Robins prove too strong for Wrens

Ilkeston FC's Gary Ricketts gets up to head home his side's second goal at Rainworth on Saturday.
Ilkeston FC's Gary Ricketts gets up to head home his side's second goal at Rainworth on Saturday.

ILKESTON maintained their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik League Division One South table with a resounding win at basement side Rainworth on Saturday.

Evo-Stik Division One South

RAINWORTH MW 1

Mark Camm 82

ILKESTON FC 3

Ricky Hanson 24og

Gary Ricketts 30

Daryll Thomas 44, 84

by John Lomas

ILKESTON maintained their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik League Division One South table with a resounding win at basement side Rainworth on Saturday.

Three first-half goals set the tone for the success in front of the biggest crowd of the season at the Welfare Ground.

Rainworth, under the management of Kevin Gee for the first time, had the first sight of goal on five minutes when Nathan Adams controlled a clearance 20 yards from goal and sent a dipping shot just over the angle.

But Ilkeston finally began to exert some pressure and the Wrens had to defend a free-kick, a dangerous far post ball in from Liam Green and then saw Adam Colton just lose control at the vital moment after bursting into the box via a one-two with Gary Ricketts.

There was more worry for the home side when Tommy Hannigan tried to head away as Joe McCormack came to collect, causing a scramble.

However, Danny Bacon almost sneaked Rainworth the lead with an ambitious 35-yard effort that threatened to dip under the bar until Ben Gathercole reached up to turn it over.

Debutant Matt Richards then tested McCormack with a curling 25-yard free-kick which the home keeper blocked high to his left.

The visitors continued to look the more dangerous and Rainworth had a double let off on 23 minutes as, from a right wing corner, Ricketts thundered a header against the bar and then Joe Maguire saw his headed follow-up blocked on the line.

But the Robins only had to wait another minute to take the lead. James Cullingworth sent a free-kick into the box where keeper McCormack came for the ball but failed to collect and the loose ball inadvertently cannoned off Ricky Hanson into his own net.

Ilkeston doubled that lead on the half-hour mark as hot-shot Ricketts showed his aerial prowess, rising to plant a superb header in off the left post at the back stick from an inch-perfect cross by the excellent Cullingworth from the right.

Hanson floated in a tempting far post cross for Rainworth on 36 minutes which no one was able to get a finishing touch to, then Ant Lynam was well over on the turn as the Wrens battled for a way back into the contest.

However, it was the Robins who were singing loudly again a minute from the break – and this time it was Ricketts who was the provider.

His lofted forward ball was controlled on the run by the lively Daryll Thomas who forced McCormack into a good block with his initial low shot, but the ball rolled back to Thomas who steadied himself to execute a perfectly controlled follow-up that flashed past the helpless McCormack.

Within six minutes of the restart it took a superb one-handed save to his left by McCormack to prevent Richards making it four with a low shot, Hannigan there to hook the loose ball clear.

Ilkeston should have made it 4-0 on a swift counter-attack down the right. Tyrell Waite drilled in a superb low ball inviting a first time finish from the incoming Thomas which he smashed high over the bar from eight yards.

Instead it was the home side who finally opened their account. Bacon’s attempted finish from the left of the box was mis-hit, but the ball screwed across goal where a grateful Mark Camm was free to head home from close in.

However, three minutes later the Robins quickly restored their three-goal cushion.

McCormack came for a low ball in from the right by Waite but failed to collect as, amid a scramble, Thomas finally rammed the loose ball home from close range to round off the win.

Ilkeston: 1 Ben Gathercole 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Adam Colton 5 Josh Hill 6 Joe Maguire 7 Joe Wilcox 8 Liam Green 9 Gary Ricketts (Tyrell Waite 78) 10 Daryll Thomas 11 Matt Richards (Ashley Robinson 85) Subs not used: Dan Partridge, Fabian Smith, Aaron Butcher (GK) Att: 353

Star Man: Gary Ricketts