UniBond Premier Division FC United of Manchester 3 Ilkeston Town 1
You get stuck in traffic, tumble out of the coach on a chill and windy night. Then things really start to go downhill.
Roared on by a hefty crowd, FC United overcame early problems to set about the Robins with great vigour at Gigg Lane.
Jerome Wright nearly created the opening goal for striker Carlos Roca, whose effort was just off target.
In the 14th minute, the hosts were in front when an Ilkeston defender lost the ball just outside his penalty area. Kyle Wilson was too polite to ignore such a gift, wafting the ball into the net with one sweep of his boot.
Ilkeston captain Lee Thompson led the recovery and was unlucky to see his long range effort just miss a top corner. Had that gone in, fathers would have told sons and grandsons about it for ages.
Robins midfielder Steven Istead, who once played in front of 40,000 at St James's Park, was relishing the battle. He had forced keeper Sam Ashton into a fine early save and was crucial to the equaliser.
Ben Pringle knocked a free kick into his path and the shot was too tricky for Ashton. As the ball ran loose, defender Scott Garner scored his first Ilkeston goal in only his second match.
That 41st minute effort kept the Robins on an even keel, although keeper Chris Adamson had to make a good save from Adam Turner just after the break.
In 54 minutes, United powered their way back in front when Alex Skidmore's fine cross caused havoc. Roca rocked the Robins by turning the ball in from a few yards out.
It was a good goal but not enough to quell the visitors. Istead saw an effort deflected onto the bar and Tom Cahill's header went over the top.
Cahill was enjoying a good spell and supplied Pringle in 74 minutes. Keeper Ashton was beaten by the clever shot and seemed lucky that the ball obligingly struck him on the line.
But United were having the better of the match and signed a guarantee of victory with ten minutes left. The ball ran loose to Roca, who made the art of scoring look rather easy.
Ilkeston: Chris Adamson, Lee Thompson, Paul Hurst, Anthony Church, Scott Garner, Kieran Murphy, Steven Istead (Curtis Shaw 68], Ben Pringle, Amari Morgan-Smith (Jon Douglas 81], Tom Cahill, Sam Duncum (Anthony Howell 45].
Unused subs: Dean Gordon, Dan Haystead (goal].
Referee: P Norris (Altrincham] Gate 1550.