This was a poor quality game played in atrocious conditions and ultimately one from which Ilkeston will feel fortunate to have taken a point.
After Saturday’s fine effort at Stockport there was perhaps an air of inevitability that this game wouldn’t live up to those standards, Halesowen also having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Conference North opposition barely 48 hours earlier.
But despite a promising start Ilkeston never really got into gear and had to rely on a somewhat fortunate injury-time penalty to steal a point.
The weather didn’t help, persistent rain being blown in sideways by a howling wind and making it a largely unpleasant experience for anyone present, not least those on the pitch.
It took just 11 minutes for the Robins to go in front. Akil Wright was scythed down by a late Elliott Turner tackle that saw the Yeltz man booked and Wright suffer a knock that would eventually see him retire from the match midway through the second-half.
Kieran Wallace took the free-kick which he wickedly swung into the penalty area, a not insignificant touch off the head of defender Curtis Tilt helping the ball into the far corner of the net, to where it was probably bound anyway.
Half chances from distance were then the order of the day, Ilkeston’s Callum Chettle and Halesowen’s Neil MacKenzie and Aaron Ford going closest.
Ilkeston nearly made it 2-0 on 38 minutes when Tyrell Waite cut in from the left and hit a fine effort which rebounded back off the far post, the Robins immediately being made to regret that close shave moments later as Halesowen levelled.
A long ball was nodded down to veteran MacKenzie in space and he made room for himself before firing into the far corner.
Che Adams, watched by a large number of scouts once again, then volleyed just over the top in first-half stoppage time.
The second-half was largely forgettable for the hosts who didn’t even have a shot at goal until the 84th minute.
Before that, Halesowen’s Joe Hull had blazed wide following a corner, whilst Iyesden Christie was gifted a chance when Jack Lane slipped at the back but took an age to get a shot in and keeper Jordan Smith did well to twice get a hand on the ball to deny the veteran striker.
Christie, however, wouldn’t be denied on 76 minutes when he was allowed too much time to control and pick his spot before finishing low past Smith.
Halesowen’s scorers were aged 38 and 37 respectively - old enough to have fathered most of Ilkeston’s starting line-up.
Robins skipper Joe Maguire was the man who let fly with Ilkeston’s first effort of the half, his 35-yarder pushed wide by keeper Matt Sargeant, but just as it seemed an away win was secure, a controversial penalty in stoppage time ensured the points were shared.
Adams broke into the penalty area before appearing to at least partially assist defender Aaron Griffiths to the floor where the Halesowen man then handled the ball.
The penalty was awarded and substitute Rob Duffy calmly slotted it away to leave Halesowen feeling somewhat hard done by, and Ilkeston somewhat relieved.
Monday, October 13, 2014:
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Luke Shaw 3 Kieran Wallace 4 Akil Wright (Matt Baker 72) 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Jack Lane 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle 9 Tyrell Waite (Rob Duffy 70) 10 Kane Richards (Nialle Rodney 70) 11 Che Adams. Subs not used: James Reid, Mike Williams
Halesowen: 1 Matt Sargeant 2 Kristian Green 3 Aaron Griffiths 4 Danny Bragoli (Aaron Ford 32) 5 Joe Hull 6 Curtis Tilt 7 Joel Kettle 8 Tom Tonks (Robert Thompson-Brown 88) 9 Iyesden Christie 10 Neil MacKenzie 11 Elliott Turner Subs not used: Ben Haseley, Chris Lait, Asa Charlton
Ref: S Meredith
Star Robin: Joe Maguire
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
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