REPORT: Ilkeston 0-1 Matlock Town

Matlock defender Jason Paling shields the ball from Lee Ndlovu. Photo by Rachel Atkins.

Matlock defender Jason Paling shields the ball from Lee Ndlovu. Photo by Rachel Atkins.

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The New Manor Ground has been a frustrating place for visiting teams to come for much of 2015 but this festive local derby saw the roles reversed.

This time it was the hosts who lacked the quality to break down a stubborn Matlock rearguard, only in the final five minutes looking anything like being able to take something from a game where too many poor individual performances proved costly.

That was despite some good football early on that ultimately came to nothing, a second home game in a row where Ilkeston have failed to hit the net and their first defeat at the NMG since the opening day of the season.

The Robins began well and at a good tempo, Dan Udoh’s fine early cross inches away from Lee Ndlovu in the middle.

Matlock’s Joel Purkiss fired high and wide from an angle before Eli Bako’s low shot was straight at George Willis in the Gladiators goal, Ilkeston playing the better of the football in the early stages.

The visitors then nearly took the lead in style as full-back Jason Paling let fly from 30 yards but his dipping shot crashed against the crossbar and was cleared.

Niall McManus saw a low shot gathered by Rachoni as Matlock continued to get more control on the game, JJ Blake next to threaten at the other end as his free-kick was held by Willis.

It was a fairly even game at this stage, even if something of a midfield battle with the occasional good chance thrown in.

Charlie Dawes powered a header into Rachoni’s hands from a Laurie Wilson cross on 38, but the full debutant would fare better three minutes later.

Paling was released in behind the back line and when his pull back reached Dawes at the back post, he controlled before firing a low shot into the net via the inside of Rachoni’s right-hand post to leave the visitors in front at half-time.

Udoh broke into the box early in the second-half only to be denied by a fine last-gasp tackle by Adam Yates, Purkiss shooting straight at Rachoni at the other end from a tight angle.

Dawes was just too high with a half vollley from distance after a Wilson free-kick had been blocked, McManus then shooting wide when he should have done better after being released into the penalty area.

Ilkeston’s product in the final third was again being found wanting, any good build-up play often let down by a poor decision at the end of it.

McManus had two shouts for penalties turned down, the first one perhaps rightly as Rachoni got a slight touch on the ball to send it for a corner after the Matlock man had touched it past him, then Jordan Wheatley was lucky as he tackled McManus and failed to win the ball but the referee refused claims for what looked a cast iron penalty.

Ilkeston went for a four-man attack with Lewis Walker and Dexter Atkinson introduced but it was Matlock who should have scored next as sub Dan Cockerline blazed over when found by Purkiss.

Ilkeston were offering precious little quality but got forward plenty in the closing stages, Wheatley skewing an effort well wide with five to go and then Atkinson forcing Willis into two fine saves.

Udoh then flicked a header wide in the dying seconds as everything was thrown forward, but in the end Ilkeston would pay for again lacking the quality in the final third.

Ilkeston: 1 Evandro Rachoni, 2 Danny Gordon (Lewis Walker 77), 3 Olly Luto, 4 Jordan Wheatley, 5 Matt Baker, 6 Joe Burgess (c), 7 Joe Doyle, 8 JJ Blake (Dexter Atkinson 68), 9 Dan Udoh, 10 Eli Bako, 11 Lee Ndlovu

Subs not used: 12 Liam Marshall, 16 Haydn Goddard, 17 Charlie Coulson

Matlock: 1 George Willis, 2 Jason Paling, 3 Craig Nelthorpe, 4 Laurie Wilson (c), 5 Adam Yates, 6 Nicky Travis (Dan Cockerline 73), 7 Ted Cribley, 8 Liam Needham, 9 Joel Purkiss, 10 Niall McManus, 11 Charlie Dawes

Subs not used: 12 Danny Holland, 14 Alex Peterson, 16 Scott Maxfield, 17 Jack Siddall

Att: 593

Star Robin: Dan Udoh