Two-goal Thomas fails to inspire Cup success
Saturday 22 September
Ilkeston FC live to fight another day in the FA Cup after drawing 2-2 with Belper Town but Kevin Wilson's men won't need telling that Tuesday's replay shouldn't be necessary.
Yet again the weakened Robins squandered a multitude of good scoring opportunities and the manager was understandably frustrated that they failed to kill off their Derbyshire rivals.
"It was the story of our season so far ... neatly wrapped up in 90 minutes," said Wilson. "We missed no end of chances at one end and then failed to do our job properly at the other - especially from set pieces."
The Robins certainly did enough to win the game at the first time of asking, despite fielding a heavily depleted side, including the experienced 'spine' of their team in Russell Cooke, Laurie Wilson and Gary Ricketts.
New striker Aaron Hooton, a promising youngster signed this week from Basford United, was handed an instant debut alongside Daryll Thomas, who claimed his first two goals of the season.
But although they put Ilkeston FC in front after they'd conceded a goal on 15 minutes, they failed to press on and get the job done.
The cause certainly wasn't helped in front of a disappointing crowd of 519 when Ryan Wilson limped off with a 'dead-leg' soon after Belper had taken the lead but the equaliser came on 38 minutes when the impressive Joe Wilcox stormed through from the back to set up Thomas.
Wilson's men then created four great chances in the space of seven minutes after the break as James Reid headed over, Jack Watts struck the outside of a post, Hooton shot over after creating a good opening for himself and Matt Richards shot just wide.
A goal, it seemed, would have to come and it duly did after 65 minutes when Watts cleverly picked out the run of Thomas in the inside-right channel and he finished superbly.
But the Robins were ahead for just four minutes before substitute Ashley Longstaff headed in from a corner and although both sides afterwards had good chances, they will meet again on Tuesday.
Added Wilson: "I cannot complain about the performance because the lads did well - especially with so many players missing through injury - but I was hugely disappointed at the manner of Belper's goals.
"We know what Belper are all about but the problem is that some players just don't listen. When we got the ball down and played it, they just couldn't live with us and the tie ought to have been over and done with."