Ilkeston FC 4 Kendal Town 4
Drama jostled with drama and even the half-time break bristled with intrigue as these sides fought at the wrong end of the table.
Two goals down and playing blandly, Ilkeston chief Kevin Wilson was plotting a new ploy in his long managerial career while fans were enjoying a drink.
His substitutes were having a kick-around when first Gary Ricketts was summoned to the changing room, followed by Daryll Thomas and Jack Watts. In 46 minutes, all three forwards were in action.
“Jose Mourinho at Chelsea did that. It was a massive gamble but we had to take it,” said Wilson, who had left himself with no cover if anyone was injured.
But at that point, there was little to lose with Kendal taking the lead in 31 minutes. Scott Harries crossed from the left and Joe Bunney netted.
The visitors, forced to experiment because of injuries and suspensions, scored again seconds before the break. Josh Amis was three yards past the far post but was able to volley back across goal and into the corner.
Wilson headed to the dressing room before his players and failed to hear a couple of boos from behind the goal Ilkeston had failed to threaten.
As the second-half began, he could be heard shouting: “Get some tempo.” His men were back in contention within four minutes. Ricketts flicked the ball over the heads of two opponents and Thomas hit a low cross which was collected and steered home by Jack Eades, making his debut on loan from Cambridge United.
So far so good but then it went bad. A left wing cross bothered the home defence and although James Cullingworth scraped the ball off the line in 53 minutes, Alex Taylor rammed it in.
In the 69th minute, Kendal were three goals clear as a long pass released Bunney who ran through to score.
Although Ilkeston’s tactics began to resemble The Alamo, as one fan described it, there was little evidence the siege would work.
Yet there was Ricketts to run across goal and hook home in the 85th minute. Thomas sprinted into the goal to retrieve the ball and get things going again.
Left-back Ryan Wilson, composed in defence and attack, tried a shot in 87 minutes after a scramble and was delighted with the huge deflection which lifted the ball up and over keeper Craig Dootson.
And so the game went into four minutes of added time before a long ball forward from Cullingworth was nodded into the path of Thomas and his low ball across the six-yard box was turned in by Eades at the far post.
Doubtless he and the fans will remember this match for a long time.
So will their Cumbrian visitors, who had top scorer Kevin Leadbetter playing at left-back because of a player shortage.
After the game, he said: “Ilkeston got back into it just by working hard but we should be killing it at 4-1.”
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Ilkeston: 1 Chris Martin 2 James Cullingworth 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Joe Maguire 6 Russell Cooke 7 Jack Eades 8 Matt Richards (c) 9 Aaron Hooton (Gary Ricketts 46) 10 Jordan Smith (Daryll Thomas 46) 11 James Reid (Jack Watts 46). Subs not used: Greg Pearson, Dereece Gardner
Scorers: Eades 49, 90+4, Ricketts 85, R Wilson 87 Kendal: 1 Craig Dootson 2 Naim El-Harratti 3 Ian Kilford (Alex Ralph 83) 4 Conor Qaulter 5 Adam Birchall 6 Marc Joseph 7 Scott Harries 8 Alex Taylor 9 Joe Bunney 10 Josh Amis (Jack Cook 75) 11 Kevin Leadbetter. Subs not used: Seftom Gonzales, Josh Welsby
Scorers: Bunney 31, 69, Amis 45, Taylor 53 Att: 401 Ref: C Grundy (Sheffield) Star Robin: Jack Eades
by Rod Malcolm