Relieved Watson hails Ilkeston youngsters

Mike Williams fires home from the penalty spot against Whitby. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Mike Williams fires home from the penalty spot against Whitby. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Head coach Andy Watson breathed a sigh of relief after seeing his Ilkeston side finally end their run of defeats this week.

The Robins beat Whitby Town 2-1 on Monday night to bring a run of nine straight losses to an end and leave them ten points clear of the relegation zone.

That result had followed a dramatic loss to league leaders Blyth Spartans on Saturday that saw Watson’s team throw away a 3-0 lead to win 4-3, leaving Watson all the more impressed at the reaction to that setback.

He said: “It was a deserved win. After the massive setback we had on Saturday, we focused on the positives and came out really strongly in the first-half against Whitby to the extent that they changed their formation to try and match us.

“The second-half was therefore a more evenly-contested half and their goal created a more nervous 25 minutes for us, but Jahquil Hill has not had to make many saves at all.

“We created some good openings for ourselves and like on Saturday should perhaps have capitalised on them, but we scored two well-worked goals and their keeper also saved from Mike Williams just before half-time.

“Sometimes we’d make the wrong choices and decisions but they worked hard to recover balls we’d lost. A third goal would have been nice when we were 2-0 up as we were in control and when that’s the case you really need to make the most of it, but although Whitby got the next goal I felt the whole back four did really well as a unit.”

Saturday’s defeat to Blyth saw Robbie Dale net the winner eight minutes into second-half stoppage time, leaving Watson questioning quite why so long had been added on.

He said: “Both sides made substitutions and there were few injuries, I was expecting five minutes maximum. They then got the winner which was certainly past the seven that was added on. It was gutting to lose like that and we definitely have grievances with the additional time but the game is gone now.

“It was an incredible game and the players gave everything and played some fantastic football.”

Watson now believes his side should be safe from relegation, but wants to make sure mathematically as soon as possible, beginning with the weekend trip to fellow strugglers Hyde United.

He added: “We’ve created a big gap now and other teams will have to win quite a few games to catch us, with some of them even playing each other.

“We’ll go to Hyde for what will be a tough game full of confidence after the Whitby win. The players know they can get results now and hopefully we’ll finish strongly.”