Robins and Ravens can only produce a stalemate

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ILKESTON lost ground in the title race on Saturday as Coalville Town held them to a goalless draw for the second time this season.

Evo-Stik Division One South



by Mark Duffy

ILKESTON lost ground in the title race on Saturday as Coalville Town held them to a goalless draw for the second time this season.

Quality football was at a premium throughout this encounter, bright and pleasant sunshine alleviating some of the frustration felt by those watching on, Robins fans in particular.

For it was the visitors who controlled most of this match but they couldn’t turn their possession into goals, and with Grantham winning at Goole it meant they extended their lead at the top of the table.

Matt Richards had Ilkeston’s first effort, though that’s being kind to it as the ball was volleyed a long way over the top inside three minutes.

At the other end, Ben Gathercole spilled a fairly tame strike from Cameron Stuart moments later but was able to gather before the onrushing Karl Demidh could capitalise.

The game then settled into a quiet spell as both sides struggled to get a foothold.

A good chance was to come Ilkeston’s way on 21 minutes, when good inter-play between Richards and James Reid released the latter down the left and his low cross was met by Daryll Thomas whose first time shot was parried away by keeper Sean Bowles when a goal looked more likely.

Reid then saw an effort from distance drift wide, and Gary Ricketts headed a Jack Watts cross over the top as the Robins began to get a stranglehold on the game.

Watts then had a chance himself as he headed Richards’ cross straight at Bowles, and it wasn’t until the last minute of the half that another reasonable opportunity came along, Richards breaking into the penalty area but seeing his low shot easily gathered by the goalkeeper.

Coalville claimed a penalty in stoppage time when Tom Kellogg went down under a challenge from Ricketts as the Robins defended a free-kick, referee Simon Brown angering the home players and fans by refusing to point to the spot.

Ricketts headed the first opening wide of the second-half after a good cross from James Cullingworth, and a replica effort a few minutes later this time found the hands of Bowles.

And the big Robins striker then made it a hat-trick of openings although it took until the 76th minute for the latest to arrive, a fine cross by Watts nodded just wide as Ilkeston still controlled but failed to make it count.

A rare opening then came at the other end when a long throw was flicked on and Anthony Carney headed a good chance straight at Gathercole.

And they went close again on 83, Lewis Dodd’s curling effort looping over Gathercole and just wide.

Cullingworth went for the champagne moment with virtually the last kick but the ball dropped well wide from his effort 35 yards out, and a point each was to be as good as it got.

Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Joe Maguire 5 Dan Partridge 6 Russell Cooke (c) 7 Jack Watts 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas (Tyrell Waite 80) 11 James Reid (Sam Duncum 87) Subs not used: Josh Hill, Ashley Robinson, Russell Peel

Att: 377

Ref: S Brown (Redditch)

Star Robin: Matt Richards