Ilkeston were given their toughest pre-season test yet on Saturday as Notts County’s first team arrived at the New Manor Ground and ran out 4-0 winners.
The visitors dominated possession throughout, emphasising this was very much an exercise in off the ball work for the Robins, although the hosts did show a few signs of life in the attacking third during the second-half.
All in all though it was a match played at the kind of tempo you’d expect for such a pre-season fare and once again will have been a useful workout for the Ilkeston squad with the new season still four weeks away.
Notts had the first threat of note seven minutes in when Izale McLeod saw his effort deflected wide of Ross Durrant’s right-hand post.
Genaro Sneijders’ low drive was then well held by Durrant as County continued to dominate, McLeod also testing Durrant’s handling moments later.
A dull game was finally brought to life with the opening goal on 42 minutes. Wes Atkinson slid a neat through pass into the path of McLeod and the experienced striker finished low past Durrant.
It was nearly two moments later as Jordan Richards found space in the penalty area but his strike was cleared off the line by Matt Baker, that being the last real opening of note for the remainder of the half.
County made nine changes at half-time, one of the subs Graham Burke firing just too high in the opening minute of the second-half.
Matt Baker had a good chance to level the scores soon afterwards but, when faced with a one-on-one against keeper Scott Loach, the centre-half fluffed his lines and his scuffed effort was deflected out for a corner.
Anton Brown twice saw efforts blocked from the corners that followed, but County would soon double their lead on 57 minutes.
Jonathan Forte found Jon Stead on the left hand edge of the penalty area and he drilled a low finish across Durrant and into the far corner of the net.
The third came eight minutes later when Alex Rodman’s volley at the back post saw Durrant scrambling to keep it out, but although he clawed the ball away it looked to have crossed the line before Stanley Aborah arrived to make sure.
Luke Foster saw a half volley deflected over the top at the other end as the Robins sought a consolation, Baker then denied by a fine save from Loach after his diving header from a corner.
Rory Coleman floated a free-kick too high on 76 for the hosts, Mark Shelton even closer with another free-kick a minute later.
The fourth County goal on 87 was similar to their first two, this time Graham Burke receiving the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area and firing across Durrant and into the corner of the net.
Roy Lee’s late attempted lob was gathered by Loach after Shelton’s fine ball over the top, but that was the end of the action as the Magpies cruised to a comfortable victory.
Ilkeston: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Jak Kenworthy (Connor Walters 58), 3 Rory Coleman, 4 Anton Brown, 5 Matt Baker (Max Thornberry 77), 6 Luke Foster, 7 Nathan Arnold, 8 Mark Shelton, 9 David Jones (Roy Lee 55), 10 Ben Morris (Dexter Atkinson 55), 11 Luis Rose (Haydn Goddard 58)
Subs not used: Danny Gordon, Jamie Hannis
Notts County first-half: Scott Loach, Jordan Richards, Jhai Dhillon, Thierry Audel, Mike Edwards, Haydn Hollis, Alan Smith, Wes Atkinson, Genaro Sneijders, Adam Campbell, Izale McLeod
Second-half: Scott Loach, Elliott Hewitt, Jhai Dhillon (Haydn Hollis 69), Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Matt Tootle, Alex Rodman, Stanley Aborah, Jon Stead, Jonathan Forte, Graham Burke