Robins go top after fine away success

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Evo-Stik Division One South


Jamie Hadfield 42


Gary Ricketts 67

Darren Caskey 69

Dan Whatsize 74og

by Rod Malcolm

Decisions, decisions. Which horse to back, which t-shirt to wear, do I eat a deep-fried Mars Bar with my chips?

The moral maze was far trickier for referee John Wilson as Ilkeston visited the oldest football club in the solar system, whose memorabilia includes sepia team photos of young men in bowler hats and moustaches as broad as a Yorkshire accent.

His first big moment arrived in the 28th minute when Will McCall raced along the right wing and was felled by the sole of one of Matt Varley’s boots. Ilkeston manager Kevin Wilson leapt from his dugout, team mates surrounded the ref and were quickly joined by Sheffield players.

After a discussion with a linesman, the referee dismissed captain Varley but by half-time the ten men had prospered.

Matt Roney swung over a corner and Jamie Hadfield was awarded a goal after the officials agreed he had bundled it over the line.

The Ilkeston fans, in wonderful voice, were perplexed by the silence of their hosts at such a moment. So they struck up a ditty entitled: “Shall we sing a song for you?” When this failed to elicit a response, their encore was “We don’t care we’re one nil down.”

In a routine first-half, they had been amusing themselves over the order not to enter a shaded area behind a goal. This prompted Cossack dancing over the line and a shout: “Kick him out, steward, he’s sober.”

One fan had asked blond Sheffield keeper Dan Whatsize:z“Is your name Schmeichel as well?” It was tempting the fates, especially as he produced three good saves in a second-half minute from a Russell Peel effort and two by Gary Ricketts.

But the question was about to be answered. James Cullingworth knocked over a free-kick which was turned into the goal area by substitute Andrew Osei-Siribour. Ricketts headed it in after 67 minutes.

Ilkeston were in front two minutes later with the best move of the match, started by Liam Green and finished with a precise low shot by Darren Caskey, wide of Whatsize’s diving body. “Kevin Wilson’s Red and White Army,” proclaimed the visiting fans.

In the 74th minute, the referee awarded Ilkeston the goal needed to thwart any late revival by Sheffield.

Keeper Whatsize raced back to catch an over-egged headed back pass, cradled the ball in his arms and was judged to have carried it into goal.

The Ilkeston fans were leaping with joy as Whatsize protested his innocence. The young keeper later won sympathy from Ricketts, who was close to the incident. “That’s what I call bizarre,” said the striker who admitted he would have been upset if his side had conceded a goal in such a manner.

“At the end of the day, decisions change games,” said Ilkeston boss Wilson, who felt the sending-off was the right verdict. He added: “I moan at my players but I do look after them.”

Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Liam Green 5 Josh Hill 6 Russell Cooke 7 Russell Peel (Andrew Osei-Siribour 66) 8 Darren Caskey (Adam Colton 87) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas (Tyrell Waite 86) 11 Will McCall

Subs not used: Dan Partridge, Aaron Butcher (GK)

Ref: J Wilson Att: 524

Star Man: Darren Caskey