Lowly Steels frustrate disappointing Robins

Jack Watts prepares to fire Ilkeston in front. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
Jack Watts prepares to fire Ilkeston in front. Photo by Rob Stephenson.

Stocksbridge PS 1 Ilkeston FC 1

Ilkeston FC suffered a frustrating afternoon on Saturday as struggling Stocksbridge Park Steels battled back for a point in chilly South Yorkshire.

The Robins were uninspiring throughout and, aside from a fine opening goal from Jack Watts 20 minutes in, struggled to impose their authority on the home side, ultimately paying the price with Nathan Joynes levelling the scores midway through the second-half.

In a poor game with limited clear cut chances, it took 11 minutes before there was a meaningful shot on goal, Steels’ Chris Bettney firing a low effort straight at Chris Martin.

Aaron Hooton’s looping header then found the roof of the net on 19 minutes, but barely 60 seconds later the visitors would take the lead.

A sweeping counter-attack saw Dan Partridge find Matt Richards, and he in turn produced a fine crossfield ball to Watts who beat his man, cut inside and then hit a low shot from 25 yards out which former Ilkeston Town keeper Ben Scott could only get a fingertip to and the ball nestled into the corner of the net.

Watts was in action again moments later as his run down the left ended with a cross that only just eluded everyone and went out for a throw.

Gary Ricketts headed Matt Richards’ corner just over on 34, and Richards, whose winger cousin Kane made a late appearance as a sub, himself was next to go close as his low shot was straight at Scott after being fed by Watts.

Steels had offered precious little thus far but nearly levelled before the break when skipper Richard Haigh headed over the top from Bettney’s free-kick out wide.

The second-half was similarly devoid of much quality on a pitch that dictated any passing football would prove difficult, although even bearing that in mind the Robins’ ball distribution was still poor, particularly in the latter stages.

Hooton’s low ball into the six-yard box on 62 minutes just evaded Laurie Wilson in the middle, while at the other end Danny South’s header from a corner was well held by Martin.

But whilst the Robins weren’t killing the game off there was always a threat Steels would pilfer a goal and so it proved on 66 minutes.

Bettney got the ball in some space out on the right touchline, and his cross into the penalty area was well met by Joynes who powered a header into the far corner of the net.

There were precious few more openings, although Ricketts should have scored on 73 when found by Hooton’s ball in but, slightly off balance, his contact was poor and he miscued his effort wide of Scott’s right-hand post and the points were destined to be shared.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stocksbridge: 1 Ben Scott 2 Nicky Darker (Nick Swirad 54) 3 Tommy Agus (James Knowles 30) 4 Richard Haigh (c) 5 Brett Bowden-Lovell 6 Alex Callery 7 Chris Bettney (Thewlis 76) 8 Matt Hamshaw 9 Danny South 10 Nathan Joynes 11 Ben Turner. Subs not used: Will Senior, Chris Coy

Scorer: Joynes 66

Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Dan Partridge 3 Jake Wholey 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Joe Maguire 6 Jide Maduako 7 Jack Watts 8 Ryan Wilson (Kane Richards 87) 9 Gary Ricketts (c) 10 Aaron Hooton (Kieran O’Connell 76) 11 Matt Richards. Subs not used: Russell Cooke, James Reid, James Cullingworth

Scorer: Watts 20 Att: 185 Ref: J Hull

Star Robin: Jack Watts

by Mark Duffy