Ilkeston FC ended the 2015/16 Evo-Stik League campaign with a heavy 4-0 defeat at relegated Ramsbottom United.
In a carnival atmosphere generated by the travelling Ilkeston support, the Robins operated with Curtis Burrows up front, Luis Rose and Dexter Atkinson sat on the flanks. Luke Shaw sat in behind Burrows.
With limited chances in the early stages, both sides were looking for penetrative openings with Danny Gordon and Haydn Goddard marshalling the midfield. Rammy generated the first chance, a surge on the far side from Bevan Burey saw him deliver a wicked cross which Matt Baker failed to clear; Daniel Wilkins then fired wide.
Ilkeston mustered sporadic attacks, Goddard flashed a long range drive just wide before Atkinson’s effort from Burrow’s cross was blocked.
Rose then forced a great save from Grant Shenton who tipped Rose’s curling effort onto the bar from outside the box.
However with 40 minutes on the clock, Ramsbottom took the lead. A loose ball in the box saw Burey hammer the ball into the top corner, then four minutes later it was two.
Another excellent build-up saw Alex Meaney drill a low strike into the bottom corner past Jahquil Hill to leave the Robins scratching their heads at the break.
The second half saw the hosts remain bright; Meaney curled a free kick into the wall before Shaw tested Shenton with a firm shot from the edge of the box after a clever flick from Luis Rose.
Rammy’s build up troubled the Robins regularly and Hill was again alert to deny Wilkins who was slid in by Meaney.
With 64 minutes gone, Ramsbottom made it three. Another elegant through ball sent Wilkins through and he showed composure to finish low past Hill into the far corner.
The damage would soon increase when John Pritchard reacted quickest to tap home Jake Cliffe’s cross into the near post.
Ilkeston grew in frustration as the second period wore on, with loose passes, a lack of tempo and mis-communication apparent in what was proving to be a lacklustre end of season performance.
Too often the Robins would lose the ball in midfield and prevent attacks into the final third, inviting continuous Rams pressure.
The score nearly became five as the ever menacing Wilkins sprung the offside trap and lobbed the on-rushing Hill but the ball bounced over the bar.
Nia Bayunu then had an opportunity but he headed a corner just over the bar.
But the full-time whistle rung on Ilkeston’s 2015/16 Evo-Stik League campaign in what has been an evolving and some-what strange season.
Ilkeston FC Starting XI: Jahquil Hill, Aiden Print, Ryan Head, Max Thornberry, Matt Baker(c), Haydn Goddard, Luke Shaw (Ben Morris 76), Danny Gordon, Curtis Burrows, Dexter Atkinson (Roy Lee 63), Luis Rose (Brandon Clarke 82).
Subs not used: David Jones, Tevahn Tyrell.
Ramsbottom United Starting XI: Grant Shelton(c), Robbie Bromley (Jack Lever 38), Luke Heron, Dylan Smith, Nia Bayunu, Zack Hargreaves (Aaron Smith 63), Bevan Burey, Jake Cliffe (Phillip Edghill 83), Daniel Wilkins, Alex Meaney, John Pritchard.
Subs not used: Joe Shaw, Andrew Smart.