Ilkeston FC News

Ilkeston FC News

Updated 29th April: The latest news for Robins fans and reports from the past month...

Ashton United 1-0 Ilkeston FC – Saturday 22 April
Northern Premier League
Despite their best efforts, Ilkeston FC players have, to all intents and purposes, been going through the motions to help the club as a whole meet its obligations to Northern Premier League officials to fulfil remaining fixtures.

Other than personal pride and the chance to perhaps stake a claim to a place in Division 1 South next season – assuming the club makes it that far – the absence of player wages and a long lingering and now confirmed spectre of relegation staring very squarely at them, would be mitigation in some form towards why there might be any point.

Without trying to be ironic or funny, there was certainly no point again at the weekend, certainly not for the league table, as the Robins made the journey to take on Ashton United – who are also, ironically, called The Robins.

Hurst Cross was bathed in sunshine for this match and things got off to an equally bright start, the home side applying the pressure, Ilkeston gathering up at the back, the home side perhaps understandably edging things but midway through, Ilkeston began to clamber their way into things

But a scare came on the half hour when a ball across the face of goal didn’t find a target man.  Six from the break, Ilkeston hit the woodwork, not for the first time in a game of late, Dwyer with a volley from outside the box – no reward again for the Robins.

An effort was blocked in front of the Ilkeston keeper late on and once again, Ilkeston had held their opponents to 0-0 at the break.  Seven minutes in though game the decisive goal – Richard Smith rifling the ball into the roof of the net and three minutes later, Charlie Duke hit the Ilkeston bar.

Shaun Goater brought on the fresh legs of Ryan Head for Charlie Scanlon three before the hour and on 66, Connor Payne replaced Jaylon Bather, Eve off from in between the posts for Hannis later as the final fifteen minutes was about to start.

But that final period ebbed away without reward for either side, although there were a few chances for the home side.

Workington AFC 2-0 Ilkeston FC – Wednesday 19 April
Northern Premier League
You’ll remember that, a few weeks ago, Ilkeston were officially unable to field a team for an away game at Workington AFC and suffered the wrath of Northern Premier League officials.  The Robins subsequently agreed to fulfil all of their remaining fixtures ahead of imminent relegation and with players unlikely to be paid until the club had a new owner.

Wednesday night of this week saw Ilkeston finally make the trip to Workington, a side who could secure a play-off place with a win.  The Robins meanwhile were long resigned to their fate and playing for little more than personal pride.

But although the hosts knew what they needed to do, again, Ilkeston shut up shop in the first half, taking the game to 0-0 at the break once more.  In front of 634 spectators, Workington officials felt that they needed to do something to get what they needed out of the game and made two changes on 53 and 57.

It wasn’t long before they finally beat the Robins resistance, a header across the face of goal saw Sam Joel force the ball in at the far post on 64 minutes. Six minutes later, Shaun Goater made a change, bringing on Tevahn Tyrell for Ryan Head, but this only served to put the Robins further behind when Tinnion sent a downward header which was cleared off the line but adjudged to have gone over it by the linesman, thirteen minutes from time.

The final insult came in the final few minutes as Anthony Dwyer received a red card for dissent to the referee after the official overruled a linesman’s call, more frustration left for the Robins to contemplate, the hosts in more positive mood with that play-off place assured

Ilkeston FC 0-1 Mickleover Sports – Monday 17 April
Northern Premier Division
If one could sum up the season for Ilkeston FC, it might well be epitomised by the result on Saturday when Mickleover Sports visited from the west side of Derby.

The game started with the Robins defying their relegation status and miserable fortunes off the pitch by storming out of the blocks,  There was an early arguably gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring when Anthony Dwyer put Tevahn Tyrell in, and the latter should have scored but instead, launched the ball into the air and out of the ground at the NMG.

Ilkeston were forced into making an early change, Horne suffering a cut to the head, Thornberry on in his place, and by this point, there had been chances at either end, Tyrell with not one but two missed chances, Scott for the Sports having one of his own.

But also inside the opening 30 minutes came the match winning goal and it wasn’t for the Robins.  It was instead a goal of arguable calamity when a long ball was nodded back to Kieran Tonge in goal by sub Thornberry, but the header didn’t reach the goalkeeping coach who was left to suffer his own embarrassment as the ball trickled home.

Paine came on for Morris for another enforced change due to injury and with two minutes added, the half rounded out with Sports holding their 1-0 lead.  In the second half, Ilkeston again came out fighting, Leverock hitting the woodwork, Gamblen doing the same from 25 yards, Scott also finding the Robins woodwork at the other end for the visitors.

And although they tried, the struggling but ever courageous Robins were left without a reward of any kind, the drop to Division 1 South almost ever widening to swallow everything about the club at this late stage of a truly dismal, unrefutably worst ever season.

Nantwich Town 3-0 Ilkeston FC – Saturday 15 April
Northern Premier League
Although it would mean very little in the great scheme of things, it would be nice if Ilkeston FC could get another win before they bow out of the Northern Premier League after five years at that level. 

Division 1 South beckons if the Robins can somehow regroup from the top down and take their place for the start of the season in a few months from now.  In the meantime, they can only play out the season to a stumbling end as crisis affects the club off the pitch.

Nantwich Town were the hosts on Saturday but the Robins made a change to their published line up by replacing Jamie Hannis in between the posts with goalkeeping coach Kieran Tonge.   The half saw no goal action until shortly before the break, Jones beating the offside trap to slot past the replacement keeper.

With a round 30 minutes gone in the second half, Nantwich extended their lead in the wake of some good Ilkeston pressure bidding to get back on level terms, but instead, Brooke netted for the hosts and shortly afterwards, it was 3-0 to the Dabbers – Abadaki cutting inside to beat Tonge at the near post.

With the trip to Nantwich complete, there was a home tie on Monday against Derbyshire league rivals Mickleover Sports – would there be any Bank Holday joy for Shaun Goater’s men?

Ilkeston FC 0-0 Halesowen Town – Tuesday 11 April
Northern Premier League
Saturday saw the announcement that Ilkeston FC had been relegated to Division One South for next season – that being on the proviso that the powers that be can arrange a dignified handover in time for restructuring for whatever might lie ahead.

If the Robins were relegated on Saturday, it was with the slimmest of slim possibilities that they could just escape with a miracle.  However, after Tuesday night, when Ilkeston welcomed Halesowen Town to the NMG, results elsewhere drove the fact home even further.

It was irrelevant anyway – the Robins were down and that was that.  So with no wages going anywhere near those who need paying until a sale actually takes place, the players who walked out at the NMG on Tuesday night were playing for pride only, although it could be argued that they would need to stake a claim for a place next season assuming things pull together off the pitch.

The game got underway with Tevahn Tyrell sending a shot narrowly wide, whilst at the other end, Jamie Hannis collected an early Halesowen shot.  Morris and Dwyer came close to putting Ilkeston ahead but with 20 minutes gone and some momentum established, further embarrassment came when the floodlights, reportedly powered by a transformer and not local electricity supplies, gave out and had to be given 20 minutes to cool down enough to light back up again.

This eventually happened, the Robins fans faithful left without a bar, the power for which was also likely to render the floodlights out of order, so that was not opened for any level of service.

The 20 minutes elapsed, players warmed back up again, action got underway, but the momentum had been lost and the spectacle of the opening twenty minutes was followed up something completely different, both sides lacking any real menace to decide the game and both were left to collect a point, more meaningful perhaps for the Robins in a number of ways, if of no league relevance.

Ilkeston FC 1-2 Stourbridge FC – Saturday 8 April
Northern Premier League
It was already a certainty before the weekend, just a matter of time, but game play elsewhere along with a defeat for Ilkeston FC at home to Stourbridge meant that after a handful of remaining Northern Premier League games to go, the Robins will be playing in Division One South next season – that is assuming that their future is secured in the coming days and weeks.

The game at the NMG was set to be fraught both on and off the pitch, with the Ilkeston FC Supporters Group chairman Duncan Payne due to read a statement outside the ground at 5pm, in which he criticised current Chairman and club owner Nigel Harrop for his handling of club affairs.  Ironically, Harrop was understood to be elsewhere working on a deal to relinquish control of the club.

With the players having agreed to remain unpaid until the club is sold, there remained an element of pride to play for if nothing else, and no one can criticise the effort of the Ilkeston FC players who have doggedly continued in the face of such negativity flooding the club at the moment.

To avoid the drop, Ilkeston needed to win all of their remaining six games and hope for totally negative results from clubs around them in the table.  It was a big ask – massive in fact and hugely unlikely.

A sunny day contrasted with gloomy prospects for the borough side – the visitors arriving late but this didn’t seem to put them off when the game got underway.  The game was only minutes gold when Ethan Jones was put through by Luke Benbow to finish past Jamie Hannis.

In short, this was a game in which the visitors were well in control, whilst Ilkeston were struggling to get out of the proverbial blocks.  Then, with just over ten minutes left in the first half came a note of positivity – a spot kick.  Gamblen was fouled in the area and Anthony Dwyer stepped up to convert the penalty kick well before wheeling away in celebration – the look on his face saying a thousand words.

The build up to the foul which led to the equaliser was Ilkeston’s first tangible attack of the game and the home side may have thought their luck was in just a little, for the day at least, when Stourbridge lost two players in quick succession, the second of the two causing quite a delay to the game.

The second 45 ebbed and flowed with further goal action until shortly after 60th minute – the Robins failed to deal with a long throw sufficiently, the ball fell to a Stourbridge player who squeezed it beyond Hannis for a 2-1 lead.

Elsewhere, Sutton Coldfield Town were leading Spennymoor – a scoreline which, all by itself meant the result at the NMG was immaterial anyway – the writing having already been on the wall, just now being in luminous paint.

Ilkeston had little to offer despite determination and guile of which we’ve commented on before, Stourbridge appeared to be gingerly avoiding doing anything which might be considered to be adding weight to their hosts’ demise but could quite easily have gone into second gear.

But there was to be no more goal action, Stourbridge using their Twitter feed to sympathise with Ilkeston whose manager Shaun Goater used the after match interviews to say how proud he was of his players despite their ordeal and confirmation of their relegation to Division South.  Let’s hope that the club can get their formally to begin a fightback.   In the meantime, there are just two small matters of a change of ownership and a few fixtures outstanding.

Spennymoor Town 3-0 Ilkeston FC – Thursday 6 April
Northern Premier League
The extent of the gulf in league form has become ever more apparent in the last couple of days as Ilkeston succumbed to another defeat on Thursday night, hot on the heels of a Tuesday night negative scoreline.

After failing to field a team against Workington, the Robins embarked on three games in the space of a week, defeat on Tuesday at Buxton followed by the conceding of three further goals without reply at a strong Spennymoor Town side on Thursday night.

Critics could conclude that the players have nothing to play for with relegation a mere formality now but the first half was another case of grit and determination, resolute defending and another 0-0 scoreline at the break.

But recent 0-0 half times have led to 2-0 defeats and the game at the Moors was the same again and some.

A courageous performance from the Robins saw 0-0 on the scoreboard once more, but the second half saw efforts to hold firm go the other way, grip lost, Spennymoor beginning to dominate.

The home side must have been relieved when they finally got a shot on goal – Ramshaw setting off down the right, Griffiths collecting, he found Taylor who took aim at Jamie Hannis in the Ilkeston goal.  The Robins shot-stopper did indeed stop the shot, but Dowson was on hand to tuck the ball away for 1-0 Moors.

That scoreline held steady until the final quarter of the game, the home side determined to push on and making a double substitution to do so.  Scanlon found himself turned by Ramshaw not once but twice but Griffiths’ subsequent shot was blocked.

A combined effort between Armstrong and Dowson led to an easy 2-0 and from here, there was a sense that Ilkeston had no more fight to offer, Spennymoor well in control late on, courage from the Robins still in evidence.

Keeper Hannis performed heroics late on -  one-on-one with Amderson but winning the battle, it was almost 3-0 as Mitchell found himself in space, but took a touch and stride too many and from a promising looking position, blazed over but with the final kick of the game, 3-0 was confirmed, Dowson sealing ownership of the match ball, Ilkeston staring in the face of another defeat yet right for praise for their efforts, the side decimated by earlier season sales of more established senior players.

Many fans continue to lay the blame for the Robins’ demise squarely at the door of Chairman Nigel Harrop who, it is reported, wants to talk about the situation but is yet to do so.  Meanwhile, rumours exist that the club is set to change owners, but that hasn’t happened anywhere near quick enough for some fans, although with the drop beckoning, it will come too late anyway.

Buxton FC 2-0 Ilkeston FC – Tuesday 4 April
Northern Premier League
Having signed up to an undertaking to see the season fixture list out, the future of Ilkeston FC continues to remain in doubt.  Assuming that the club does return for another season, it will be in the next tier down in the football pyramid.

Having breached a league rule by failing to go to Workington on Saturday, the Northern Premier League officials have said that any further breach would have serious consequences – as if things weren’t bad enough already.

There wasn’t much of a trip for Ilkeston FC players and management to make on Tuesday – they didn’t even leave the county and were in fact at Silverlands, the home of Buxton FC.

The Bucks were forced into an early change after just ten minutes when Ravenhill made way for Grayson but that was the only element of note to talk about in the first half – 0-0 being the scoreline at the break.

A minute into the second half, the home side made a further change but it wasn’t the fresh legs of Jackson replacing Taylor, more so, the earlier change as Brad Grayston put Buxton ahead three minutes after the hour.

Having made their third and final substitution nine minutes from time, Buxton were clearly in control of this game against the ever ailing, morale lacking Ilkeston and the ninetieth minute saw the home side net a second – Niall Doran the scorer for a 2-0 victory and the only consolation coming from the Buxton Twitter account which wished Ilkeston the best for the rest of the season, acknowledging difficult times but the existence of some good young players.