Ilkeston FC 1-3 Matlock Town
The damage was done in the first half as Matlock thoroughly deserved their third league win in a week at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
Ilkeston frankly were a disappointment as the Gladiators won comfortably, and although the Robins did put up an improved second half showing, the two goal margin proved just too much for them.
Matlock made just the one change from the team which had beaten Grantham in midweek, with Martin Foster replacing Lavell White.
With confidence high in both camps following some good results recently, it was the Gladiators who established a grip on proceedings, creating a chance through skipper Liam Needham who found top scorer Danny Holland, but Ilkeston managed to clear their lines. Then in the 12th minute Holland tried his luck from twenty five yards, his shot flying narrowly wide.
Ilkeston created little in the opening half and looked brittle in defence, especially when Shaun Tuton’s persistence led to Matlock’s opening goal on 25 minutes. He kept hold of the ball superbly in spite of being off balance as his strength and a fine turn saw him feed HOLLAND who poked a ten yard shot just inside the near post.
Former Matlock winger Kane Richards fired well off target from distance but by the half hour mark the hosts were in deeper trouble, as DAVID HAGGERTY swivelled to fire in a loose ball from close range after an Ilkeston clearance from a left wing corner rebounded to him off the unfortunate Ryan Wilson.
They did though have a glimmer of hope three minutes later when uncharacteristic poor defending by Matlock led to the hosts halving their deficit. Nobody picked up KANE RICHARDS from a quickly taken throw on the right and he was able to slide a low diagonal shot into the far corner.
Adam Yates had a header blocked by an Ilkeston defender who knew little about it and quickly the two goal margin was regained when in the 41st minute TUTON scored. The move began from a misplaced pass by Gary Ricketts who was being pressurized by Foster. The midfielder then released Tuton with a peach of a pass which was finished with a superbly executed chip over the advancing Ross Etheridge.
Oscar Radford was forced to withdraw at the interval through injury so Matlock brought on Corey Gregory with Yates reverting to a central defensive position.
Matlock seemed content to hang on to what they had got in the second period which for a local derby, was a non event.
The nearest either side came to scoring was when Ricketts, in an attempt to atone for his error in the build up to Matlock’s third goal, found himself free with just Jon Kennedy to beat but shot wide. Had that gone in on 68 minutes, there might have been a tense finish, but the match meandered on and ended with Matlock still having hopes of threatening the play off places come the end of the season.
ILKESTON FC: 1 Ross Etheridge 2 Akil Wright 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 James Reid (16 Goran Seymour 66) 8 Callum Chettle 9 Gary Ricketts (17 Rai Simmons 74)10 Kane Richards (14 Che Adams 82)11 Matt Richards Other subs: 12 Luke Shaw 15 Elisha Bako
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford (15 Corey Gregory 46) 7 Liam Needham 8 Adam Yates 9 Danny Holland (12 Daryll Thomas 66) 10 Shaun Tuton (14 Lavell White 78) 11 James Ashmore Other subs: 16 Alex Bradshaw 17 Matty Leese
REFEREE: N Hopton (Derby) ATTENDANCE: 501 BEST GLADIATOR: Martin Foster