For the second round running in the FA Trophy a late goal from Steve Moore was enough to earn Mossley a draw against higher level opposition and force a replay.
The first half was almost as drab as the weather hanging above the Blue Square North sides New Manor Ground. Only twice beneath the wet and grey sky did the game burst into a modicum of life.
The first occasion was when an early spell of pressure saw Peter Collinge produce an excellent save to deny Gary Rickett as he broke through the visitors defence, followed moments later by an equally good stop to prevent Amari Morgan-Smith from opening the scoring.
Midway through the half it became Mossley's turn to threaten the score line. Steve Settle brought a good save out of Dan Lowson with a stinging shot and the resulting corner, an inswinger from Karl Brown, was somehow bundled off the line by Paul Dempsey as players in white shirts bore down on him.
That proved to be the last noteworthy event of the opening period and the dull first half gave way to what looked like being an even duller second until Ilkeston took a 55th minute lead. Mossley looked to have dealt comfortably with a Town attack but an ill-advised pass across the edge of the box was intercepted by Sam Duncum who, after cutting past Andy Russell, curled a shot beyond the reach of Collinge.
It was only after they edged themselves in front that Ilkeston began to look, albeit briefly, like a team two divisions higher than their opponents. Rickett fired wide when it looked far easier to score and Dan Holmes hit the post as the visitors confined Mossley to their own defensive third of the pitch.
Their failure to take any of these chances proved to be costly when Mossley levelled the score with eleven minutes of the match remaining. It was literally a goal out of nowhere too as even though they'd had the same amount of possession as their hosts, the Lilywhites had barely mounted an attack, let alone managed a shot in anger, since the interval.
Taking advantage of some indecision in Town's midfield, Jordan Goodeve played a pass through the centre of the home defence to Steve Moore. After taking one touch to control the ball Moore drove it low past Lowson with his second to give the visitors a shock leveller.
Not surprisingly the goal gave Mossley a huge lift and for the first time in the half the home team were having to defend deeply. There was to be only one more chance though before the final whistle and it fell the way of the Lilywhites; Russell's powerful header from a Settle cross however could only find the hands of Lowson.
Taking the game as a whole though the draw was probably the fairest result, meaning that both teams will now have to face one another again at what's likely to be an even wet and windier Seel Park.
Report by SJNR
pics by Smiffy