Duffers’ Diaries: Defeat to rivals could be a deadly blow in title battle

Montel Gibson in action against Atherstone. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Montel Gibson in action against Atherstone. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Saturday’s defeat to Atherstone certainly brought the Robins back down to earth after a remarkable run of form that saw them emerge victorious from every game they’d played since October 7.

The run had to end eventually, of course, and it was most likely to be against one of the better sides in the division and in turn deal a considerable blow to Ilkeston’s promotion hopes.

It’s not the end of the world as plenty of points remain available to play for, but it could well take another run like the one they’ve just been on for Ilkeston to remain seriously in the hunt.

You could look at Saturday as being a gentle reminder as to what can happen if you take your foot off the gas, and although individual errors didn’t help matters, the Robins didn’t do enough to win the game and it’s a lesson they’ll have to learn quickly from.

That’s particularly the case given they travel to leaders Walsall Wood on Saturday to face the side who are considerable favourites to win the league. They’re throwing plenty of cash it the cause and have scored 84 goals in their opening 22 games, conceding just 18.

Ilkeston beat them at the NMG in December, of course, but taking points off them again will be crucial to really make that win mean a lot in the title race.

I’ve said all along that promotion would be a bonus this year and that’s the vibe one gets from those at the club, but Ilkeston will want to stay on the tails of the leaders as long as possible to avoid the campaign fizzling out.

I’d be surprised if Ilkeston are in the MFL Division One next year anyway, with a lateral move to the East Midlands Counties League likely to be the favoured option I would imagine, and I’d also predict a very different kind of challenge would await them in that league.

Time will tell on all fronts, but defeat at Walsall Wood this weekend would, I’d imagine end any title hopes the Robins might have for this season at least.