Ilkeston end home campaign with defeat

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As end-of-season dead rubbers go this wasn’t the worst but the end result was an all too familiar one.

Ilkeston huffed and puffed but couldn’t break their Derby-based opponents down, their last home game of the campaign ending in similar fashion to the vast majority of those before it.

With the future of the club seemingly in doubt, the home faithful will have been hoping this wasn’t the last time they’ll be able to see their local team in action - news on a potential takeover not coming soon enough for those concerned they could see another club fade into nothingness.

Their young team again couldn’t really be faulted, this game settled by an own goal from one of the brighter sparks of the campaign, Max Thornberry, but overall the side lacking the indvidual and collective quality to excite those in attendance.

The Robins should have gone in front in the opening minute as Anthony Dwyer pounced on a mistake at the back and squared for Tevahn Tyrell who should have at least hit the target but instead put the ball into the car park behind the stand.

Jaylon Bather’s error then let Jake Scott in at the other end but his attempted lob over Kieran Tonge was too high as the Robins stopper came out to challenge him.

Tonge then did well to get down and save from Adam Baskerville’s close range effort on eight minutes, the visitors starting the game the brighter.

Dwyer then set up Tyrell again following another error in defence, this time Tyrell taking two touches but firing his shot at the body of keeper Lewis King who parried well.

In a game so far full of errors, it was perhaps inevitable one would result in a goal and it did on 25 minutes. A long ball forward for Mickleover looked harmless enough but Thornberry, on as an early sub for the injured Reece Horne, attempted to nod it back to Tonge but his touch only just evaded the goalkeeper and the ball rolled into the net.

A lull in proceedings was ended by Ben Morris firing wide from outside the area on 39 minutes, several injuries causing breaks in play with no less than three resulting in substitutions.

Dante Leverock nearly levelled in first-half stoppage time, his shot following a corner striking the foot of the post, but the break arrived with the visitors just in front.

Connor Paine’s early second-half effort was straight into the arms of King as Ilkeston began the second-half well, Dwyer then shooting just too high after a Tom Gamblen cross reached him at the far post.

At the other end, Scott cut inside and hit a low shot which struck Tonge’s left-hand post before the ball was cleared.

The woodwork was struck again just after the hour and it was Ilkeston’s Gamblen who struck it, his 25-yarder tipped onto the post superbly by King diving to his left.

Another defensive error then presented Dwyer with a great chance but as he ran in on goal he opted to try and round keeper King who blocked the Robins striker’s path.

A free-kick out wide from Adam Baskerville became the next strike to hit the post as it drifted past all in the penalty area, Tonge then making a late block to deny Tyler Blake to ensure Mickleover’s tally remained at just one as the game then fizzled out.

Ilkeston: 1 Kieran Tonge, 2 Reece Horne (Max Thornberry 18), 3 Charlie Scanlon, 4 Dante Leverock, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Jaylon Bather, 7 Ben Morris (Connor Paine 44), 8 Danny Gordon, 9 Tevahn Tyrell, 10 Anthony Dwyer, 11 Tom Gamblen

Subs not used: 14 Ryan Head

Mickleover: 1 Lewis King, 2 Aaron Cole, 3 Ben Turner, 4 John McGrath, 5 Pablo Mills (Drew Ricketts 88), 6 Tom Burgin (c), 7 Jake Scott, 8 Clinton Morrison (Jake Dickinson 83), 9 Tyler Blake, 10 Adam Baskerville, 11 Lewis Belgrave (Will Norcross 38)

Subs not used: Kevin Grocott, Nick Draper

GOAL: Thornberry 25og

Ref: Richard Eley

Att: 251

Star Robin: Tom Gamblen