Ilkeston FC just don’t do boring games anymore.
Late goals, dramatic turnarounds, red cards, penalties - they’ve all been there in abundance in Robins games this season.
All of that does nothing for the mood of manager Kevin Wilson, who despite accepting responsibility for this result was again left bemoaning poor defensive work and a lack of common sense from his side after this humdinger of a clash with King’s Lynn, who came to Derbyshire on the back of three straight defeats.
Not that it was evident from the way they started. Their pace and energy caused problems for the hosts from the off as they got in behind the defence on numerous occasions.
George Thomson was just wide from distance in the opening two minutes and Daniel Jacob was denied by an excellent Ellis Storey tackle shortly afterwards.
At the other end, Joe Maguire headed James Reid’s corner against the outside of the post as the Robins eventually woke up, and indeed they were then to take the lead on 22 minutes when Reid’s free-kick out wide was turned in by Gary Ricketts six yards out.
It didn’t last long. Three minutes later the dangerous Andy Hall got down the right and his ball into the six-yard box was diverted into the net by Rob Duffy.
And a quick turnaround was complete three minutes later, Thomson receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area and seeing his shot deflect over keeper Rob Peet and into the roof of the net.
Lynn should then have been out of sight when Hall lobbed Peet on 34 minutes but his fine effort came back off the crossbar.
Kane Richards and Ricketts both missed chances to level before the break, but immediately after it would come the first controversial moment of the game.
Antwan Russell burst into the penalty area before ex-Ilkeston Town man Ryan Clarke denied him with a perfect tackle. Not so, said referee Luke Watson, who pointed to the spot, sent Clarke to the dressing room and Aaron Webster netted the spot kick.
Russell blazed too high moments later but then chances dried up for a while in what merely turned out to be the calm before the storm.
Twelve minutes from time it looked like Ricketts had won the game, superbly turning his man before finishing well past Alex Street to once again put the Robins in front.
But King’s Lynn, who had initially done well to block out the Robins despite their numerical disadvantage, wanted their share of the points back - and ultimately ended up with the lot.
Two minutes after Ricketts’ goal, Jacob turned Mike Williams on the edge of the box before firing a stunning shot into the far corner of the net.
Webster then appeared to have clearly been fouled in the penalty area but Mr Watson this time decided against giving the spot kick, and moments later Lynn stunned the hosts with the winner as Jacob broke down the left and passed to an unmarked Jason Lee whose totally mis-hit shot was directed into the net by ex-Eastwood man Ewan Clarke and the visitors celebrated in some style.
Nine minutes of added time, at least four more than were expected, were more than enough for Mr Watson to baffle everyone again, giving Ilkeston a free-kick just outside the penalty area when Reid had clearly been fouled four yards inside it, but a draw would ultimately have been harsh on the visitors and papered over the cracks for the Robins, who had no excuses after throwing away three valuable points.
Ilkeston: 1 Rob Peet 2 Rob Kozluk (Mike Williams 27) 3 Ellis Storey 4 Laurie Wilson (c) 5 Aaron Webster 6 Joe Maguire 7 Kane Richards 8 Callum Chettle 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Antwan Russell (Jason Stokes 61) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Danny Gordon, Rai Simons
King’s Lynn: 1 Alex Street 2 Ryan Clarke 3 Jordan Yong 4 Jason Lee 5 Phil Gulliver (c) 6 Gary Mills 7 Andy Hall (Valter Fernandes 50) 8 Dan Quigley 9 Rob Duffy (Sam Mulready 70, Ewan Clarke 77) 10 George Thomson 11 Daniel Jacob. Subs not used: Steve Spriggs, Ryan Fryatt
Ref: Luke Watson. Star Robin: James Reid
Report by Mark Duffy (@DuffersSport)
All photos by Rob Stephenson (www.robertstephensonphotography.co.uk)