Late agony for Rotherham United Women in seven-goal thriller pre-season friendly
In the end, it was the hosts who prevailed 4-3 thanks to a tap-in from the alert Daisy Allen, who swooped in the dying moments after Rotherham's debutant keeper Hannah Iguchi's save from a long-range effort rebounded her way.
It was harsh on Iguchi, who had been given no chance with any of Ilkeston's preceding goals - each dispatched at high speed into the top corner or roof of the net from distance - and had pulled off some high-class saves, a leap to claw away a curler being the pick of the bunch.
That Town were mostly limited - with admittedly no little success - to shooting from range shows how firmly they were generally repelled when attempting to play through or around the Millers' back line.
The Millers’ two Laurens - Brogan and Winter - were especially effective in marshaling midfield and prompting forays from their own wide players.
After falling behind to firecracker strikes from Izzy Wretham and Gina Shaw - the latter of which fizzed into the top corner - manager Pete Jarvis made a triple substitution which shifted the game's momentum.
Jessie Broadhurst, a thorn in the home defence all afternoon, nipped in to poach her fourth goal in as many games.
She should have doubled up before half-time and was smartly kept out, but Brogan calmly gobbled up the loose ball to equalise.
The second half was an altogether more cagey affair, with chances harder to come by, but Abbie Staples in particular found joy down the right flank, while Dina Sarayreh switched from full back to midfield and put in a composed shift in the centre.
Rhena Eames lashed in another pile-driver for Ilkeston with 64 on the clock but the Millers continued to press.
And they came up trumps when Essa latched onto Winter's ball down the inside right channel, sorted her feet out and thumped past the keeper's right hand.
Both sides saw loud shouts for a penalty falling on deaf ears - the Millers in particular appeared to have a strong case as one of two trialists given a run-out up front tumbled under a robust challenge
Tempers flared briefly over a couple of rougher tackles, but Allen and her team-mates were overjoyed as she bagged last-gasp winner.
After a close contest which could have gone either way, Jarvis will acknowledge plenty of positives alongside the posers to ponder.
RUWFC are back in action on Sunday (20), entertaining Hull United at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park. Kick-off is at 2pm and admission for spectators is free.
Millers: Hannah Iguchi, Jess Jones, Lori-Anne Tart, Lucie Tinker, Dina Sarayreh, Lauren Winter, Rachel Hale, Lauren Brogan, Halima Essa, Jessie Broadhurst,Trialist 1.
Subs: Abbie Staples, Trialist 2, Amy Nowell.