Ilkeston Town FC News

Updated 9th September: The latest news for Robins fans...

Ilkeston Town FC 2-0 Bolehall Swifts – Saturday 2 September
Midland Football League Premier Division
We know – enough with the bird jokes!  Things are settling very nicely for the newly formed Ilkeston Town FC.  Owner Alan Hardy must be very pleased after investing in the club.  Fans have turned out in their numbers whilst both results and performances have been pleasing.

Steve Chettle’s men are at the right end of the Midland Football League Division 1 South and are making their mark amongst far more established sides.  Bolehall Swifts were the visitors to the NMG in Saturday in front of what was eventually clarified as being an attendance of over 600 once more, something else to make others sit up and take notice of what is rising phoenix like once more – oh dear – another bird joke!

Early handbags between Walker and Weir inside the opening 15 minutes was soon forgotten as the Robins began to take aim, pressure building, opportunities from open play and set pieces, and on 25 minutes, a fair call for a spot kick after Tom Marshall was bundled over but nothing was given.

Montel Gibson – a former Notts County player – is already making his mark in this fledgling team and on the half hour, his strong effort from distance fizzed just wide.  After a good header by Alex Marshall on 33 which was saved by the Swifts keeper, Ilkeston took the lead on 36 minutes.

Walker was involved again, sending the keeper the wrong way after a spot kick was awarded, Weir also involved in felling Alex Marshall then four from the break, a moment that has already found its way into going viral on line.  Smith in the Swifts goal could only knuckle a strong Marshall drive skywards, turned to face his own net as the ball came down but could only bundle the ball into his own net.

Smith went some way towards making amends in the second half by keeping the score down to just the opening two, double saving on 55, but Gibson looked odds on to make 3-0 after 65 minutes, keeper beaten but side netting found.

Bolehall did push over the final twenty minutes to rescue something from the game but they weren’t able to get through the Ilkeston backline and Ilkeston weren’t able to find the net again either, Smith continuing to make up for his earlier howler, and the game rounded out with players on both sides looking and feeling jaded from stresses and strains in the warm conditions – 2-0 the final score.

Ilkeston Town FC 3-0 Coventry Alvis – Monday 28 August
Midland Football League Division 1 South
Things are shaping up for the fledgling Ilkeston Town FC side.  Steve Chettle’s men had a rocky start, but are beginning to find their feet and make a mark in this early stage of their debut season at Step 6.

Coventry Alvis were the visitors to the NMG on Bank Holiday Monday, a side taking their name from the historic motor manufacturer from the West Midlands.

This game enjoyed a lively start, but an agonising period shortly afterwards – Coventry player Corey Blackwood sustaining a nasty looking leg injury – the game held up to allow time for assessment and treatment, medical attention at hospital definitely needed for an Achilles injury, game restarted after a time.

Six minutes from the break, Ilkeston Town took the lead, Alex Marshall with a header into the net at the back post, Montel Gibson involved in the build up, his shot parried, Walker sending an accurate cross for Marshall to nod in, and that partnership almost paid off again three from time but Marshall could only graze the cross bar.

There were gasps of joy as the second half got underway and the announcement rang out of an attendance of 603 and the delight continued three before the hour when Lavell White avoided the offside trap to coolly slot past the Coventry keeper.  Five after the hour, Walker was denied by the visiting keeper, Jemson headed in from a resulting corner, but the effort was disallowed for climbing.

Still the Robins pressed for more goals, Billy Bennett’s curling shot from the edge of the area just skimming over the bar on 68, Lavell White’s cross, Alex Marshall’s header cleared off the line, Bennett unable to follow up to make sure on 83, but Ilkeston were not to be denied a third goal and it came a minute from the end of regular time, Marshall again on the scoresheet, a header from Tom Marshall’s corner.

That was another great victory for this ever resurgent Ilkeston side.

Lichfield City 2-2 Ilkeston Town FC – Saturday 26 August
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
Away trips don’t come much easier than a mere journey along the likes of the M1, A50 and A38, but that is more or less the trip that Ilkeston Town FC players, officials and fans took on Saturday as they aimed to reap rewards from two matches over the Bank Holiday weekend starting with the visit to Lichfield City.

The determination to get a result on the day was signalled as early as the fourth minute when Robins players appealed for a penalty, but nothing was given.  Lichfield began to take aim and sent the ball over the bar a minute later.

But the hosts did find the net shortly after the half hour to give Chettle and his men something to contemplate – a stunning strike from the edge of the box separating the sides at the break.  Ilkeston were clearly up for the challenge – with just two minutes having been played in the second half, former Notts County player Montel Gibson worked his way into the box and found the net from just inside the area, although it was slightly dubious as to whether the entire ball had crossed the line.  It mattered little – the goal stood.

The game ebbed and flowed with chances either end but Lichfield took the lead again eighteen minutes from time – Hall gathered the ball from just inside his area, but had to drop it whilst venturing outside, Lichfield took advantage, and scored into an empty net, but Ilkeston were back on level terms six minutes later.

Gibson got himself on the scoresheet again with a delightfully struck effort, a volley which would be relished at the highest level in the Champions League or Premiership, the ball rocketing into the roof of the net.  Ilkeston sensed a chance for a late third and match winner and applied copious amounts of pressure, Gibson with a shot tipped over two from time, and in added time, the ball was fired home only for the effort to be ruled out for an offside infringement and the game finished 2-2.


Stafford Town 2-1 Ilkeston Town FC – Tuesday 22nd August
Midland Football League Division 1 South
This was a difficult result for Robins players, officials and fans to take – as there were chances to take and chances missed early on in this Tuesday night game at Stafford Town.

The home side took advantage of the Robins inability to finish and took the lead after 24 minutes.  They were further ahead two minutes after the break too, although calls of ‘game on’ were probably uttered if not shouted three minutes after Ilkeston Town conceded the second when Montel Gibson opened the scoring for both himself and for his side, heading home from a Walker corner.

It was nevertheless insufficient for the Robins to take anything from the game but there was still praise from Stafford, a spokesperson for whom took to social media to wish Ilkeston ‘…all the bet for the rest of the season’, referring to a ‘…quality set of players, a great set of fans and the right people guiding the club'.  Nice!

Ilkeston Town FC 2-0 Coventry Copsewood– Saturday 19th August
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
There will be a number of firsts for Ilkeston Town FC having relocated to Step 6 of the football league pyramid, for the Robins, that means the Midland Football League Division 1 South and another of a series of ‘firsts’ came on Saturday with the visit of Coventry Copsewood.

Initially planned to be a minute of silence, the game was pre-empted with a minute of applause, approved by local sports correspondent and Ilkeston regular Mark Duffy in memory of his recently late wife Nicola, who had battled bravely with cancer – a battle referenced regularly by Duffers on his Twitter feed.

What better way would there be to pay tribute that with an early goal!  Four minutes had been played when a goalmouth scramble from a Jamie Walker corner was finished off by Alex Marshall who bundled the ball home.

Ilkeston looked a completely different team from the start of this game, positive, evident movement forward, with confidence being displayed but by the half hour point, both sides showed signs of settling, Ilkeston continuing to press for a second goal.

Graham flicked a ball on, Montel Gibson pulled the trigger from the edge of the area but the visiting keeper tipped it over.  Coventry thought that they had equalised a minute before the break though – a good move and finish – but the assistant referee waved his flag and the goal was disallowed.

The second half was only ten minutes old when the Robins’ second goal was scored – Alex Marshall on the scoresheet again with a shot and finish of class and the 2-0 scoreline was retained by the newly fledged side to the half time whistle, much to the delight of most of the 437 fans present.  To cap it all, £350 was collected for Breast Cancer Care in memory of Nicola Duffy.

Ilkeston Town and Ilkeston can rightly be proud once more for a job well done.

Ilkeston Town FC 0-2 Heath Hayes FC – Saturday 12th August
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
The attendance at the NMG for the re-start of competitive football for a newly formed Ilkeston Town FC on Saturday was 583.  Talk swirled around the ground of it being a league record, only for the initial euphoria be somewhat dampened as information dribbled through of four figure sums elsewhere last season.

No matter – 583 was a great figure to demonstrate the groundswell of support for new owner Alan Hardy – the fans giving a message that his investment was worthwhile.

However, what those 583 fans saw was the reality that although this is a restart, it is in fact, more than that – this is not just a re-start – but more like a beginning.  Remember that this side has been not so much assembled, more scrambled in the few short weeks after the takeover by the Notts County owner, the recruitment of the manager and the hacking through the undergrowth to find the NMG pitch once more.

Heath Hayes were the visitors on Saturday, a side who have recently dropped from the Midland Football League Premier Division, home to Long Eaton United, to join the Robins in their inaugural season.

It was a bright start by Ilkeston in their first home game in their new form but Heath Hayes proved to be a tough nut to crack, end to end inside the opening 30 minutes, but nothing happening in front of goal.  However, a minute before time, the visitors opened the scoring – Jake Humphries capitalising on a short back pass, the keeper Hall rounded, the ball slotted into an empty net.

In the second half, Ilkeston held firm, denying the visitors, but lacking a cutting edge in the final third to get back on level terms.  That inability proved to be their downfall as Heath Hayes found a second fifteen minutes from time – a quick counter attack allowed Mitch Teece to go one-on-one with Hall and emerge victorious, Hall beaten again as the Robins were opened up

Manager Steve Chettle was clear in his dissatisfaction in talking to local media, a sign then that the former Forest legend may have to dig deep into his experience and reserves to steer this new ship on a successful course.

ROBINS RETURN: MAGPIES OWNER COMPLETES DEAL FOR ILKESTON FC:  The Chairman of Notts County FC Alan Hardy has completed a deal to take control of Ilkeston FC.

The Magpies owner acquired what was left of the club - wound up over around £14,500 of debt - to establish Ilkeston Town FC - the name of the club which collapsed seven years ago but different due to the exact name registered at Companies House.

The new club will play at Step 6 of the league pyramid and in the Midland Football League Division 1.

Mr. Hardy is a prominent local businessman and entrepreneur and took control of League 2 side Notts County earlier this year.  He spoke out a few weeks ago to express how keen he was to ensure that Ilkeston still had a football club in the way it had been most recently established and with his name being added to the Companies House listing at the end of June, it is perhaps no surprise that he emerged as front-runner in taking over the troubled Robins.

As reported by Erewash Sound SPORT on Facebook previously - former Ilkeston FC assIstant manager to Kevin WIlson and Forest legend Steve Chettle has been appointed as manager of the new club on a three year deal assisted by Ian Deakin.  Both Wilson and Chettle left Ilkeston for Nuneaton at the end of the 2014/2015 season.

Mr. Hardy recently released a statement which said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have completed my purchase of Ilkeston FC and can confirm that the club’s name will revert to Ilkeston Town Football Club with immediate effect.

“It is with great excitement that I also announce Steve Chettle as the club’s new manager following his departure from National League North side Nuneaton Town, where he was assistant manager.

“Steve is an Ilkeston and Nottingham Forest legend who I’m sure will prove to be an exciting appointment for supporters.

“He will be assisted by Ian Deakin, who brings plenty of experience and local knowledge after managing Kimberley last season.

“Having grown up in neighbouring Eastwood, I simply couldn’t allow one of the East Midlands’ finest non-league clubs’ existence to cease when I knew there was a viable method for me to take it forward.

“I am grateful to the FA for giving us the opportunity to compete in the Midland Football League Division One this season and it’s now time to move on with making Ilkeston Town a success on and off the field following a very challenging period for the club.

“Ilkeston Town will have its own corporate governance, with separate directors, financial structure and accountability.

“Naturally, as would be the case between any professional and semi-professional football clubs, there will be an opportunity for transactions when it comes to such things as the loaning of players, sharing of expertise and so on.

“I am absolutely committed to making Ilkeston Town not only self-sustainable, but also competitive and ambitious in aiming to claim a place in the second tier of non-league football in the medium term.

“I vividly remember my seven-year-old self-standing behind the goal, bang in the centre, lapping up every minute of derbies between Ilkeston Town and Eastwood, as well as other local matches involving the likes of Long Eaton, Heanor Town, Belper, Kimberley and Arnold. They were all blood- stirring encounters and all those memories have enabled me to carry great enthusiasm into my career in football.

“I am now looking forward to working with the people of Ilkeston to develop a club they, and their town, deserve.”

It is understood that Erewash Borough Council has collectively backed Mr. Hardy's plans. Dean Nelson, for joint liquidators Smith-Cooper said: “Ilkeston FC is a pillar in the local community, so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to achieve a sale of the business and its assets, with Erewash Borough Council’s support, ultimately securing football to be played this season. Credit is also due to the fans who have remained passionate and patient throughout this difficult time whilst a sale has been concluded.

“The club has a fantastic track record of developing players through its academy and remains at the heart of its local community.  I am confident that Alan Hardy and his backroom team will transform this club and provide a solid platform for it to achieve long-term success.”