Strachan: We’re heading in the right direction

Lee Ndlovu takes control during the 0-0 draw with Colwyn Bay on Saturday. Photo by Craig Lamont.
Lee Ndlovu takes control during the 0-0 draw with Colwyn Bay on Saturday. Photo by Craig Lamont.

Gavin Strachan believes his Ilkeston FC side remain firmly on the right track after they stretched their unbeaten run to four games.

A 0-0 draw at Colwyn Bay on Saturday was followed by a 1-1 scoreline at Stamford on Tuesday, both games against sides in the lower reaches of the table.

And although Strachan was pleased to have extended the run, he feels matches such as those should have resulted in victories.

He said: “No disrespect at all to the opposition but I’ve told the players that when we’re up against sides who are struggling we need to be putting them to the sword.

“On Tuesday at Stamford we started off a bit sloppy and conceded what was a very good goal, but we then started to play really well and we’ve basically been denied by one of the best goalkeeping displays I’ve seen in a while.

“Stamford’s manager told me afterwards that we’re the best footballing side they’ve played so far which is a good compliment. It’s just a shame we could’t quite get the three points.”

Dan Udoh scored his first Robins goal with Strachan adding: “He made the most of his opportunity when Jack McKay went off with a hamstring injury. His game lifted noticeably after he scored.”

Saturday’s draw with Colwyn Bay saw Ilkeston play against ten men for nearly an hour but Strachan’s men couldn’t break down a stubborn defence.

The Robins boss said: “It was frustrating because I don’t think we did anywhere near well enough in the final third.

“When you are up against ten men it can be difficult when they put everyone behind the ball and so it proved. Ross Durrant didn’t have a save to make but our decision making in key areas wasn’t right and we didn’t test their goalkeeper enough.

“It’s another game we will learn from and you could even argue had it stayed 11 v 11 we might have won, but it was good to get another clean sheet and extend the unbeaten run.”

Next up for Ilkeston is a tough test at home to Buxton on Saturday.

The Robins’ county rivals have enjoyed a good start to the campaign and sit in the top three going into the weekend’s games, having taken FC United of Manchester to a replay in the FA Cup last Sunday.

That will be followed by a trip to Stourbridge two days later, another side in fine form with eight wins from their last nine games although they were beaten 4-3 by Ilkeston at the New Manor Ground back in August.

Strachan said: “We just want to carry the run on. We already know anyone can beat anyone else in this division and we know we’re capable. But if you’re not on it on any given day you’ll lose.

“We haven’t come across Buxton yet but clearly it’ll be a tough game given how well they’ve started.

“Stourbridge are also on a great run but we’re proving much harder to beat now and are heading much more in the right direction so we will take the confidence from these unbeaten games into the next ones.”