Ilkeston FC 0 Leicester City XI 0
The thought of a goalless, pre-season friendly would probably send most people running for the hills but this encounter at the New Manor Ground on Saturday was as entertaining as it was useful for Kevin Wilson’s Ilkeston squad.
With Leicester’s side entirely made up of their under-21 stars, the belief was that the Robins would find the challenge much more easy-going than had the Foxes’ first team been the opponents.
And so it proved, as an encouraging display enthused both manager and fans alike.
The first-half saw both sides play attractive, attacking football, and it was a great surprise that no goals came from it.
Robins skipper Laurie Wilson put an early free-kick over the bar, before Leicester’s Harry Panayiotou had a shot blocked by defender Matt Baker.
Ilkeston’s cunning cousins Matt and Kane Richards were pulling the strings for the home side and the latter’s fine work down the right ended with a cross that just evaded trialist Evan Garnett.
Danny Gordon, Garnett and Matt Richards all went close to an opener for the hosts, while Jacob Blyth, George Taft, Michael Cain all tested Rob Peet in the Robins goal who was excellent throughout, a fine point-blank stop to deny Panayiotou also catching the eye.
The cousins Richards then nearly had Ilkeston in front right on half-time, Matt’s excellent skill down the right ending with a cross that fell to Kane whose effort was cleared off the line by Jamie Anton.
The second-half saw fewer chances but still some entertaining football.
Young Callum Chettle showed his continued maturity in midfield and Peet was again called upon to deny Joe Dodoo and Cain in impressive fashion, Panayiotou also missing a sitter from six yards out.
Despite further good Robins openings for Kane Richards, Sam Craven and James Reid the game would remain goalless, but as pre-season tests go this had been extremely useful for both sides given its competitive nature.
Ilkeston: Peet, Cullingworth, R Wilson (Grim 65), L Wilson, Baker, Craven, Chettle, Gordon (Reid 69), Garnett (Wright 92), K Richards, M Richards
Subs not used: Mahon, Mishra, Burrows, Swift, Yeomans
Leicester: Smith, Paratore, Casey, Hendrie (King 62), Anton, Taft, McCourt, Cain, Blyth (Larrauri 46), Panayiotou, Dodoo
Subs not used: Sharpe, Ngoma
by Mark Duffy