Gladiators put woeful Robins to the sword

Russell Cooke (left) does battle with Massiah McDonald. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
Russell Cooke (left) does battle with Massiah McDonald. Photo by Rob Stephenson.
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Ilkeston FC 0 Matlock Town 2

Local derbies should generate plenty of passion, spirit and desire but none of that was evident from Ilkeston FC on Saturday as Matlock took all three points.

The Robins didn’t manage a shot on target throughout this encounter at the New Manor Ground which marked the first time the two Derbyshire towns have come together on a football pitch since Ilkeston’s re-birth.

In a game that was pretty much a damp squib throughout, the visitors were solid and took their chances without having to play particularly well and left Ilkeston boss Kevin Wilson with more head- scratching to do.

The first-half was sleep-inducing stuff andonly really saw one decent goalscoring chance created.

That came 15 minutes in when a Matlock attack ended with Micky Harcourt’s cross finding its way to James Ashmore, and after his first effort had been well blocked on the line by Joe Maguire, his second attempt was spooned over the bar from six yards out.

That was about as exciting as it got. The Robins had actually controlled much of the opening 20 minutes or so but only had Gary Ricketts’ header over the top to show for it.

For Matlock, Gareth Davies’ weak shot at keeper Chris Martin was easily dealt with and the same player had another chance blocked on 32 minutes when he met Harcourt’s cross.

Matt Richards hit a reasonable effort too high from distance on the stroke of half-time for the Robins having created space for himself well, but there had been precious little for either side to shout about.

That all changed barely 90 seconds into th e second-half.

As most in the ground took time to rise from the boredom-induced slumber of the previous 45 minutes, that seemed to include the Robins players as Ryan Wilson’s error allowed Matlock an opening and the ball eventually fell to Ashmore just outside the area whose fine low drive found the corner of the net.

Any hope that would rouse the hosts failed to materialise and Matlock were inches away from a second on 52 as skipper James Lukic’s header struck the crossbar from Ashmore’s corner.

And sure enough it was 2-0 on the hour, as Harcourt again delivered from the right and Massiah McDonald flicked a header across Martin and into the net to effectively end the contest.

A few signs of life did become apparent from Ilkeston before time was up, Ricketts’ low shot deflected wide, sub Jack Watts’ header also going close and Ricketts again missing the target with an overhead kick in injury-time, but that was all they could offer and their supporters’ audible disapproval as the final whistle blew spoke volumes.

Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Curtis Thompson (Aaron Hooton 74) 5 Russell Cooke (c) 6 Joe Maguire 7 Jack Eades (Jack Watts 66) 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Daryll Thomas (Jordan Smith 57) 11 Greg Tempest. Subs not used: Greg Pearson, James Reid

Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Phil Roe 4 Martin Foster 5 Adam Yates 6 James Lukic (c) 7 Bradley Grayson 8 James Ashmore 9 Massiah McDonald 10 Anthony Griffith Jnr (Laurence Gaughan 79) 11 Gareth Davies. Subs not used: Joe Leesley, Liam Wilkin, Will Dennis, Nick Buxton (GK)

Scorers: Ashmore 47, McDonald 60

Att: 612 Ref: Alix Pashley (Chesterfield)

Star Robin: Matt Richards

by Mark Duffy