This was very much a game of two halves and one which saw Ilkeston continue their good mini-run of home form to claim three points.
It took two second-half goals and the usual scares late on to achieve it but ultimately the win was deserved against what was a fellow top six side before the start of play.
Rushall, now managed by Dutchman Richard Sneekes, provided a stern test although not as much of a rough and tumble one as in past encounters given the different style of football they’ve adopted, this being the first time Ilkeston had ever taken points from their West Midlands opponents.
And yet that scenario looked unlikely at half-time. The Pics had not only dictated most of the play and created the best chances but they’d also taken the lead on 35 minutes to mean the Robins were going to have to do things the hard way.
The goal came from Aaron Williams after a free-kick into the penalty area wasn’t dealt with by the defence, the ball breaking to Williams whose low shot found the net via a post.
Prior to that , Rushall had got in behind the Ilkeston defence on far too many occasions as far as the hosts were concerned and only poor finishing and, in the case of Nathan Rooney’s half volley, the crossbar denied them more goals.
Aaron Farrell had been sent clear by Williams on eight minutes but only found the side netting with his shot, whilst Williams himself skewed an effort wide after Rob Duffy and Joe Maguire had made a hash of clearing a corner.
Maguire would have Ilkeston’s best chance of the half with a header from Kieran Wallace’s corner that went too high, but after the goal Farrell, Williams and Carl Palmer all missed good opportunities to add another before the break.
The half-time break appeared to galvanise the Robins - no doubt helped by a few choice words from manager Kevin Wilson - and it took just seconds for Duffy to force a save from keeper Cameron Belford at point-blank range.
Duffy wouldn’t have to wait long to gain revenge, however, as barely a minute later Che Adams threaded a pass through to the striker who held off a challenge before sliding the ball into the corner of the net.
David Morgan’s long range effort went wide and Duffy headed a Wallace cross past the post before the home side took a lead they wouldn’t surrender on 63 minutes.
Adams was again the architect as this time he did well down the right before squaring to Richards 15 yards out and he neatly side-footed the ball home.
Tyrell Waite appeared for his third Ilkeston debut from the bench and called Belford into action three times to block shots in his lively 20-minute appearance.
Rushall weren’t finished, however, and after sub Charlie Anagho-Ntamark had a flashed a shot across goal on 88 minutes, he was then gifted a golden chance in stoppage time.
Maguire and Akil Wright went for the same ball resulting in neither of them getting it and Anagho-Ntamark had space to fire home but instead he put his shot wide of the post and ensured the points belonged to Ilkeston.
Saturday, October 4, 2014:
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Luke Shaw 3 Kieran Wallace 4 Akil Wright 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Jack Lane 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle (Eli Bako 85) 9 Rob Duffy (Tyrell Waite 70) 10 Kane Richards 11 Che Adams (James Reid 90). Subs not used: Mike Williams, Ashley Hunter
Rushall: 1 Cameron Belford 2 Rhys Thompson 3 Zak Martin 4 Jake Heath 5 Jack Duggan (c) 6 Sam Smith 7 Lee Hildreth 8 Carl Palmer (Aris Christophorou 70) 9 Aaron Williams (Charlie Anagho-Ntamark 80) 10 Nathan Rooney (Ramone Stephens 70) 11 Aaron Farrell. Subs not used: Gavin Caines, Jacob Craner
Ref: M Billingham
Star Robin: Akil Wright
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Craig Lamont (@_CLPhotography)
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