This was an afternoon where Ilkeston were beaten at their own game.
Having dispatched several teams this season with their slick, quick and energetic style of play, the Robins dared to have an off day on Saturday and visitors Ramsbottom proceeded to dish out a very similar method of punishment.
Neither side looked particularly convincing at the back, particularly during a second-half that saw all six goals arrive in a lively 25-minute spell, but in the end it was newly-promoted United that would take the points home.
The highlight of Ilkeston’s day was yet another assiduous display from 18-year-old Che Adams who continues to look a huge prospect. That belief was endorsed by a call-up to the England ‘C’ squad just hours after this game had finished.
Other than that the Robins were disjointed and, in some cases, disinterested - surprising given how many of their performances this season have seen the exact opposite of that.
The hosts started well. Twice in the opening five minutes, Adams had goalscoring opportunities but first saw keeper Shelton Grant save with his legs when one-on-one and then the youngster took too long when in space and his eventual shot was blocked by a defender.
Ramsbottom had a neat and tidy look about them with a dash of flair and pace added by Osebi Abadaki, who caused so many problems that when he was substituted late on he received applause from all around the ground.
The best first-half openings saw James Reid have a shot saved and another go wide whilst at the other end Abadaki, Gavin Spencer and Dominic Smalley all went close - the latter having a header cleared off the line by Jack Lane.
The real fun began early in the second-half. Just three minutes had been played when Lee Pugh’s long throw into the penalty area saw neither home defenders nor goalkeeper Jordan Smith able to take control and instead Cedric Krou nipped in to glance a header into the corner.
Adams saw two efforts saved by Grant and Spencer was denied by Smith but Ramsbottom made it two on 56 minutes when a free-kick wasn’t cleared and Scott Burton fired home through a crowd of players.
That was the first of three goals in four minutes. Adams drove low into the corner from outside the box to bring Ilkeston back into the game but they were quickly two behind again as Jordan Hulme played a one-two with Abadaki before finishing well.
Rob Duffy and Luke Shaw both wasted half chances for the Robins while Smith denied Joel Pilkington at the other end, before Adams’ perseverance got the Robins back in the game again.
He saw off three challenges as he broke down the right before finding Kane Richards in the middle, and as he was about to pull the trigger defender Smalley obligingly slid in to do the business himself by putting the ball past his own keeper.
But, as before, the one-goal deficit lasted barely 60 seconds as this time Abadaki’s handiwork ended with a cross to the back post where Tom Williams was waiting to score the fourth.
That seemed to end any Robins challenge, and although Richards struck the bar late on after cutting inside onto his right foot, the hosts didn’t really deserve any more than they got.
Saturday, September 20, 2014:
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Luke Shaw 3 James Reid (Kieran Wallace 75) 4 Akil Wright 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Jack Lane 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle 9 Rob Duffy (Rai Simons 77) 10 Kane Richards 11 Che Adams. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Mike Williams, Aaron Myles
Ramsbottom: 1 Shelton Grant (c) 2 Dominic Smalley 3 Lee Pugh 4 Grant Spencer (Malaki Slaven 69) 5 Stephen Mowson 6 Cedric Krou 7 Osebi Abadaki (Dean Philip 80) 8 Scott Burton 9 Joel Pilkington 10 Jordan Hulme 11 Tom Williams (Nelson Mota 87). Subs not used: Liam Irwin, Sam Cooke
Att: 442 Ref: Chris Akers
Star Robin: Che Adams
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Craig Lamont (@_CLPhotography)
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