Having witnessed a key decision go against his side and then another defensive horror show lose Ilkeston FC the match, you could understand why manager Kevin Wilson had steam coming from his ears for much of Saturday afternoon.
Denied what looked a certain penalty in the first-half and then conceding a winning goal following a goalkeeping error for the second time in five days, the Robins headed back down the M6 licking their wounds once again.
Their performance was generally competent enough in a match that was pretty even throughout, a draw appearing to be the most likely result until Josh Hancock’s winner ten minutes from time.
That came about after keeper Lloyd Allinson failed to control Matt Baker’s back pass, and while the ball didn’t trickle straight in as it did against Rushall Olympic it was only a few seconds before Hancock was able to take control and hammer home the decisive goal.
The first 45 minutes saw mostly half chances with Witton creating the better ones, Ally Brown and Hancock going close in the opening ten minutes.
The Robins were then dealt a blow as midfielder Matt Richards retired hurt just 14 minutes in and thus deprived the visitors of a creative spark that, in hindsight, would have been welcome for the remainder of the clash.
Hancock and Kyle Wilson tested Allinson from distance while at the other end Gary Ricketts’ header from a tight angle was straight at Witton keeper Matt Cooper, Michael Powell then heading an Albion corner just too high on 37 minutes.
Three minutes before the break came the moment that riled the Robins boss for the rest of the afternoon as Ricketts was clearly tripped by Ben Harrison in the penalty area but despite the assistant referee initially flagging for a foul, man-in-the-middle Alan Clayton disagreed and allowed play to continue.
That frustrated Ilkeston somewhat and they were dealt a bigger hammer blow on the hour mark when they fell behind, Powell’s neat one-two with Wilson seeing him break into the penalty area and fire a low shot past Allinson and into the corner.
In keeping with the even nature of the game it took barely 90 seconds for the Robins to bite back. A corner was cleared as far as sub Jason Stokes 40 yards out and his diagonal ball back over the top of the defence found Ricketts onside and he smashed home the leveller.
Allinson saved well from Wilson before both Baker and Aaron Webster saw close range efforts blocked following an Ilkeston corner, Witton’s Danny Andrews then striking the inside of a post with a low effort on 76 minutes.
The winner came two minutes later. Baker’s back pass wasn’t particularly dangerous but the ball was badly miscontrolled by Allinson and although he tackled the onrushing Wilson the ball eventually fell to Hancock outside the area and he fired low into the corner of the net.
A seven minute break caused by referee Mr Clayton’s game ending due to injury did neither side any favours and only Kane Richards’ late shot over the bar threatened another goal, the home side seeing out time to continue their own good run of form and in the process consign Ilkeston to their second narrow defeat of the week.
Saturday, November 9, 2013:
Witton: 1 Matthew Cooper 2 Ally Brown 3 Marc Joseph 4 Ben Harrison (c) 5 Rob Bodie 6 Jonathan Breeze 7 Josh Hancock 8 Michael Powell 9 Kyle Wilson 10 Neville Thompson 11 Danny Andrews. Subs not used: Jon Dawson, Mike Moseley, Matt Purcell, Anthony Gardner, Stuart Plant
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Jamie Anton 3 Ellis Storey 4 James Reid 5 Joe Maguire 6 Matt Baker 7 Kane Richards 8 Aaron Webster (c) (Danny Gordon 80) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Courey Grantham (Ryan Wilson 80) 11 Matt Richards (Jason Stokes 14). Subs not used: Aaron Hooton, Mike Williams
Att: 390 Ref: Alan Clayton
Star Robin: Matt Baker
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter - @sportsphotorob)