Ilkeston Town signed off their home campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over Littleton on Saturday – their ninth success in a row.
It was an afternoon where the Robins rarely had to get out of third gear, and although Littleton provided sterner opposition than many at the New Manor Ground this season, the result was rarely in doubt.
Ilkeston’s campaign looks almost certain to end with a top two finish given leaders Walsall Wood’s seemingly unbeatable form, but the home fans sounded their appreciation for what has been a remarkable season given the Robins’ formation just three weeks before it began.
Littleton were first to threaten as Jordan Jones’ 25 yarder was pushed away well by Ian Deakin after the Robins hadn’t cleared an attack effectively.
Ilkeston had been slow to settle but went in front on 13 minutes with a goal which owed much to Jamie Walker’s deft through pass to Alex Marshall, the Robins top scorer controlling and then placing a shot into the far corner off the inside of the post.
Chances were few and far between as the game became somewhat sedate, it being half-an-hour into proceedings before Malachi Lavelle-Moore should have made it 2-0 but having received the ball six yards out he was denied by the legs of keeper Brendon Bunn.
The visitors should have levelled five minutes before the break as Jerrel Hylton was sent in on goal but after easing wide of Deakin his shot was first of all blocked by Charlie Jemson and then hacked off the line by Billy Bennett as the ball rolled towards goal.
Ilkeston began the second-half strongly and a good attack ended with Jordan Wheatley’s low shot being cleared off the line by Simon Fitter.
Hylton saw a shot deflected wide at the other end as Littleton responded, then at the other end Alex Marshall saw an effort pushed wide by keeper Bunn right down by his left-hand post.
Deakin then showed his quality once again with a point-blank save to deny Littleton sub Dan Carter whose header looked destined for the net until Deakin’s left hand pushed it away.
Ilkeston killed the game off on 83 minutes and it was down to an awful clearance by keeper Bunn who kicked the ball straight to sub Tim Hopkinson 40 yards out who was able to go around Bunn and roll the ball home from the edge of the penalty area.
Ilkeston: 1 Ian Deakin, 2 Ben Fairclough (Micah Edwards 87), 3 Jamie Walker, 4 Chris Shaw ©, 5 Charlie Jemson, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Conor Green (Lavell White 72), 8 Jordan Wheatley, 9 Alex Marshall, 10 Malachi Lavelle-Moore (Tim Hopkinson 59), 11 Billy Bennett
Subs not used: Martin Lench, Jamie Hannis
Littleton: 1 Brendon Bunn, 2 Shay Palmer, 3 Matt Edwards, 4 Simon Fitter, 5 Dave Edwards, 6 Jordan Jones, 7 Robbie Bunn, 8 Robbie Agar (Dan Carter 12), 9 Jerrel Hylton (Jack Creswell 82), 10 Steve Roach, 11 Dale Edwards (George Westwood 75)
Sub not used: Lewis Clarke
Ref: Sam Anderson