Robins prove too strong for old rivals Grantham

Russell Peel celebrates scoring the opening goal against Grantham. Photo: Rob Stephenson.
Russell Peel celebrates scoring the opening goal against Grantham. Photo: Rob Stephenson.
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Ilkeston FC 2 Grantham Town 0

There are victories that are achieved with style and grace and others through biting, scratching and maybe an element of luck. This was undoubtedly the latter.

As two old rivals met at the New Manor Ground on Monday the pre-match expectancy promised much but in the end the they could only produce a poor quality affair on a chilly night.

Grantham had the first effort of note five minutes in when Martin Ball’s low drive was spilled by Chris Martin but the Robins keeper was able to gather at the second attempt as Paul Grimes threatened to pounce.

Indeed, the majority of shots on goal throughout the evening tended to gravitate straight to the hands of the respective goalkeepers - Gary Ricketts next following Steven Smith’s free-kick, Smith himself seeing James Lindley parry a shot on 23 minutes and Ryan Wilson’s low deflected effort gathered by Lindley moments later.

The opening goal arrived on 25 minutes and it wasn’t much to look at in either its build up or execution.

Martin’s long free-kick from deep was flicked on by a defender’s head and the ball more or less hit the onrushing Russell Peel before he got another touch to poke it into the net.

Phil Watt’s header dropped just wide for the visitors before half-time, and just after the interval the same player went close again after a free-kick from out wide but Jack Watts was on hand to volley the ball away from goal as it looked like it may creep in.

More long range efforts proved fruitless for both sides - Ashley Robinson and sub Alex Troke for Grantham and Joe Maguire’s free-kick for the hosts, before the Gingerbreads had their best chance to level things up just five minutes from time.

Sub Conor Higginson was released through the middle but Martin rushed out of goal to execute a perfect tackle to clear, only for ex-Eastwood man Troke to chip back over the keeper’s head from 30 yards but the ball hit the top of the crossbar.

The match was then settled deep in injury-time, as Ricketts’ superbly found James Cullingworth out on the right before running on to sweep home the substitute’s low cross from six yards.

Martin still had time to produce a stunning save that denied Grimes from distance, but the win was assured for Ilkeston and with it a jump up to 14th spot.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 Curtis Thompson 3 Steven Smith 4 Jack Watts 5 Joe Maguire 6 Jide Maduako 7 Jack Eades (James Cullingworth 83) 8 Ryan Wilson 9 Gary Ricketts (c) 10 Jordan Smith (Aaron Hooton 72) 11 Russell Peel (James Reid 74). Subs not used: Russell Cooke, Dereece Gardner

Scorers: Peel 25, Ricketts 90+3

Grantham: 1 James Lindley 2 Jamie McGhee (Sam Purcicoe 52) 3 Lee Potts 4 Deon Meikle 5 Grant Brindley 6 Phil Watt 7 Ashley Robinson 8 Martin Ball 9 Paul Grimes 10 Ben Saunders (c) (Conor Higginson 61) 11 Rhys Lewis (Alex Troke 61) . Subs not used: Sam Saunders, Damian Magee

Att: 427 Ref: Steven Meredith (Mansfield)

Star Robin: Gary Ricketts

by Mark Duffy