As responses to a heavy defeat go, this was up there with the best of them.
Just two days after the Boxing Day battering at Worksop, Ilkeston produced a performance that featured a bit more of the attacking flair exhibited that day but without as many of the silly errors or the red cards that contributed to their downfall.
Matt Baker’s unfortunate own goal just after half-time did initially look like it would be enough to give out-of-form Fylde the points, but substitute Aaron Hooton struck twice late on to give Ilkeston a deserved win.
The Robins had restricted Fylde to mostly long-range efforts throughout, defending well and attacking in impressive fashion.
The first-half was a largely even affair, Ilkeston keeper Ross Etheridge tested by efforts from distance by Sean Cooke in the opening moments and Luke Denson 12 minutes in.
Then an error at the back by Fylde’s Adam Sumner let Kane Richards run in on goal but his attempt to bend the ball in at the near post from a slight angle ended with it finding the side netting.
James Reid’s set pieces caused problems throughout and a free-kick from out on the right was pushed away by keeper Ben Hinchliffe, while further long range strikes from Matt Blinkhorn, Jack Dorney and Denson failed to trouble Etheridge at the other end.
Ilkeston had created good attacking openings in the first-half and looked set to build on that in the second, but they were suddenly left chasing the game after 48 minutes as Fylde took the lead.
Caspar Hughes swung in a cross from the right-hand side which was never likely to find a team-mate, but Baker helped out by attempting to nod the ball over the bar but instead seeing it skim off the top of his head and loop over the helpless Etheridge and into the corner of the net.
That could have seen Ilkeston’s heads drop but instead they were much the better side for the remainder of the encounter.
Baker was millimetres away from righting his earlier wrong following a Reid cross, while Reid himself saw Hinchliffe tip another free-kick from out wide over the top on 70 minutes.
Bradley Barnes forced Etheridge to push a 25-yarder over the top, but after Gary Ricketts had blazed a shot over the bar moments later, the Robins then turned the screw.
With ten minutes left, Reid cut in from the left and put a cross onto the head of Ricketts whose effort struck the foot of the post, but Hooton followed up to scramble the ball in from a couple of yards out.
Fylde’s Denson forced Etheridge into action again with a low shot from outside the penalty area which the loanee gathered at the second attempt, but Ilkeston were looking like they could snatch a win and that was precisely what they did in the 88th minute.
Reid was once again the architect, winning the ball inside his own half before continuing down the line, playing a one-two with Ricketts and then finding Hooton in the penalty area who saw his first effort blocked but reacted quickest to slam home the rebound to send the healthy visiting support into ecstasy.
Fylde threw everything at the Robins in the dying moments and Baker had to be alert to clear off the line from a late scramble in the box.
Chey Adams nearly made it three but Hinchliffe saved well in the closing seconds, the final whistle soon bringing relief to the visitors after an excellent afternoon’s work.
Saturday, December 28, 2013:
Fylde: 1 Kieran O’Hara 2 Luke Denson 3 Adam Sumner 4 Matt Hughes (c) 5 Tom Eckersley 6 Caspar Hughes (Marcus Carver 90) 7 Dave Hankin (Harry Winter 72) 8 Bradley Barnes 9 Matt Blinkhorn 10 Jack Dorney 11 Sean Cooke. Subs not used: Joe Booth, Aidan Chippendale, Jake Gregory
Ilkeston: 1 Ross Etheridge 2 Cheye Alexander 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Joe Maguire 6 Matt Baker 7 Kane Richards (Chey Adams 72) 8 Matt Richards 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Tyrell Waite (Aaron Hooton 71) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Dadnny Gordon, Mike Williams, Rob Peet
Att: 314 Ref: Ian Johnstone
Star Robin: James Reid
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter - @sportsphotorob)