Nantwich Town: Steve James, Andrew Pearson, Andy White, Andy Keogh, Earl Davis, Mat Bailey (c), Josh Eastwood, Oliver Devenney (Alex Meaney 74), Aaron Burns, Steve Foster (Ben Deegan 86), Nick Haughton (Peter Green 74). Subs: Alex Frost, Sam Wilson.
Ilkeston FC: Ross Etheridge, Akil Wright, Ellis Storey, Laurie Wilson (c) (Che Adams 62), Joe Maguire, Matt Baker, James Reid, Callum Chettle, Gary Ricketts, Kane Richards (Rai Simon 78), Matt Richards. Subs: Ryan Swift (gk), Luke Shaw, Michael Williams.
The penalty spot played a part in another Nantwich Town game on Saturday afternoon as star forward Aaron Burns scored one of two first-half penalties in an even game in which each side led at some stage and Fleetwood Town’s Nick Haughton on loan at Nantwich lit up the day.
The Dabbers lost 2-0 to Frickley last Saturday through two well-converted penalties but unfortunately they could only go half way to banishing their demons.
Nantwich debutant Haughton went down under a clumsy challenge on two minutes yet the referee saw no infringement. The slight forward looked lively from kick off.
Haughton made another effective run on five minutes and nearly put Burns through.
Ilkeston’s James Reid forced a good save out of Nantwich keeper Steve James on seven minutes with a whipped freekick given for an innocuous incident.
Nantwich’s midfield could not keep up with a quick Ilkeston passing move on 10 minutes which led to dangerman, Matt Richards, sprinting in to the channel and having a shot deflected in.
Ilkeston defender Joe Maguire tugged back Steve Foster on 15 minutes in the away area leaving the referee with no choice but to give a penalty. Nantwich top scorer, Burns, despatched it expertly to the keeper’s left.
Kane Richards provided a threat to Nantwich’s right in the first half with a run taking out Mat Bailey and Andy Pearson on 25 minutes before he shot over.
Josh Eastwood did well to battle and cross on 29 minutes but Burns’ shot was blocked.
Maguire was caught out again on 31 minutes giving away another penalty by taking down Burns but the usually clinical spot kick taker saw his effort kept out by Ross Etheridge.
The visitors could not clear a flurry of headers starting with Bailey’s and then Earl Davis’ and Foster’s leap ensured the ball ended up in the back of the net on 36 minutes to the home fans’ delight.
Maguire made up for gifting Nantwich two spot kicks when he slotted home from inside the Dabbers’ area after a corner was not cleared on 51 minutes.
Ilkeston’s irate captain Laurie Wilson, on a yellow card, was taken off presumably as a precaution for Che Adams on 62 minutes.
Haughton showed more fancy footwork on 63 minutes setting up Foster who back heeled for Eastwood but his shot was easily held.
The second half was feisty after a few pairs of opposing players exchanged ‘handbags’ but with Nantwich’s attacking threat dimming but their defence looking more compact goals looked a valuable commodity.
Haughton was a shining light for the Dabbers in the first half but saw less of the ball in the second 45 and after he was substituted with 15 minutes remaining it was up to others in green to get creative.
Ilkeston substitute Rai Simon missed arguably his side’s best chance of the game on 85 minutes as he found the crossbar with his header from a few yards out.
Ben Deegan was at the back post where he loves to be on 89 minutes but his header was tamer than he is capable of and dropped kindly to the keeper’s hands.
Simon had another great chance to make the Dabbers suffer with the last kick of the game but it was a weak effort, a waste, and Nantwich’s James would have appreciated the gesture.
By James Briscoe – Nantwich Town Football Club