Report: Ilkeston 1-1 Witton Albion

David Morgan netted the Robins equaliser.
David Morgan netted the Robins equaliser.

They say all good things must come to an end and so it proved at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.

Ilkeston’s winning run is now merely an unbeaten one after this pre-Christmas battle that ended with the points shared despite the home side’s overall dominance in possession.

Witton could argue fairly that they deserved their point having taken an early second-half lead, fought well at the back and indeed threatened several times to steal all three points late on, the Robins again struggling to turn their impressive away form into a home display that would leave their faithful supporters purring.

But a sixth league game without defeat will bring plenty of Christmas cheer to most at the NMG and add more spice to the packed festive calendar ahead.

The teams began with identical formations and that led to them cancelling each other out in the early stages, no opportunities at all created in the opening 25 minutes.

It was Witton who then came close to opening the scoring as Danny Andrews’ free-kick from 25 yards out curled towards the top corner but Jordan Smith got a hand on it to push the ball wide.

The Robins took another two minutes to create their first real opening, Mike Williams - a replacement for Kane Richards who was instead making his debut for Chester - glancing a header just wide from Luke Shaw’s cross.

James Reid’s cross was then nearly converted by Williams after a good passing move but a defender blocked his effort.

As the game entered first-half stoppage time, Ashley Hunter saw a header from Reid’s corner cleared from near the goal line by Sam Barnes, but the sides would go in 0-0 at the break.

Witton were first to show in the second period with a rare attack, Jamie Rainford shooting just wide after a flick on by Jamie Henders.

That being a rare attack meant it was even more of a surprise when the visitors then took the lead on 55 minutes.

Luke Clark’s perfectly-weighted ball forward was collected by Rainford who proceeded to fire a fine half volley past Smith and into the top corner.

The Robins continued to huff and puff without success until the 70th minute when they finally levelled and in some style.

Eli Bako arrived from the bench and immediately was able to get free on the left edge of the penalty area from where he pulled the ball back to David Morgan just outside the box and he hit a low first time shot into the corner of the net.

Morgan had been pulling the strings throughout for the Robins and the goal was just reward for a fine display.

The Robins nearly blew the parity they’d earned immediately, however, an error at the back leading to Henders’ shot being well blocked by Hunter.

The game again fell into something of a lull in terms of chances being created until Morgan put a shot wide with five minutes to go when in a good position, his effort a rebound after Williams’ strike had been blocked.

A mistake by star man Morgan then nearly let the visitors in for a winner as the game entered the 90th minute, sub Luke Gibson able to run on but seeing his shot well saved by Smith, that being the last key action as the points were ultimately shared.

Ilkeston are next in action on Boxing Day with a visit to Belper Town, before heading to Grantham Town on Sunday (both 3pm)

Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 James Reid, 3 Luke Shaw (Eli Bako 68), 4 Matt Baker, 5 Joe Maguire, 6 Akil Wright, 7 David Morgan, 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Rob Duffy, 10 Mike Williams, 11 Ashley Hunter

Subs not used: Elliot Hodgett-Young, Evan Garnett, Rai Simons, Danny Gordon

Witton: 1 Andy Robertson, 2 Anthony Gardner, 3 Zac Corbett, 4 Ben Harrison, 5 John Shaw, 6 Sam Barnes, 7 Jonathan Dawson, 8 Luke Clark (Liam Gibson 74), 9 Jamie Henders, 10 Jamie Rainford, 11 Danny Andrews

Subs not used: Alex Titchiner, Dean Porter

Att: 436

Star Robin: David Morgan

Report by Mark Duffy

(Twitter - @DuffersSport)