Report: Ilkeston FC 0-0 Ashton Utd

James Reid beats keeper Paul Phillips to the ball after the Ashton stopper strayed out of his goal on Monday night. Photo by Craig Lamont
James Reid beats keeper Paul Phillips to the ball after the Ashton stopper strayed out of his goal on Monday night. Photo by Craig Lamont

As goalless draws go this was far from the worst you’ll see but a point each was probably fair as the Robins met the Robins at a wet and windy New Manor Ground on Monday night.

For Ilkeston, it was all about how they’d respond to a disappointing day at United’s neighbours Curzon Ashton on Saturday, the answer being with a far more compact performance that could have seen them steal all three points.

Equally, Ashton might also feel a little unlucky not to have won given they hit the woodwork twice, but ultimately the sides’ respective promotion challenges are now just the one point better off.

Ashton controlled the early stages and their first clear chance came seven minutes in when Ashley Young’s cross was volleyed over by Kevin Leadbetter at the back post.

Michael Oates then shot weakly at Jordan Smith after Ilkeston had lost possession in midfield, before Ashton skipper Jason Gorton was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after appearing to kick Jake Wright to the floor off the ball but only receiving a yellow card from ref Chris Akers.

Ilkeston soon began to get much more in the game and Rai Simons sent a dipping 25-yard volley into the arms of Paul Phillips 20 minutes in, Leadbetter then going close again with a curler having cut inside at the other end.

Jake Wright’s persistence then saw him fire in an effort past the post from distance having won the ball just outside the penalty area, skipper Joe Maguire and James Reid also trying their luck from range soon afterwards but seeing their efforts also go wide.

Mike Williams’ volley was next to test Phillips low down after a ball was cleared out to him on the edge of the penalty area, but the closest anyone would come to a first-half goal would be in the dying seconds of it.

Ilkeston’s offside trap failed miserably as they rushed out following a ball into the penalty area and Dale Johnson headed against the crossbar when in space.

Gorton headed a corner just wide early in the second-half for Ashton, then Phillips strayed miles out of his goal only to lose possession to Reid out on the touchline but Williams’ eventual shot was deflected wide, Shaw heading the corner over the top at the far post.

Leadbetter was proving a tricky customer down the left and his run and cross set up Johnson on the hour but the diving header was just wide of the target.

Williams then turned his man on the edge of the box before firing straight at Phillips, before good interplay between Shaw and Williams saw the former shoot wide on his weaker left foot.

Things got a bit heated on the touchline when Shaw was sent flying by Jack Higgins who was booked for his late tackle, Maguire also yellow carded for his part in the ensuing fracas.

Shaw was withdrawn hurt and his replacement Danny Gordon fired wide with seven minutes left after being released by Morgan, Maguire then heading over from a Reid corner.

Reid saw a late free-kick from just outside the corner of the penalty area flash just wide of both the post and Jake Wright’s boot, but it was Ashton who nearly stole the points in stoppage time.

A free-kick pumped into the box found Johnson whose effort was superbly blocked by Smith, Gorton’s follow up striking the post and then the ball being cleared from danger, the final whistle bringing a halt to proceedings soon afterwards.

Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 Luke Shaw (Danny Gordon 79), 3 James Reid, 4 Akil Wright, 5 Joe Maguire (c), 6 Lawrence Gorman, 7 David Morgan, 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Jake Wright, 10 Mike Williams, 11 Rai Simons (Brad Fortnam-Tomlinson 86)

Subs not used: 12 Matt Baker, 15 Rob Duffy, 16 Eddy Samba

Ashton: 1 Paul Phillips, 2 Sam Wilson, 3 Greg Pearson, 4 Jason Gorton (c), 5 Jack Higgins, 6 Ashley Young, 7 Kevin Leadbetter (Lee Rick 90), 8 Gary Gee, 9 Dale Johnson, 10 Michael Oates (Martin Pilkington 56), 11 Kayde Coppin (Martyn Hill 73)

Subs not used: 16 Mark Haslam, 17 Steve Halford

Att: 345

Ref: Chris Akers

Assts: D Evans, J Hall

Star Robin: David Morgan