Managers are so often keen to stress that results don’t matter in pre-season friendlies but even Robins boss Kevin Wilson will have taken a degree of satisfaction out of this one.
Derby County brought a strong squad to the New Manor Ground, and although neither side really got out of second gear it was still encouraging to see Ilkeston’s youthful troops cope so well with the quality they were faced with.
The Rams should have won the game, guilty of missing good opportunities throughout, but in a match that was ultimately about getting fitness levels up and taking a look at a few new faces, it was a useful exercise for both teams.
The first-half was, for an early-July pre-season friendly, surprisingly watchable.
Derby began with several first team regulars including a front three of Chris Martin, Johnny Russell and Jamie Ward, all of whom featured heavily in their 45-minute run-outs.
Russell saw his seventh minute corner headed wide by Jake Buxton and then a free-kick from 25 yards go just wide of the post.
Ilkeston’s first-half goalkeeper Jordan Smith did well to hold a Martin effort before moments later the Robins had arguably the most clear cut chance of the game as James Reid’s long ball found Kane Richards bursting through the middle but his shot was pushed away by goalkeeper Kelle Roos.
Smith then tipped over a dipping Alban Bunjaku volley and also denied Ward, Martin again and Russell one-on-one before the half was out, Callum Chettle and Reid also seeing shots go close at the other end.
The second-half was far more fragmented with Derby fielding an entirely different side and Ilkeston also having changed their whole team by the hour mark.
Ilkeston’s Eli Bako and Derby’s Mo Shariff both saw long range efforts threaten the goal while Lee Naylor’s free-kick was just too high and Connor Sammon saw a shot well blocked by second Robins goalkeeper Ross Atkins, who also denied Tom Naylor superbly at point-blank range late on.
Ilkeston nearly won it in the dying minutes after mistake at the back gave Courey Grantham a great chance but his shot was blocked by former Robins loanee Ross Etheridge in goal and ultimately a satisfying 0-0 draw would be the outcome.
Ilkeston: Smith (Atkins 46); Gordon (Baker 46), Reid (Burrows 61), Wright (Togwell 46), Maguire (Smith 61), R Wilson (Graham 61), Morgan (Goddard 61, Johal 78), L Wilson (Bako 46), Richards (Grantham 46), Adams (Shaw 46), Chettle (Hopkinson 46).
Derby: Roos (Etheridge 46), Freeman (Medaglia 46), O’Brien (L Naylor 46, Uade 88), Buxton (T Naylor 46), Forsyth (Rawson 46), Allan (Whitbread 46), Hanson (Shariff 46, McDonald 78), Bunjaku (Lowe 46), Russell (Sammon 46), Martin (Santos 46, Thomas 78), Ward (Bennett 46)
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Match photos to follow