Kevin Wilson was left feeling a combination of pride and frustration this week after two contrasting Ilkeston FC performances in league and cup.
The Robins went out of the FA Cup at Stockport County on Saturday despite a spirited display from his young side that saw plaudits flowing the club’s way following the narrow 1-0 defeat.
That was followed by a lacklustre performance as Ilkeston drew 2-2 with Halesowen Town in the league on Monday night, Wilson’s men needing a stoppage time penalty to earn a point.
Speaking after Saturday’s loss, Wilson felt the Robins deserved more from an encouraging display.
He said: “I’m really proud of the players as I thought we were the better side, especially in the second-half, and it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
“We made the better chances including some late on but that’s what the cup is all about, namely taking your chances in one-off games, and that’s what Stockport did and we didn’t.
“We switched off and they punished us by getting in behind and the lad finished the chance well.
“County’s skipper came off at the end and said we were the first team they’ve faced at home this season that have come and tried to play passing football. I reckon if we can play as well as that for 90 per cent of this season then we’ll do very well.”
Whether there was a degree of a hangover from Saturday’s efforts or a struggle to contend with difficult conditions, the Robins couldn’t build on getting an early lead against Halesowen.
A point was ultimately salvaged, but Wilson was disappointed with how his team performed.
He said: “We didn’t play well in the second-half against Halesowen, having passed the ball around much better in the first. Maybe we didn’t get enough shots away then when things were opening up for us in the final third.
“We then got bogged down in the second-half. We want the players to play in a certain way but we got caught in two minds at times, especially with Halesowen pressing high up the pitch, but we kept going to the end and that was pleasing.
“It’s all part of our learning process and one of those nights where, all things considered, you consider yourselves happy and grateful to take the point.
“I’d also like to thank the fans who have been superb this week, not only in turning up in great numbers at Stockport and giving us so much vocal encouragement, but also those who braved awful conditions to get behind us on Monday as well.”
The Robins host FC United of Manchester on Saturday, though they will be without the suspended David Morgan and potentially defender Akil Wright, who picked up a knock against Halesowen.
That game will be followed by a trip to Norfolk next Tuesday night to face King’s Lynn Town.
Wilson added: “FC United always give us a good game and with the number of fans they bring it always creates a good atmosphere.
“David Morgan will be a big loss, while Akil took a nasty knock from a horrendous late challenge that should probably have seen a red card so we’ll assess him nearer the time.”