Report: Ilkeston FC 2-1 Nantwich Town

editorial image

Momentum can be a crucial tool in football and Ilkeston currently have plenty of it.

This was their sixth win in a row - four of those in the league - and was achieved with a little more conviction than the victory over Matlock the previous week.

The Robins still did things the hard way by failing to kill the game off and letting Nantwich cause a few nails to be bitten down in the closing stages, but ultimately they did enough to maintain their place in the play-off spots.

Games against sides battling at the bottom are rarely straightforward and this game followed that trend, Nantwich battling throughout even without a great deal of attacking threat for the majority.

It took just 90 seconds for the Robins to create the first opening, Kane Richards finding Rob Duffy free at the far post but having taken a while to get his shot in it was then saved by Terry Smith in the Dabbers goal.

Duffy then had another good chance a few minutes later after Joe Maguire had won a tackle and set Ashley Hunter away. He squared to Duffy but once again Smith got in the way of his shot and the ball went for a corner.

The Robins were entirely in control and Hunter was next to threaten with a controlled half volley low into Smith’s hands, the Nantwich custodian continuing his excellent start to the game by pushing away James Reid’s top corner-bound free-kick on 22 minutes.

Nantwich hadn’t managed to create much at all in the early stages and their first effort on goal was an Andy Pearson header at Jordan Smith from Iain Howard’s free-kick, quickly followed by Harry Clayton being well wide from distance.

Duffy then saw another chance go begging, his looping header striking the crossbar after a corner hadn’t been cleared, but the opening goal would finally arrive three minutes before half-time.

Hunter was fouled just outside the penalty area which gave Reid another chance to send a free-kick towards goal, and this time his low strike went around the wall and past Smith’s dive to his right and found the corner of the net.

The second-half came to life with two goals in the first six minutes.

First, Nantwich levelled against the flow of the game as Matt Kosylo’s fine cross from the right was powerfully headed home by Clayton.

But within two minutes Ilkeston were back in front as Richards received the ball on the edge of the penalty area before beating two players and then finishing well past Smith.

The Robins, having had the scare of the equaliser, were now determined not to let the same happen again and Hunter saw a low volley hacked away by Smith’s legs.

Callum Chettle then blasted horribly over when the ball broke to him outside the area, before the game fell into something of a lull with neither side able to make much leeway.

Nantwich’s Iain Howard flashed a 25-yarder just wide on 74 minutes to signal the visitors’ intention not to lie down, before at the other end Richards burst forward before seeing his shot from distance pushed wide.

A third so nearly arrived on 84 when a corner found Morgan 25 yards out and his fine strike was pushed onto the bar by the excellent Smith, Duffy offside as his follow-up and that of Richards both hit the bar also.

Nantwich nearly made them pay, sub Aaron Burns curling an effort just too high moments later, and then Howard volleying wide when free and in front of goal as the game entered stoppage time, but the Robins held out and their fine form continued.

Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 James Reid, 3 Luke Shaw, 4 Matt Baker, 5 Joe Maguire (c), 6 Jack Lane, 7 David Morgan, 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Rob Duffy, 10 Kane Richards, 11 Ashley Hunter (Mike Williams 90)

Subs not used: 12 Akil Wright, 15 Eli Bako, 16 Rai Simons, 17 Danny Gordon

Nantwich: 1 Terry Smith, 2 John Disney, 3 Andy White, 4 Kyle Blake, 5 Andy Pearson, 6 Mat Bailey (Adam Jones 87), 7 Matt Kosylo, 8 Iain Howard, 9 Mark Winslade, 10 Harry Clayton, 11 Steve Jones (Aaron Burns 67)

Subs not used: 15 Peter Green, 16 Mark Jones, 17 Adam Pepper

Ref: Steve Meredith

Assts: P Buck, J Bancroft

Att: 402

Best Robin: Kane Richards

Report by Mark Duffy

Twitter - @DuffersSport