A scrappy win in dreadful conditions and with a clean sheet to boot. This is what Robins boss Kevin Wilson had been dreaming of.
A sprinkle of the drama and chaos that has followed Ilkeston around all season was still reserved for this game, with two penalties, a red card and monsoon conditions part of the show, but the Robins got the three points they just about deserved after not really playing all that well throughout.
The match was never a pretty one for numerous reasons but it looked early on like the hosts would walk it, a lively first 20 minutes seeing James Reid, Kane Richards and Gary Ricketts all go close, Richards’ effort in particular being dangerous and forcing keeper Tom Woodhead to tip the ball over his crossbar.
The Robins’ creative juices then dried up a little with the withdrawal through injury of Matt Richards 20 minutes in, the midfielder collapsing off the ball holding his leg and playing no further part - Jason Stokes his replacement.
Matty Bloor and Luke Hinsley fired warning shots for the visitors who were relying largely on counter-attacks to threaten, Bloor just wide from distance and Hinsley’s shot deflected over the top.
The first of the two penalty kicks came on 36 minutes, when Reid’s sublime through ball found Kane Richards and he was blatantly clattered to the ground by Joe Wilcox after beating the former Robins defender.
Aaron Webster, usually so reliable from the spot, put his effort low to Woodhead’s left but the Frickley stopper did well to push the ball away to safety.
There was always a danger that miss might haunt the Robins, particularly as the weather closed in during the second-half and any kind of fluid football was made that bit harder on a sodden surface, albeit one that held up very well in the circumstances.
The visitors were much more of a threat with Luke Jeffs’ shot deflected just wide, Hinsley robbing Ellis Storey before running on and seeing his low shot saved by Lloyd Allinson, and Jeffs again denied when a corner was cleared back to him.
The game arguably turned in the 74th minute, when after Reid had been fouled by Wilcox on the touchline the Ilkeston man went down clutching his face and referee Anthony Moore flashed a red card in Wilcox’s direction, indicating an elbow had been used to assist Reid to the floor.
That riled the Frickley players and bench with several complaints being directed at Mr Moore, a situation that was then exacerbated six minutes later when he awarded another spot-kick, this time when Joe Maguire was tripped on the edge of the six-yard box by Bloor as a corner was cleared.
Webster didn’t let his earlier miss faze him as on this occasion he sent Woodhead the wrong way for his seventh goal of the season, the fourth of them from the penalty spot.
More arguments from the Frickley bench then saw coach Jon Hood sent to the dressing room as the visitors continued to feel hard done by.
But despite some promising late attacks that threatened an equaliser including a Hinsley header wide in the dying seconds, and a couple of good opportunities missed by Ricketts at the other end to seal the game, the match ended with the hosts saturated yet satisfied with their afternoon’s work.
Ilkeston FC later dedicated Saturday’s win to the family of club secretary Andrew Raisin, who suffered a bereavement on the day of the game.
Ilkeston: 1 Lloyd Allinson 2 Matt Baker 3 Aaron Webster (c) 4 Danny Gordon 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 James Reid 8 Callum Chettle (Che Adams 69) 9 Gary Ricketts 10 Kane Richards (Aaron Hooton 88) 11 Matt Richards (Jason Stokes 20). Subs not used: Akil Wright, Mike Williams
Frickley: 1 Tom Woodhead 2 Joe Wilcox 3 Steven Gardner 4 Jake Picton 5 Sam Denton 6 Luke Jeffs 7 Joe Fox 8 Matty Bloor (c) 9 Luke Hinsley 10 Korey Dyer-Stewart (Andy Villermann 46) 11 Jimmy Ghaichem (Lee Stratford 76). Subs not used: Philip Oniama, Karl Rose, Jon Hood
Att: 517 Ref: Anthony Moore
Star Robin: Joe Maguire
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter: @DuffersSport)
Photos by Rob Stephenson (Twitter: @sportsphotorob)