Youngsters lose out - but do the Robins proud
Tuesday 4 September
Ilkeston FC last night suffered their third odd-goal defeat of the season when they went down 1-0 against Rushall Olympic but Kevin Wilson was quick to praise his young team for their spirited display.
The Robins were without no less than seven players who would have figured in the starting line-up and Wilson gave League debuts to Chris Jones and Ellis Storey at the back, Dion Chambers in midfield and Adam Somes up front.
“I don’t think I’ve ever fielded a younger team,” said the manager. “The average age was 21 but as everyone knows, this club is about giving youngsters an opportunity and I was delighted at the way they stepped up.
“I thought Jones and Storey were exceptional in their first appearances at this level and I was very proud of the way we performed.
“We lost again, and obviously I’m not happy about that. But it augers really well for this club when such a young team can perform in that way. I felt for them at the end because we really didn’t deserve to lose.”
Rushall, 2-1 winners in last month’s first meeting, again proved to be physically tough opposition. But as Wilson added: “We were not overawed and apart from playing with a lot of energy, I thought was produced plenty of good football.”
Jones, a teenage right back who was released by Derby County in the summer, was an instant hit and former Mansfield striker Somes partnered Andrew Osei-Siribour in attack.
Somes and Jack Watts had headers off target as the Robins carved out the best two chances of the first period and although Rushall went in front after 53 minutes, they had to survive a late barrage to hang onto the points.
Sixteen-year-old Ryan Osborne had made a big impact when he and Jamie Clarke joined the action for the final 17 minutes. The teenager forced a fine save from the goalkeeper and Rushall had to really put their bodies on the line in the closing minutes to deny Wilson’s men the point they deserved.
Next stop is the FA Cup trip to Coalville Town on Saturday and supporters are reminded that if that game finishes as a draw, the replay will be at the New Manor Ground next Monday evening.