League matches involving Ilkeston and Worksop have amassed 354 goals this season so it seemed certain the net would bulge at least once on Easter Monday.
It was a prediction which failed miserably as the two sides cancelled each other out in a match that as a spectacle wasn’t great but saw the Robins deal impressively with what threat the Tigers carried in their quest for the title.
That target was beyond them by close of play but a top three finish was still desired by Mark Shaw’s men to at least secure home advantage in the play-offs.
Ilkeston, meanwhile, ended a run of home defeats which nearly dragged them into the relegation zone and a first clean sheet in 19 league games added a degree of gloss to a satisfactory afternoon’s work, particularly with Worksop having scored 116 times this campaign.
The game started in a manner which suggested goals would flow once again.
Just two minutes had elapsed when Jamie Jackson got down the right pulled the ball back to Shane Clarke who had plenty of space 12 yards out but he took his shot first time and saw it fly high over the stand behind the goal.
Ilkeston weren’t fazed and Gary Ricketts felt he should have had a penalty after going to ground moments later but referee Stewart Richardson wasn’t interested in the appeals.
A free-kick just outside the penalty area from James Reid was then blocked, as was Joe Maguire’s follow up, before the game fell into something of a lull in terms of chances being created with a midfield battle more the order of the day.
Indeed, the only shot of note that would arrive before half-time saw Leon Mettam, on 46 league goals for the season, shoot horribly high and wide from distance in a game where he would fail to show the edge in front of goal that he did in the corresponding fixture on Boxing Day when he scored a hat-trick.
The second-half began in a similar vein to the first as Jackson quickly progressed down the right again but this time his cross was headed wide by the lanky Tom Denton.
Mettam’s half volley from 25 yards was well held by keeper Ross Etheridge and it then took until 82 minutes for the next serious effort on goal, Clarke looping a header well wide.
Goran Seymour was a lively introduction to the Robins attack and when he raced to the byline on 82 minutes his ball into the six yard box was diverted wide by a combination of Robins sub Danny Gregory and a defender.
The best chance Ilkeston would have to take the points came two minutes into stoppage time.
Laurie Wilson was set free on goal in acres of space and when his shot was saved by Jon Stewart, the ball fell to Ricketts ten yards out. He had just a defender between him and goal but somehow screwed his shot wide - not the way he would have wanted to crown what many feel could be his last home appearance.
There was still time for Worksop to nearly win the game themselves as a free-kick was swung in from the right and Denton again climbed highest only to see his header well tipped over the bar by Etheridge who needed a sizeable leap to make contact with the ball.
Proceedings came to a close moments later with a draw a fair if somewhat uninspiring outcome in the Robins’ final home outing of the campaign.
Monday, April 21, 2014:
Ilkeston: 1 Ross Etheridge 2 Luke Shaw 3 James Reid 4 Akil Wright 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ryan Wilson 7 Callum Chettle (Curtis Burrows 89) 8 Laurie Wilson (c) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Courey Grantham (Goran Seymour 80) 11 Mike Williams (Danny Gordon 52). Subs not used: Matt Baker, Rob Duffy
Worksop: 1 Jon Stewart 2 Alex Pursehouse (Warren Burrell 63) 3 Phil Roe 4 Craig Clay 5 Adam Quinn 6 Tom Burgin 7 Jamie Jackson (Evan Garnett 71) 8 Shane Clarke 9 Tom Denton 10 Leon Mettam (c) 11 Josh Thomas (Jack Muldoon 59). Subs not used: Jake Scott, Jake Turner
Att: 530 Ref: Stewart Richardson
Star Robin: Akil Wright
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (@sportsphotorob)