Worksop Town and Ilkeston FC served up a Boxing Day treat as the Tigers ran out 5-2 winners with Leon Mettam notching up his fourth hat-trick of the season, Conor Higginson and Tom Denton getting the other goals for the Tigers.
Mark Shaw made one change to the starting line-up from the side that drew at Frickley, Jonathan Stewart returning from injury in place of the injured Jan Budtz.
Worksop started brightly, Mettam’s cross being inches too high for Denton. But it was the visitors that took the lead on 6 minutes. Kane Richards and Tyler Waite combining to set up Gary Rickett’s who clipped the ball past Stewart.
Matt Richards had the chance to double the Robins lead following a good run into the box, only to be denied by Stewart.
It was Stewart who was the architect of the Tigers equaliser when his quick thinking launched a long clearance to Mettam, who held off his marker before providing a sublime lob over Ross Etheridge on 11 minutes.
Four minutes later the Tigers were ahead as Alex Pursehouse set Jack Muldoon free down the right whose excellent low cross was slotted home by Mettam from 6 yards out.
When Kane Richards collected Matt Richards free kick he turned his marker before firing just over.
Mettam saw a goal bound shot well blocked by Joe Maguire whilst Ricketts headed wide at the other end as the game flowed from end to end.
Only an excellent block by Stewart prevented Ricketts from making it 2-2 from Matt Richards free kick.
Three minutes from half time things got harder for the visitors when they were reduced to 10 men after the assistant referee spotted Che Adams throwing an elbow at Jake Scott.
Ilkeston started the second half strongly. Waite saw his shot partially saved by Stewart with Chris Salt clearing the ball off the line. Then Rickett’s header from Ryan Wilson’s cross hit the bar.
However, on 57 minutes the Tigers doubled the lead when Higginson capitalised on an error by Laurie Wilson, taking the ball to the penalty area before finishing with aplomb past Etheridge.
Four minutes later it was 4-1 with the goal of the game. Mettam controlled Scott’s pass before swivelling and unleashing an unstoppable dipping volley from 25 yards out past the ‘keeper for his 34th goal of a productive season.
Rickett’s beat the offside trap only to see his shot well saved at the near post, and then Kane Richards saw his shot smothered by Stewart as the visitors looked for a way back into the game.
With 5 minutes of the game remaining the Robins made it 4-2 when Salt diverted Matt Richards shot into his own goal.
Quick thinking at a free kick by Scott caught the visitors defence napping as he released Pursehouse free down the right whose powerfully driven cross was headed home by Denton to make it 5-2.
With the game in added time Aaron Cole flashed a shot just over the bar, then Josh Hill headed over from Scott’s corner as the hungry Tigers went in search of more goals.
The game ended with Ilkeston being reduced to 9 men deep into added time when Maguire received his marching orders for dissent.
Stewart, Pursehouse, Roe, Scott, Hill, Salt, Muldoon (Husbands 84), Clarke, Denton, Mettam (c) (Adams 69), Higginson (Cole 74)
Unused subs: Gathercole, Barnett
Goals: Mettam (11,15, 61), Higginson (57), Denton (87)
Booked: Higginson (8), Stewart (37), Roe (46)
Etheridge, L Wilson (c), R Wilson, Adams, Maguire, Baker (Reid 59), K Richards, Chettle, Ricketts, Waite (Hooten 69), M Richards
Unused subs: Gordon, Langford, Williams
Goals: Ricketts (6) Salt OG (85)
Booked: L Wilson (19)
Sent Off: Adams (42), Maguire (90+5)
Referee: Mr D Street
Assistants: Mr J Rhodes & Mr A Bannister