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Late drama as Ilkeston draw opener at Tamworth

Pitching In SPL Central

Tamworth 1 (Deacon 89)

Ilkeston Town 1 (K Thomas 86)

Ilkeston Town got their SPL Central campaign up and running with a 1-1 draw at Tamworth on Saturday.

Kalern Thomas looked to have netted the Robins all three points with his headed goal four minutes from time to put them in front, but Ty Deacon equalised soon afterwards to ensure a share of the spoils.

Ilkeston had started the game well with Montel Gibson shooting wide in only the second minute and the same player seeing another effort deflected wide moments later.

Alex Troke then saw a shot blocked as they continued to put pressure on, although Saul Deeney then had to be alert at the other end to deny Eoin McKeown’s header.

Kalern Thomas headed Ilkeston's goal.

Gibson was again close with a shot which flew over the top while at the other end, Tamworth’s Alex Bradley had a crack from distance but he too was off target.

His namesake Dan then had to be withdrawn for the Robins after taking a knock, Zak Goodson replacing him and forcing something of a reshuffle in an Ilkeston line-up already hit by numerous injuries.

Before the break, the Lambs had a flurry of other openings but Dan Creaney, Kyle Finn and Alex Collard all failed to hit the target.

Creaney then fired into the side netting early in the second period as the hosts began strongly, Bradley then having an effort blocked by Robins skipper Kieran Fenton.

The visitors responded with strikes from Gibson and Ollie Brown-Hill which found the top of the net and the hands of keeper Jas Singh respectively.

Collard headed wide from a free-kick before McKeown forced Deeney into a save, while Jamie Ward had been introduced from the bench by the Robins and his curling effort had to be palmed away by Singh before Kalern Thomas’s header was also blocked.

But Thomas wouldn’t be denied on 86 minutes as from a corner, he rose highest at the far post and his header found the net via the underside of the crossbar to send the travelling fans into delirium.

However, the joy didn’t last long, as a long clearance found Deacon who got to the ball before Deeney and was able to slide home the equaliser – late pressure from Ilkeston not able to force another goal as the sides made do with a point each.

Ilkeston are back in action at home to Leiston next Saturday.

Tamworth: Singh, Curley, Fairlamb, Mussa, Collard, Finn, Milnes (Hurst 84), Creaney (Deacon 84), Bradley (Jones 75), McKeown.

Not used: Cockerill-Mollett, Cater

Ilkeston: Deeney, Bird (Campbell 81), Wakefield, K Thomas, Brown-Hill, Fenton, Troke, Bradley (Goodson 43), O’Grady (Ward 66), Gibson, J Thomas.

Not used: Hilton, Bukowski

Att: 667

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