After all of the dramatic and incident-packed encounters of the previous weeks, perhaps a more drab and uninspiring affair was inevitable at some point.
This game fitted that bill, although Robins fans would have preferred a more positive outcome at the end of it rather than having seen their team fail to score for the first time this season and finish up losing to their old rivals.
The somewhat sterile atmosphere of the wide open South Kesteven Sports Stadium did little to inspire Ilkeston who never really got a foothold on the game at any point, perhaps with the exception of a late flurry of attacks when the game was as good as over.
They started the game reasonably well, James Reid running on to a Gary Ricketts flick four minutes in but firing his shot across goal and wide of the target from a slight angle.
After Grantham’s Jamie McGhee had fired horribly wide moments later, the winger then had more luck with a cross that brought the opening goal on 12 minutes, his low ball into the penalty area met by Robins defender Aaron Webster who powered a diving header into his own net that left debutant keeper Lloyd Allinson with little chance.
Gregg Smith and Deon Meikle both put efforts just over the top from free-kicks into the penalty area, while at the other end a long ball reached Matt Richards but he could only put a weak effort into the hands of keeper Dan Haystead rather than lob it over him which appeared to be what he was attempting to do.
Massiah McDonald was largely quiet up front but he did nearly find the net on the half-hour mark, cutting in from the left and hitting a low shot which Allinson pushed wide at his near post.
Ilkeston weren’t forming too many attacks but when they did, they looked dangerous, and indeed could well have gone in level at the break after Matt Richards got to the byline before finding Danny Gordon in space but the young midfielder, in for suspended captain Laurie Wilson, could only skew his shot wide.
TheRobins began the second-half fairly well and when Ricketts’ knock down found Kane Richards on 53 minutes the young winger could only lob well over the top from the edge of the box as Haystead rushed out.
And Ilkeston would then pay for not taking what chances they’d had as the second Grantham goal arrived a minute later, a long ball forward going straight between the two central defenders and Smith running on to finish well into the far corner.
A mess in defence then saw Smith and McDonald both see shots blocked by Allinson, before Ilkeston’s late flurry saw them threaten a way back into the game.
Sub Jason Stokes was involved in much of the better moments, first seeing a shot gathered fairly easily by Haystead.
Then, breaking into the penalty area, Stokes was fouled seemingly three or four yards inside it, but for the second game running the foul was somewhat bizarrely deemed to have taken place outside the box and a free-kick was instead awarded which came to nothing.
There was still time for Gordon to see a low shot saved well by Haystead in injury-time, but the damage was done and and the hosts could celebrate the three points.
Saturday, September 28, 2013:
Grantham: 1 Dan Haystead 2 Sam Purcicoe (Kern Miller 86) 3 Lee Ridley 4 Deon Meikle (c) 5 Paul Lister 6 Michael Towey 7 Ash Burbeary (Kallum Smith 74) 8 Rhys Lister 9 Gregg Smith 10 Massiah McDonald 11 Jamie McGhee (Emeka Nwadike 81). Subs not used: Gary King, Romaine Graham
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Matt Baker 3 Ellis Storey 4 Danny Gordon 5 Joe Maguire 6 Aaron Webster 7 Kane Richards 8 Callum Chettle (Mike Williams 71) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Matt Richards (Rai Simons 71) 11 James Reid (Jason Stokes 56). Subs not used: Antwan Russell, Rob Peet
Att: 302 Ref: D Bradshaw
Star Robin: Danny Gordon
Report by Mark Duffy (@DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (@sportsphotorob/www.robertstephensonphotography.co.uk)