Ilkeston 1 Trafford 1

by Dave Law A SUPERB glancing header by Michael Oates seven minutes from time earned Trafford a precious point in a defence dominated Evo Stik League Premier Division clash at Ilkeston on Saturday.

The home side edged the opening minutes with centre half Joe Maguire heading a left wing corner inches wide from just eight yards.

Shelton Payne then fired over as Trafford began to dominate possession without troubling home goalkeeper Ross Etheridge.

At the other end, Kieran O’Hara saved a low drive by Matt Richards following a jinking run down the left and then Ilkeston right back Cheye Alexander blasted high and wide from 15 yards as the hosts took control.

A brilliant block by Steve Mason thwarted a close range effort by Richards four minutes before the interval and the first half closed with Ilkeston striker Gary Ricketts volleying over from just six yards.

Ilkeston’s wayward and wasteful finishing continued into the second half with Tyrell Waite firing well wide from the edge of the penalty area in the 48th minute.

However, both defences were on top and there was little goalmouth action as the game appeared to be heading for a stalemate.

Ilkeston introduced substitute James Reid to the fray and within minutes he broke the deadlock with a superbly struck free kick from 25 yards that flew into the bottom corner.

Trafford centre back Callum Jones shot over from eighteen yards as Trafford sought the equaliser although Steve Mason kept them in the game with another great block in the 81st minute to deny Kane Richards.

In the 83rd minute Trafford found themselves back on level terms when dead ball specialist Andy Smart swung a free kick in from the left and Michael Oates rose to glance a magnificent header inside the far post past the helpless Etheridge.

Ilkeston pushed forward once more in search of the winner but the Trafford defence held firm and restricted the hosts to just one long range effort by Tyrell Waite that was comfortably held by O’Hara.

The final whistle signalled a fine result for Trafford and a vital league point that moves them four points above the relegation zone. And Garry Vaughan’s side will be hoping to build on this spirited performance over the Christmas period when they play hosts to both Droylsden and Witton Albion in the space of three days.

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