North Ferriby Utd 1 Ilkeston FC 1
Ryan Kendall struck a late equaliser to deny Ilkeston a hard-earned victory at league leaders North Ferriby United on Tuesday night.
A draw was still an excellent result for the Robins who defended superbly throughout as they sought to protect the lead given to them by Gary Ricketts midway through the first-half.
And although Ferriby deserved their goal considering the amount of possession they had during the game, the timing of it will have been a tough pill for the visitors to swallow.
Ilkeston started well and James Reid’s dipping volley from 30 yards in the first minute was well tipped over by keeper Adam Nicklin.
At the other end Danny Clarke had an effort pushed away by returning stopper Chris Martin, and the same player looped a header too high on ten minutes.
But a golden chance came Ferriby’s way three minutes later and it was from the penalty spot. There were few complaints after Joe Wilcox fouled Ryan Williams but when the tricky United winger got up to take the penalty his effort was pushed away well by Martin low to his left - the second penalty save by an Ilkeston goalkeeper in the space of three days.
And after Reid had seen a long-range free-kick pushed away by Nicklin, the Robins made Ferriby pay for their earlier miss by taking the lead on 22 minutes.
Joe Maguire, a superb performer throughout for Ilkeston, floated a free-kick into the penalty area from just inside the United half and Ricketts, with his back to goal, flicked a fine header into the net.
Williams then hit the bar with a cross-come-shot on 31 and Kendall and Fry both saw efforts go close before the break as the home side fought to get back in the game.
The second-half saw United dominate possession but for so long they were wasteful in the final third.
Fry, Kendall, Clarke and Chris Bolder all saw efforts drift wide or be gathered by Martin, while at the other end Laurie Wilson’s low drive was dealt with by Nicklin.
But with two minutes to go of normal time Ferriby struck, when Kendall found space in the penalty area before finding the net despite Martin getting a heavy touch on the ball, ensuring the points were shared.
North Ferriby: 1 Adam Nicklin 2 Dean Lisles 3 Nathan Peat 4 Liam King (Chris Bolder 36) 5 Steve Ridley 6 Mark Gray 7 Danny Clarke 8 Russell Fry (c) 9 Ben Hunter 10 Ryan Kendall 11 Ryan Williams (Jack Muldoon 77) . Subs not used: Sam Belcher, Tim Taylor, Antoni Pecora
Scorer: Kendall 88
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 James Cullingworth 3 Russell Peel 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Russell Cooke (c) 6 Joe Maguire 7 Joe Wilcox 8 Dion Chambers 9 Gary Ricketts (Aaron Hooton 85) 10 Jordan Smith (Daryll Thomas 48 11 James Reid (Greg Pearson 81) . Subs not used: Jack Watts, Dereece Gardner
Scorer: Ricketts 22 Att: 274
Ref: S Wade
Star Robin: Joe Maguire
by Mark Duffy