UniBond League Cup Third Round Loughborough Dynamo 1 Ilkeston Town 2
KEEPER Matt Nurse had a brief and modest stay at Ilkeston but fans had plenty of reasons to remember him after this clash.
Time after time he denied the Robins' forwards and came close to gaining extra time for his Unibond Division One South side. And there might have been a family celebration when his brother Kris gave the Dynamos a shock lead.
Matt had already started his fine night's work by then, twice stealing the ball off the toes of leading scorer Amari Morgan-Smith, who is enduring a long wait for another goal.
In the 32nd minute, Kris was on hand to cut off a gentle back pass from Dean Gordon, which left keeper Dan Haystead in an impossible position. The striker extracted full benefit to score from close range.
But Ilkeston were level in 40 minutes when midfielder Anthony Church picked up the flight of a headed clearance. His volley had to be good to beat the keeper and it was.
After the break, Ilkeston began to dominate the proceedings and that gave them many opportunities to curse Nurse.
And when it wasn't a case of "Carry on, Nurse," the woodwork aided the home side. In 55 minutes, Anthony Howell beat the keeper but the ball hit the bar and bounced away.
In 62 minutes, Howell was in again but Nurse injected more drama into the night with another brave save. When Sam Duncum left the subs' bench and broke through, the keeper rushed out to claim the ball.
Duncum came close again but there was urgent work to be done at the other end when Kris Nurse got in a well-placed header. Keeper Dan Haystead showed his concentration had not lapsed and pulled off a brilliant save.
Ilkeston manager David Holdsworth then brought on new signing Zeph Thomas, a former Rotherham United trainee. In the last minute of normal time, the forward got a clear glimpse of goal but was unable to force the ball into it.
The referee then called for added time and fans were tightening their woollie mufflers and pulling on gloves, expecting a chilly extra 30 minutes.
But Howell warmed them up and brought forward bedtime by surging through and finding his way round the keeper to plonk the ball into the net.
Ilkeston: Dan Haystead, Lee Thompson, Paul Hurst, Anthony Church, Scott Garner, Dean Gordon, Steven Istead (Ross Lindsay 90], Curtis Shaw, Amari Morgan-Smith (Sam Duncum 64], Anthony Howell, Callum Green (Zeph Thomas 77].
Unused subs: Liam Wild, Chris Adamson.