Rob Duffy missed a first-half penalty as Ilkeston fell to a 2-0 defeat in Cumbria on Tuesday night.
That miss, coupled with two late Workington goals, saw the Robins lose further ground on leaders FC United of Manchester and meant their hosts drew level with them on points in the play-off race.
The west Cumbrians could have been 3-0 up after 20 minutes but were denied by some brilliant goalkeeping by Ilkeston’s Jordan Smith.
And it was then Ilkeston who had the best chance to go into the break with the lead after a penalty was awarded for a push by Kyle May.
Duffy stepped up but fired straight at Jonny Jamieson in goal.
Workington continued to dominant in the second-half and were rewarded when Gareth Arnison struck from close range.
Player-manager Gavin Skelton added a superb second five minutes later to seal the victory.
Workington started the match brightly and on the front foot. Great play down the left wing saw Alex Salmon release Alex Newby and his pull back to Scott Allison was deflected wide for a corner.
Salmon was then played through on goal by Allison but his shot was parried by Smith in goal.
Just minutes later Arnison flicked the ball into Salmon’s path and Smith was quickly out to smother the shot.
It was a great start to the match for Reds and they could easily have been 3-0 up within the first ten minutes.
Salmon then had his third clear-cut chance on the 20-minute mark but again Smith won the battle. Salmon got to the rebound with his head but it was cleared away for a corner.
There was then a huge goal-mouth scramble from the resulting corner but no one could apply the finishing touch.
Despite not having a single attempt on Jamieson’s goal for 38 minutes, Ilkeston were awarded a penalty for a perceived push in the box by May.
Duffy stepped up but fired it straight into Jamieson’s hands. It was justice done in Workington’s eyes.
Workington again started brightly in the second-half, harrying and trying to pass the ball at every opportunity.
A long ball was driven into the box by Jake Simpson and May’s glancing header looped its way into Smith’s hands.
Then, Newby slipped Arnison in and his first-time, low shot was well held by Smith. On the hour mark, the ball fell to Allison and his curling shot hit the post, although the linesman’s flag was hoisted in the air.
But despite the lack of a breakthrough, all the possession and chances were with Workington.
Substitute Conor Tinnion had the ball in the back of the net on 75 minutes after a superb ball from Skelton, but the winger was ruled offside.
The inevitable breakthrough arrived three minutes later. The ball was played into the box, Allison’s flicked shot was parried by Smith and Arnison was on hand to smash the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Skelton, who was dominating the midfield alongside Anthony Wright, got in on the act on 83 minutes.
He picked up the ball on the edge of box and smashed a looping shot into the far corner.
The second goal was the least Workington deserved for an utterly dominant display as they saw the game out to claim all three points.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015:
Workington: 1 Jonny Jamison 2 Jake Simpson 3 Sam Smith (c) 4 Kyle May 5 Josh Calvert 6 Gavin Skelton 7 Alex Salmon (Conor Tinnion 67) 8 Anthony Wright 9 Gareth Arnison 10 Alex Newby (Phil McLuckie 86) 11 Scott Allison. Subs not used: Stevie Hindmarch, Matty Tymon, Danny O’Donnell
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Mitch Rose (Danny Gordon 90) 3 James Reid 4 Matt Baker 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Ross Colquhoun 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle 9 Rob Duffy 10 Kane Richards (Jake Wright 83) 11 Mike Williams. Subs not used: Lawrence Gorman, Eli Bako, Curtis Burrows
Ref: Scott Taylor
Star Robin: Jordan Smith