Report: Ilkeston FC 1-1 Whitby Town

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Just over two months ago Ilkeston won 3-1 at Whitby Town and haven’t lost a match since.

This was game 15 of a fine unbeaten run although there were times during it that Whitby looked as if they were going to get their own back for the defeat on their own patch.

The Robins were poor in the first-half but deservedly earned a point in the second, Whitby too earning credit for a hard-working display.

And with the old adage of picking up points when not at your best having been raised on a few occasions during this run, this was another example of a game that could be looked back on by Ilkeston as crucial come the end of the season.

Whitby started by far the better side and Kevin Burgess had their first good chance on seven minutes when his header from a left-wing free-kick was well tipped over by Jordan Smith in the Robins goal.

Richard Pell then hooked an effort over the top as the visitors continued to keep control of the game, indeed it took Ilkeston 28 minutes to manage a shot of any note, Rai Simons with a soft strike from outside the box easily gathered by keeper Shane Bland.

Rob Duffy was next to show as a long ball reached him seven minutes before the break, but having seen off a defender he fired wide of the far post from a slight angle.

James Reid then struck a free-kick straight at Bland from 25 yards out and Whitby’s Niall Doran was well wide minutes later, but half-time would arrive to bring a very poor game, especially for the Robins, to a temporary halt.

The hosts started the second-half with a bit more urgency and Duffy was unlucky on 55 minutes when his header back across goal struck the far post before the ball was cleared.

Whitby’s first chance of the second-half brought their goal. A foul right on the edge of the box gave Dale Hopson the chance to shoot at goal with a free-kick, but when his strike was deflected off the wall the ball fell to Niall Doran who steered in from close range.

The Robins got level in fortunate fashion on 71 minutes. A back pass to Bland saw the keeper take a long time to deal with it as he waited for the arrival of the ball onto his right boot. By the time it got there so too had Simons and the clearance struck the Bermudan before looping over the goal line.

The game then became a battle in midfield as both sides tried to gain supremacy, Mike Williams bursting forward but shooting too high for the Robins not long after another promising attack had seen Callum Chettle just unable to get the ball to the wide open Simons to his left.

Duffy headed a Reid cross wide on 86 minutes before the visitors nearly nicked it in stoppage time after David Morgan had been dispossessed, sub Matty Waters blasting too high after being set up by Doran.

Joe Maguire’s 35-yarder sent Bland down to his left to palm away in the dying seconds, but that would be the final action as the game ultimately ended with the spoils rightly shared.

Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 James Reid, 3 Arinse Uade (Luke Shaw 76), 4 Matt Baker, 5 Joe Maguire (c), 6 Jack Lane, 7 David Morgan, 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Rob Duffy, 10 Mike Williams, 11 Rai Simons

Subs not used: Akil Wright, Evan Garnett, Greg Simmons, Eddy Samba

Whitby: 1 Shane Bland, 2 Liam Shepherd, 3 Mark Robinson (c), 4 Kevin Burgess, 5 Richard Pell, 6 Darren Williams (Matty Waters 77), 7 Niall Doran, 8 Dale Hobson, 9 James Brown (Robert Nolan 82), 10 Steven Snaith, 11 Ibrahim Hassan (Matt Brown 78)

Subs not used: Charlie Raby, David Campbell

Att: 471

Ref: N Hobbis

Assts: D Barrett/K Carroll

Star Robin: Callum Chettle