal.

“In the dressing room afterwards you’d have thought we’d just been beaten, such was the mood.

“When they went down to ten men they just went back and defended from the 18-yard line, whereas before they’d broken out a few times and tried to get in goalscoring positions.

“At any level it can be really hard to break ten men down and to give credit to Marine they did wellto slow the game down and frustrate us, although some of our decision making was disappointing at times.”

Unlike many games beforehand, the best of Ilkeston’s chances came from outside the penalty area, something which Watson now wants to address.

He said: “It was disappointing as we usually like to get the ball out wide and put good crosses into the box or diagonal balls in from the inside right and inside left positions.

“I felt we lacked enough width this time around but the goalkeeper did have to make saves so at least we worked him, which is better than him not having had to make a save.

“Invariably we create chances in every game and very rarely fail to score. Whether it’s enough to win the game each time depends but we’ve certainly got goals in us.”

Ilkeston have lost only once at home all season in the league, the opening day 3-1 defeat to Skelmersdale, and Watson is keen to see the New Manor Ground remain somewhere teams won’t look forward to visiting.

He said: “We’re not losing games here, nor are we conceding many goals, which is a trend we obviously want to continue.”

Ilkeston head to Mickleover Sports on Boxing Day before hosting Matlock Town two days later. They’ll then head north to face fellow promotion challengers Darlington on January 2.

And with plenty of games coming up, Watson is hoping to have a good pool of players to choose from now injuries are beginning to clear up.

He added: “Olly Luto played with an injury against Marine so we’ll keep an eye on him. Aiden Print and Charlie Coulson will start training this week, Liam Marshall will play a game on Monday night and Dexter Atkinson is coming back into squad training so we can give him a week and see how he goes.

“We may lose one or two, of course, as it can happen that way sometimes but it’s good to see those guys coming back into the fray.”