On paper, this local derby promised much beforehand but ultimately delivered very little.
A solitary goal was always likely to be the difference as the game progressed and so it proved, Danny Holland’s late winner sending the Robins to defeat.
Ilkeston were toothless up front, Gary Ricketts’ absence through illness giving Aaron Hooton another opportunity but he, along with most of the Robins team, failed to make an impact.
For a while, Matlock also struggled to create openings which made for a very drab spectacle, James Reid flashing two shots harmlessly wide in the opening 20 minutes for the visitors, then Joe Maguire flicking a header straight into the arms of Gladiators keeper Jon Kennedy.
It took over half-an-hour for Matlock to fashion a real opening, skipper Liam Needham high and wide from distance, although a better chance then came their way when a good break from former Robins striker Daryll Thomas saw him square for Holland but his shot was beaten away by Lloyd Allinson.
Holland then put a header onto the roof of the net and Ellis Storey denied Needham an almost certain goal with a fine tackle six yards out.
The best moment of the half came just before the break when an error at the back allowed Thomas to square for Holland, but after his first shot had hit the post and Lavell White’s follow-up was blocked, Holland’s second effort was cleared off the line by Maguire and to safety.
The second-half wasn’t much better in terms of pleasurable viewing but Ilkeston did at least appear to have a little bit more attacking vigour, Jason Stokes shooting weakly at Kennedy early on.
The Robins’ best chance came on 57 minutes, when a mess in the Matlock defence saw Hooton get behind keeper Kennedy and square to Reid eight yards out but from the corner of the six yard box, and with a covering defender making things difficult, he put a first time shot with his weaker right foot against the crossbar and Matlock cleared.
The game went quiet once again but in the last 20 minutes or so Matlock began to control the game in a way that suggested it would be they who were more likely to steal the points.
Joe Leesley’s cross was headed straight at Allinson by Holland, and then full-back Micky Harcourt wasn’t far away with a decent strike from just outside the penalty area.
All the Robins could offer was a very weak effort from Reid 25 yards out that Kennedy would once again easily gather - his afternoon far from a taxing one.
Holland was getting plenty of chances and when fed through on goal on 78 minutes following more confusion in the Robins defence he should have done better than screw horribly wide from a slight angle.
But that was merely a sighter for him as two minutes later the winner finally arrived.
Harcourt’s cross from deep was headed clear by Maguire but only as far as Holland just outside the penalty area, and he drilled a fine low shot on the half volley past Allinson and into the corner of the net.
That was to be the last major incident as Ilkeston couldn’t respond despite the late introduction of Bermudan Lejaun Simmons for a debut appearance, and the home side held on for a deserved, if uninspiring, derby day victory.
Saturday, October 26, 2013:
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster 5 David Haggerty 6 Adam Yates 7 Liam Needham (c) 8 Corey Gregory 9 Danny Holland 10 Daryll Thomas (Lewis McMahon 60) 11 Lavell White (James Ashmore 81). Subs not used: Bradley Grayson, Oscar Radford, Matty Leese
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Laurie Wilson (c) 3 Aaron Webster 4 Danny Gordon (Che Adams 85) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 Jason Stokes 8 Callum Chettle (Akil Wright 54) 9 Aaron Hooton (Lejaun Simmons 85) 10 James Reid 11 Kane Richards. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Mike Williams
Att: 498 Ref: T Nield
Star Robin: Joe Maguire
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter - @sportsphotorob)