Non League Day brought 560 people to an eagerly-anticipated local derby, but in the end the match was possibly a disappointment as it simmered without ever coming to the boil.
As a dress rehearsal for this coming Saturday’s FA Cup clash at the same venue, neither manager will have learned a great deal. Defences reigned supreme for the vast majority of the contest, goalmouth action being sparse.
Ilkeston had scored 19 times in their opening six matches going into the game but another scoring spree never looked on against a disciplined and well-organised Matlock back four in which Adam Yates, deployed to full-back in place of the injured Micky Harcourt, was outstanding.
Equally good for the Robins was 18-year-old Akil Wright who mopped up everything with the minimum of fuss.
Ilkeston had the first crack at goal on ten minutes when Chey Adams fired wide from the edge of the box from a James Reid cross. Matlock quickly countered as Josh Meade found room on the right to centre for former Ilkeston favourite Jason Stokes whose volley cleared the bar.
But apart from a tame Danny Holland strike which goalkeeper Jordan Smith easily collected, there was nothing to excite the crowd until two chances in quick succession.
On 34 Liam Needham’s drive appeared to be faintly tipped against the bar by Smith before 90 seconds later, Ilkeston’s reply was a Rob Duffy header, brilliantly pushed over the bar by Jon Kennedy, the cross once again coming from Reid on the left.
Kane Richards, who had a loan spell at Matlock two years ago while still on Derby’s books, was stopped in his tracks by Yates at the expense of a corner before the uninspiring half ended with a Holland header dropping wide.
Ilkeston made a bright start to the second-half but again found the Matlock defence in top form.
Yates again timed a challenge to absolute perfection to deny Reid and Oscar Radford did well to block a shot from Duffy.
Adams pulled a shot harmlessly wide from distance before Yates looked for the breakthrough at the opposite end only to fire a 25 yarder wide.
Yates again brilliantly stopped Richards in his tracks before a Duffy strike was comfortably held by Kennedy.
Predictably with most of the Ilkeston squad in full-time training, the visitors looked to be finishing the stronger but Matlock deserved credit for battling their way through to what in the final analysis, was a deserved point.
Saturday, September 6, 2014:
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Adam Yates 3 Joe Leesley 4 Corey Gregory (Leon Osborne 67) 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Jason Stokes 8 Josh Meade 9 Danny Holland (Lavell White 90) 10 James Ashmore 11 Liam Needham (c). Subs not used: Sam Robinson, Matt Andrews, Matty Leese
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Luke Shaw 3 James Reid 4 Akil Wright 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Jack Lane 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle (Kieran Wallace 79) 9 Rob Duffy 10 Kane Richards 11 Chey Adams. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Mike Williams, Rai Simons, Danny Gordon
Ref: Luke Watson
Star Man: Adam Yates
Report by Ian Richardson