Jack Blake’s strike wasn’t enough for Ilkeston as a Zeph Thomas hat-trick gave Frickley Athletic a 3-1 Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division win at the SW Jackson Utilities Stadium on Tuesday night.
Frickley striker Thomas, a former player with Ilkeston Town several years ago, netted his treble inside the first half-hour as the hosts blew the Robins away and extended their unbeaten run to six games.
Discipline was the real issue for the Robins as they conceded first from the penalty spot and then from a headed free-kick, before Thomas secured the match ball with a low finish in the 27th minute.
Ilkeston improved markedly in the second period and were rewarded in the 86th minute as Blake curled in a lovely free-kick from a central position, although it was ultimately little more than consolation.
And with an FA Cup first qualifying round match against Rugby Town on Saturday, Gavin Strachan will be looking for a strong response from his team.
The Robins were level on points with Frickley before kick-off but any chance of leapfrogging the South Yorkshire side was jeopardised inside the first five minutes as goalkeeper Evandro Rachoni gave away a penalty.
The Brazilian brought down Jacob Hazel in the box and Thomas duly dispatched the spot-kick to put the home side ahead.
The Blues doubled their lead just 15 minutes later when a free-kick whipped in from the right found Thomas who rose highest at the back post to nod home.
Ilkeston were just recovering from their poor start when they were caught again on the break, a chipped through ball found Thomas in acres of space and the confident striker finished with aplomb.
The home side seemed determined to hang on to the clean sheet as both Dan Udoh and Mike Williams saw good efforts saved.
However, with just four minutes remaining, Blake stepped up and fired a free-kick into the top right corner of the net to give the travelling fans some consolation on the short journey back down the A1.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015:
Frickley: 1 Seb Malkowski 2 Louis Bruce 3 Macauley Parkinson 4 Luke Hinsley 5 John Cyrus 6 Jameel Ible (c) 7 Tyler Williams (Brad Dockerty 57) 8 Simon Lenighan 9 Jacob Hazel 10 Zeph Thomas (Lee Ellam 90) 11 Bobby Johnson
Subs not used: Luke Jeffs, Chris Wood, Peter Fotko
Ilkeston: 1 Evandro Rachoni 2 Joe Doyle 3 Olly Luto 4 Danny Gordon 5 Matt Baker 6 Liam Marshall (c) 7 Mike Williams 8 Jack Blake 9 Lee Ndlovu 10 Dan Udoh (Jonathan Edwards 57) 11 Charlie Coulson.
Subs not used: Curtis Burrows, Aiden Print, Elliott Hodgett-Young, Jahquil Hill