Ilkeston 0-1 Matlock Town
Matlock were good value for their derby win at the New Manor Ground on Monday as they inflicted just a second home league defeat of the season on the Robins.
Charlie Dawes’ first goal for the Gladiators five minutes before half time was enough to send the points back north and that margin might have been increased with steadier finishing from Mark Hume’s team.
As for Ilkeston, they are a good footballing side, pleasing on the eye, but on the day they had little end product, due in no short measure to the industry shown by Matlock who gave them little time on the ball and did a professional job on their younger opponents.
After the disappointment of defeat at home to Buxton in the Boxing Day derby, Hume and the Matlock fans were looking for a positive response, and that is precisely what they got. A hamstring injury ruled out Micky Harcourt so Jason Paling deputised at right back, Craig Nelthorpe slotting into the other full back spot in place of the ill Ben Algar with Dawes making his first start since arriving from Mickleover Sports just over a week earlier.
A closely contested opening saw little in the way of goalmouth activity as Ilkeston having lost the toss, were forced to kick towards their favoured second half Clocktower Stand end in the opening half. Their Brazilian goalkeeper Evandro Rachoni claimed he was impeded as his throw only found the busy Craig Nelthorpe whose shot was blocked before the action moved swiftly to the other end. Ted Cribley’s faulty clearance was collected by Joe Doyle whose low shot was comfortably held by George Willis.
But Matlock were tremendously unfortunate not to go in front in style on the quarter of an hour mark, Paling supporting the attack superbly to crash a ferocious thirty yarder against the bar with Rachoni well beaten. Shortly afterwards a sharp Matlock side had another opportunity with Niall McManus finding space in the box only to shoot into Rachoni’s arms. A couple of quick Matlock corners soon followed before the pressure was relieved and Ilkeston gained a free kick twenty five yards out which JJ Blake aimed low but Willis was on his toes to safely gather.
Another Ilkeston free kick again taken by Blake came to nothing with the Gladiators defensive wall doing its job and as Ilkeston had a period of pressure for the first time, a mis-hit Danny Udoh shot failed to trouble Willis who was being excellently protected by his defenders.
Joel Purkiss fired speculatively over and a great leap and header from Liam Needham was claimed by Rachoni before the decisive moment when McManus broke down the right and although his low centre eluded Purkiss, DAWES picked up the pieces in space to shoot low off a post past Rachoni.
Adam Yates did well to block a strike from Joe Doyle but Matlock threatened again as a Purkiss drive was charged down in the box before the half time whistle.
Immediately after the resumption there was a promising situation for Matlock when Cribley crossed from the right, but behind Purkiss and the supporting Dawes with Purkiss soon afterwards firing tamely at Rachoni from a difficult angle.
Matlock looked in control and had two penalty shouts turned down by referee Bourne in between a twenty yard scorcher from Dawes which flew inches too high. They should have doubled their lead when McManus had only Rachoni to beat but his shot bobbled wide, and another great chance arrived when substitute Dan Cockerline lifted his shot over the bar again with Rachoni left exposed.
The worry in the Matlock camp was the sucker punch, Ilkeston scoring when they should have been dead and buried. That fear nearly materialised in the dying stages when Willis did well to tip over Dexter Atkinson’s shot but despite some late pressure it was a case of too little too late for Ilkeston as Matlock deservedly claimed local bragging rights, completing a league double after an identical scoreline at the Autoworld Arena in August.
ILKESTON: 1 Evandro Rachoni 2 Danny Gordon (14 Lewis Walker 77) 3 Oliver Luto 4 Jordan Wheatley 5 Matt Baker 6 Joe Burgess 7 Joe Doyle 8 JJ Blake (15 Dexter Atkinson 68) 9 Danny Udoh 10 Eli Bako 11 Lee Ndlovu Subs not used: 12 Liam Marshall 16 Haydn Goddard 17 Charlie Coulson
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Jason Paling 3 Craig Nelthorpe 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Adam Yates 6 Nicky Travis (15 Dan Cockerline 72) 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham 9 Joel Purkiss 10 Niall McManus 11 Charlie Dawes Subs not used: 12 Danny Holland 14 Alex Peterson 16 Scott Maxfield 17 Jack Siddall
REFEREE: D Bourne (Nottingham) ATTENDANCE: 593 BEST GLADIATOR: Craig Nelthorpe