This was more than just another one of those days for Ilkeston.
Experienced players failing to step up to the plate in the Robins’ time of need, the majority of the team unable to pass the ball with much conviction and a couple of sloppy goals conceded that made it six defeats in seven games.
There were some glimmers of hope, the individual display of young Chey Adams being the highlight of the afternoon for the hosts as he continues to show great promise for the future if his feet can be kept on the ground.
Otherwise, the hosts looked every bit a team bereft of confidence and while there is undoubtedly quality in the side, the blend hasn’t been right in recent weeks to bring it to the fore.
Despite what was to follow, Ilkeston were up and at it from the off and Gary Ricketts shot too high in a good position after just four minutes following a long ball over the top.
Then Antwan Russell’s search for a much-needed goal looked set to end when he was sent through one-on-one with keeper Shane Bland but after knocking the ball past the Whitby man, he could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
But Whitby weren’t fazed and given their away record - this was their sixth win in seven games on the road this season - that wasn’t surprising.
They took the lead just moments after Russell’s miss when Graeme Armstrong easily won the ball on the edge of the penalty area before drilling a fine low shot past Rob Peet and into the corner of the net.
As it turned out, that pretty much signalled the end of any Robins challenge for points, as Armstrong, Lee Mason and Armstrong again all went close to extending the lead in the opening 15 minutes.
Russell and Ricketts missed half chances to level the scores before Russell was then sent through on goal again by a sublime pass from Adams but this time Bland blocked the Bermudan’s shot.
Mason was Whitby’s biggest threat, twice nearly scoring before then crossing for Armstrong to head inches wide at the back post before the break.
The second-half wasn’t much better from Ilkeston despite a couple of promising openings not long after the break.
Adams had an early run down the inside right channel and a shot that went close, before debutant sub Nick Langford placed an effort from the edge of the penalty area that drifted wide with his first major contribution on the hour mark.
But when the experienced Lee Bullock turned in a left-wing corner at the near post with Whitby’s first real opening of the second-half, the visitors had a two-goal lead they never looked likely to lose.
Kane Richards headed straight at Bland with 12 minutes left and Adams’ free-kick was pushed wide low down by the Town keeper in injury-time, but such a stale display did nothing to enthuse the Robins fans and left them again wondering where the next three points may come from.
Saturday, December 7, 2013:
Ilkeston: 1 Rob Peet 2 Akil Wright (Kane Richards 73) 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 Chey Adams 8 Callum Chettle 9 Gary Ricketts (Nick Langford 59) 10 Antwan Russell 11 James Reid (Jason Stokes 86). Subs not used: Aaron Hooton, Danny Gordon
Whitby: 1 Shane Bland 2 Ibrahim Hassan 3 Mark Robinson (c) 4 Lee Bullock (Kevin Burgess 78) 5 Richard Pell 6 Darren Williams (Tom Portas 66) 7 Shane Henry 8 Lee Mason 9 Graeme Armstrong 10 Steven Snaith (Nathan Mulligan 82) 11 Adam Rundle. Subs not used: Nathan Evans, David Campbell
Att: 370 Ref: Stuart Robinson
Star Robin: Chey Adams
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter - @sportsphotorob)