Ilkeston Town FC News

Updated 16th December: The latest news for Robins fans..

Ilkeston Town 3-2 Walsall Wood – Saturday 9 December

Midland Football League Division 1 South:
Whilst matches all around fell the imminent snow fall that followed, Ilkeston Town FC were able to play a game at the weekend.  The care attention bestowed on the New Manor Ground surface had clearly helped thwart the creeping hand of Mother Nature who was about to throw everything at the expecting public.

Cold weather had thrown fixtures for Long Eaton United, Borrowash Victoria and Sandaicre Town into the frozen long grass but the third placed Robins were able to welcome a Walsall Wood side sitting fourth for a truly mouthwatering tie expected to draw fans unable to make other fixtures, including Notts County fans who decided not to travel to Kenilworth Road to see their site play Luton Town, the owner of both clubs offering free admission to ‘pies season ticket holders.

Game on at the NMG then, with not a hint of frost or snow for anyone to draw concern from, action commencing after a minute of applause in tribute and memory to Ilkeston legend Ged Tatham.

Celebratory tones switched to the visiting side after just eight minutes as Agar scored for Walsall after Chris Shaw was caught in possession.  Three later, Ilkeston came agonisingly close to equalising, Walker’s cross met by Alex Marshall who headed against the bar.  Efforts came and went without reward until a minute before the break- Walker turning from provider to scorer, smashing the ball home for 1-1 after 44 minutes.

HT: Ilkeston Town 1-1 Walsall Wood

With subs remaining on the bench, the same Robins side ventured out for the second half in this tightly contested affair, but three minutes in, Walsall regained the lead, Paul Sullivan finding the top corner, but a minute later, Tom Marshall came close to levelling once more, forcing a great save from the keeper.

An equaliser did come a minute before the hour, Tom Marshall again involved, provider for Montel Gibson, Marshall’s cross headed home for 2-2.   A change from Steve Chettle came a minute later, Fairclough for Bennett, and shortly afterwards, the attendance of 726 was announced, a record for the club in its new guise.

If that was something to celebrate, the key and most celebrated moment in this game came 18 minutes from time – Gibson again involved, putting Ilkeston in front with a great strike from the edge of the box.

Agar, so involved in the game for the West Midlanders, had a gilt-edged chance to make it 3-3 five minutes after the Robins had taken the lead but could only direct his shot over the bar, and he would continue his involvement two minutes later under the most controversial of circumstances as this game hung on a knife edge, committing a foul but escaping the referee’s pocket of cards, Agar already on a yellow, having brought Fairclough down.

Walsall were not going to go down without a fight, piling on the pressure in the closing ten minutes, but Ilkeston held firm, shored up with Hopkinson who came on to replace goal hero Gibson with just three to play, the game seen out, the three points bagged, the team climbing back up to second in the Midland Football League Division 1 South.

Glossop North End 1-1 Ilkeston Town FC – Tuesday 5 December
(Ilkeston won 2-4 on penalties)
Derbyshire Senior Cup
Ilkeston Town FC collectively made the trip to North Derbyshire on Tuesday night to take on a club from the smallest town ever to have a team in a top division of English football – Glossop North End from the Northern Premier Division – two tiers above Ilkeston but at level at which many Robins fans will be familiar from predecessor clubs.

Ilkeston keeper Ian Deakin was required to save well after eight minutes after early pressure from the home side, but from here, the borough side began to press, Gibson sending a shot just wide.  Exchanges at goal came and went, Deegan missing with a close range header, former Robin Zeph Thomas, sending a shot from distance which Deakin was equal to.

Midway through the first half came a breakthrough for Ilkeston – Gibson making sure this time by slotting the ball under the keeper’s body with 23 on the clock.  The lead lasted only three minutes – the equaliser – stunning – Oyibo racing at the Ilkeston backline before sliding the ball past Ian Deakin and the scorer came close again on 36.

Steve Chettle rang the changes for the second half, White for Fairclough at the break, Walker for Smith shortly after the hour.  Twenty-two from time, Deakin pulled off another fine save but Glossop continued their assault on the Ilkeston goal, albeit with the Robins having their chances – Hopkinson shooting across the face of goal, Deakin then saving well, tipping over from a corner, Bennett then going close at the other end.

Alex Marshall was brought on for the final ten minutes or so, in place of Hopkinson but there were to be no more goals in regular time – merely penalties, Bennett scoring his, Glossop levelling, Walker seeing a penalty saved, Glossop taking the lead. Tom Marshall brought the score back to 2-2, but from here, the hosts lost the plot, Gee hitting the bar, Alex Marshall making it 3-2 Ilkeston, Lacy’s effort saved by Deakin, Shaw scoring for Ilkeston to make it 4-2 and put them through.

Ilkeston Town FC 3-0 Uttoxeter Town – Saturday 25 November
Midland Football League Premier Division
Ilkeston Town FC has, collectively, been ticking along through the games without defeat and began to encroach upon double figures in recent weeks, win after win delighting players, officials and mostly, the dedicated fans who have seen this club turnaround from being dead and gone to very much back to life under the generous hands of owner Alan Hardy and the experienced hands of manager Steve Chettle.

A chance to make it ten out of ten came on Saturday when the Robins welcomed Uttoxeter Town to the NMG.  The game was only five minutes old when there were appeals for a spot kick from the Staffordshire side but these were waved away after the referee considered that Shaw’s challenge on Redshaw warranted no action.

Efforts began to rack up on the Uttoxeter goal with Gibson and Walker coming close in quick succession with eleven gone, Morris and Walker requiring the visitors to scramble the ball away three minutes later.  But the visitors were shutting up shop with a flat back five and four midfielders who were also sitting back.

On 26, Jordan Wheatley did break through to find the net but the effort was disallowed for a foul on the keeper.  Morris was forced off the field on the half hour, Cockshutt’s tackle seeing a yellow card to soften the pain for the injured Robin, but the consolation came seven minutes alter, Ilkeston opening the scoring through Billy Bennett’s shot from a tight angle from a Jamie Walker pass.

Two before the hour, Ilkeston broke through a stubborn Uttoxeter side when Alex Marshall set a rasping drive into the net from 18 yards.  Two after the hour, it was 3-0 to set the final score – Marshall again, this time picking up a Shaw cross to put a towering header into the net.

It could have been more minutes later, but Uttoxeter keeper Allen saved well from Gibson and Walker on 67 and 70.  The game was won, but that didn’t stop Walker trying to make it 4-0 in added time, hitting the post from a free kick on 93.

Ten wins in a row, five clean sheets in a row, top of the table and with good times well and truly back at the NMG.

Bolehall Swifts 0-3 Ilkeston Town FC – Tuesday 21 November
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
Can Ilkeston make it 10 games without defeat?  They certainly made it to 9 games in midweek with a game in the West Midlands at Bolehall Swifts.

Montel Gibson had the ball in the host side net after just three minutes, but the effort was ruled out for offside, and a free kick from Bennett was tipped onto the bar just four minutes later.  Alex Marshall and Gibson had efforts denied on 8 and 11 to set the precedent for the game.  With just over 10 to play in the first half, Ilkeston took the lead – Billy Bennett’s free kick from deep into Bolehall’s half looped over the keeper and nestled in the net.  This wasn’t all one way traffic though – the Swifts had their own chances, and Ian Deakin was needed to save well two from the break.

This was by no means a clear cut win, the Robins missing a few chances, but two after the restart, Alex Marshall, becoming somewhat of a goal machine of later – picked up a long ball to head over the keeper to set another 2-0 scoreline.

On the hour, a monumental save from Busby kept the score down to 0-2 against the Swifts after a fine shot from Jamie Walker.  There were thirteen minutes left, an unlucky thirteen for the hosts as it turned out – when Ilkeston extended their klead – Wheatley’s excellent ball allowed Smith to round the keeper, Hopkinson on hand to smash the ball home.

Bolehall showed signs of creaking and frailty, Marshall heading narrowly over from another well worked Walker cross on 79, Smith causing the home side keeper a problem in the final minute but there was to be no further goal action, just controversy into which the club owner Alan Hardy became involved.

Montel Gibson had become the focus of racial abuse – Hardy taking to Twitter to state that the player had 99.99% support of fans and the full support of the club and that such abuse would not be tolerated, that the perpetrator would be found, banned and reported to the Police for prosecution.

Ilkeston Town FC 2-0 Lichfield City – Saturday 18 November
Midland Football League Division 1 South
Ilkeston Town FC players, officials and management continue to help eradicate bad memories of the plight of the predecessor club as a run of good form has carried them up the table and into serious contention for title honours at the first time of asking.

The Robins hosted Lichfield City on Saturday and began by kicking towards the Town End.  Early chances were available from the off as the borough side honed their shooting boots, but things were fairly quiet for the first half of the first half – Ilkeston holding the ball, Lichfield defending way back in their own half, but Ilkeston did take the lead after 26 minutes – Alex Marshall capitalising on a Clough error, moments after the same player had up-ended him, Clough couldn’t play the ball out from the back, Marshall taking control and slotting home.

Two minutes later, Jordan Wheatley hit the post from distance, after which, the visitors began pushing for a first half equaliser.  In the second half, Montel Gibson went narrowly wide from 20 yards out, before getting into fisticuffs with Thurstance, the matter resolved by a stern talking to from the match official followed by a drop ball.

Five before the hour, Ilkeston went two up, Jamie Walker’s cross finding the head of Alex Marshall with a sweetly delivered cross.  Walker tried again on 65 but shot wide, but Clough had to save well to deny Gibson with twenty to go, but those twenty minutes were played out with little further action of note, Ilkeston holding their lead and securing another three points for their meteoric rise up the Division 1 South table.

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.”