A late goal for Workington saw Ilkeston fall to their first league defeat under Andy Watson as they lost 3-2 after twice leading in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division this afternoon.
On a chilly afternoon in Cumbria, Workington started with intent. They were pressing the Robins midfield and attempting to make runs in-between the Ilkeston back-line.
Ilkeston operated once again with Dan Udoh and Lee Ndlovu up top, Joe Doyle and JJ Blake sat in the holding role with Charlie Coulson just in behind the Robins two strikers.
However after 30 seconds, the Reds were awarded a penalty. Jordan Wheatley looked to have won the ball inside the area but the Referee awarded a penalty. Scott Allison stepped up and hit the post.
Conor Tinnion then threatened with two efforts; the first, a venomous strike which Evandro Rachoni saved. The second saw Rachoni get down low to easily save.
Ilkeston weathered the early storm and began to pass the ball around nicely in the middle portion of the half.
The Robins first attack of the game came on 37 minutes and it brought the first goal. Dan Udoh produced wonderful close control to trick his way into the box and then square for Lee Ndlovu to tap home.
This frustrated the hosts further who had chances but could not find the target. They pressed again; Gari Rowntree’s back post header produced a great flying save from Rachoni who palmed away. Joe McGee’s follow up was then saved again by the Brazilian.
Jake Simpson then came close for the Reds, his stinging effort rising over the bar.
The second half saw the game open up, Workington continued to look for a way back into the game. After 58 minutes the Reds did equalise. Joe McGee found space inside the box and fired low into the far corner.
But with seconds gone, the Robins went straight up the other end and re-took the lead. Udoh layed the ball off to Doyle just outside the box who hammered a strike into the top corner to the delight of the travelling Ilkeston faithful.
Workington once again stayed bright after conceding, Simpson was put through and his effort lacked direction and was straight at Rachoni.
With 76 minutes gone, the Reds were awarded another penalty. Matt Baker committed a foul inside the box and Gareth Arnison converted with Rachoni getting a touch to equalise again.
Ilkeston tried to find a way back into the game, Doyle sizzled an effort just wide of the far corner from the edge of the box. But the Robins were struggling to create consistently and often found themselves dropping back, inviting pressure on.
Arnison was again influential and he nearly created a winner when he slid Phil McLuckie through inside the box but the latter could not get his shot away.
Then late heartbreak for the Robins. Udoh looked to have been brought down inside the box but no penalty was given, Workington charged up the other end and after Ilkeston could not ge the ball away, Arnison found space on the edge of the box and curled into the bottom corner.
Despite defeat, Ilkeston will look to get back on track as we welcome Lincoln United to the New Manor Ground in the Doodson Sports Cup on Monday evening, 7.45pm kick off.
Ilkeston FC Starting XI: Evandro Rachoni, Aiden Print, Olly Luto, Jordan Wheatley (Rhys Dolan 45), Matt Baker, Joe Burgess (c),Joe Doyle, JJ Blake, Dan Udoh, Charlie Coulson, Lee Ndlovu (Curtis Burrows 70). Subs not used: Eli Bako, Danny Gordon, Jamie Hannis(GK).
Workington Starting XI: Alex Mitchell, Jake Simpson, Gari Rowntree (c), Kyle May, Josh Calvert, James Earl, Phil McLuckie, Anthony Wright, (Kingsley Grandison 64) Scott Allison, Joe McGee (Gareth Arnison 72), Conor Tinnion. Subs not used: Sam Smith, Rob Wilson, Rob McCartney.