Ilkeston Town FC News

Ilkeston Town FC News

Updated 5th May: The latest news for Robins fans...

MAY DAY FAREWELL AWAY GAME FOR ROBINS:
Cadbury Athletic 1-1 Ilkeston Town – Tuesday 1 May
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
That’s that then – we can now reflect on a full season which started with abject misery, reformation and arising as the reformed Ilkeston Town FC staged a dramatic tussle for promotion at the first time of asking in its new guise

From collapse as Ilkeston FC to reformation under the caring hands of Notts County owner Alan Hardy, the appointment of Steve Chettle as manager, a 1,000 plus crowd on a memorable day when league action had a day off, and the rise up the table to push champions Walsall Wood before eventually losing out on goal difference and points acquired – this has been one to enjoy.

Easter time should have seen the Robins play a clearly ironic fixture at Cadbury Athletic but the weather had its say and ultimately, the match was slotted in to end the season in May rather than April.

Talking of tussles, the first half was exactly that, the home side having some good possession early doors, both sides having chances, Athletic lucky not to go one down midway through the first half when Delaney almost put the ball into his own net.

There was nothing clear cut n the first half, so it was left to the second half to see if anything would come of this game goals wise.  Both sides had chances that went over or wide, and there were nervy moments on 66, when Butcher found himself with a good chance but Marshall and Jemson combined to clear the danger.

Hopkinson had the ball in the net 20 from time, but Fairclough was adjudged to have fouled his man so the effort was ruled out, but Ilkeston were rewarded on 76 – Morris smashing a ball in after it fell to the sub inside the area.  But Athletic’s response was swift – a minute later, 1-1 was the scoreline when Butcher volleyed home

Ilkeston could have come home on the back of a 2-1 defeat but three from time, Jamie Hannis pulled off a top drawer save to deny Butcher to make up for an error in the Robins backline – 1-1 is how it finished – and so to next season – a mouthwatering prospect if this season is anything to go by.

TITLE LOST BUT WINS CONTINUE FOR ROBINS:
Chelmsley Town 1-2 Ilkeston Town – Saturday 28 April
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
The title will not be taken by Ilkeston Town FC this season – that is for sure – Walsall Wood will take the next step, but the Robins look set to be extremely worth runners up and are well drilled to maintain momentum and form as this inaugural season draws to a close.

Steve Chettle’s men travelled, along with a dedicated band of fans, to take on Chelmsley Town on Saturday, but they had to come from behind to secure another three points for their league tally.

Visiting Packington Lane in Coleshilll, outside Birmingham, the Robins quickly learned of the home side intent with keeper Jamie Hannis having to tip over a Nick Ellis shot with just five minutes gone.  Four later, Chelmsley were ahead after an error in the Ilkeston defence allowed Jamie Barrett to put the ball away.

The Robins found themselves struggling to contain the home side game play and make any of their own although the Chelmsley keeper Maguire made some good saves from Walker on two occasions as the half hour approached.

A minute after it though, Ilkeston were back on level terms – Tom Marshall’s well worked cross reached the head of Jamie Walker, and then moments later, Maguire made a double save to deny Hopkinson and Alex Marshall and he continued to deny the Robins through to the half time whistle.

Ilkeston scored the ultimate match winner eight minutes into the second half – Tom Marshall scoring from a perfectly crafted free kick from the edge of the box.  Walker’s speculative lob from 35 yards a minute before the hour went just over, Maguire made another good save for the home side, Wheatley sent a strong drive just over ten from time and Chelmsley appeared to be a spent force as the final minutes ticked by – some unable to muster a run, Ilkeston holding firm for another three points.

That just leaves a season finale – a rearranged game at Cadbury Athletic – which rounds of the season on Tuesday night

ROBINS IN FOOTBALLING MASTERCLASS AT LEAGUE CHAMPIONS:
Walsall Wood 1-4 Ilkeston Town FC – Tuesday 24 April
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
Could this season get any better for Ilkeston Town FC? Well, being able to take the league title would have been the cherry on the icing on the cake, but the Robins will have to make do with the cake and icing.

But that didn’t stop them from putting on a memorable performance at league champion Walsall Wood on Tuesday night.  The Robins have been pushing the West Midlands side all the way, despite Walsall having a superior goal difference and games in hand, and a demonstration of the determination coursing through the veins of the club from top to bottom was seen in midweek.

The hosts asserted themselves with just three minutes on the clock after a ball was tapped in from a crowded penalty area.  However the response from Ilkeston was swift and then emphatic.    Just three minutes after going behind, Hopkinson fired home from inside the area to set up a mouth-watering remaining 84 minutes.

Alex Marshall sent a curling shot into the keeper’s arms on 11 and with 17 on the clock, Fairclough fired home from Walker’s build up play.   Ilkeston were pushing with almost every move and midway through the first half, Alex Marshall tried an audacious lob from 30 yards out but the shot was well wide of the post.

The Robins knew that they had to work hard to deter the hosts who did have some opportunities.  Five after the half hour, Walker made a decisive and superb block to keep his side in the lead and on the stroke of half time, Bennett’s superb ball found the head of Alex Marshall – his header cannoned off the bar.

As rain fell in the second half, changes were made by both sides, one keen to recover, the other keen to consolidate, contain and where possible push on and that is exactly what Ilkeston did. Twenty minutes from time, a block at one end saw Ilkeston counter and break from which Tim Hopkinson scored his second of the night for 1-3 Robins.

An Ilkeston fourth and final goal came ten minutes from the end of regular time – Jemson with a powerful header after meeting Tom Marshall’s cross.  There might have been jubilant scenes at Pride Park after Derby recovered from being 1-0 down to win 3-1 over Cardiff City, but this was a game savoured in a unique way by all associated with Ilkeston Town FC.

ROBINS HIT THE CENTURY WITH WIN AT HEATH HAYES:
Heath Hayes 2-3 Ilkeston Town – Thursday 19 April
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
After the disappointment of losing 4-2 to Racing Club Warwick on Tuesday, Ilkeston Town FC recovered to win 2-3 away at Heath Hayes as fixture backlog catch up continued on Thursday night.

On a warm and balmy evening, early signs were good with a good counter after 3 minutes, but White just missed connecting with an Alex Marshall ball.  Three later though, a knock on put Hopkinson in to find the bottom corner.

Efforts came and went until the 20 minute mark when Wiggins pulled off a fine save to deny Hopkinson but with 27 minutes played, a great strike from Jordan Wheatley doubled the advantage, when the ball was smashed into the top corner from around 20 yards out.

Signs of what was to come became apparent a minute after the restart – Hannis dropping Derbyshire’s cross, Shaw blocking what otherwise looked to be a dead-cert from Geldart as Ilkeston began to struggle.

An offside from Hopkinson and Alex Marshall’s combination on 56 was followed by Green stinging Wiggins’ hands from distance on 58, Wiggins saving at the feet of Green on the hour.

Two later, Bennett went up for a header as McGready went to ground – a spot kick was saved by Hannis with his feet on 64, but with 68 played, McGready headed in a Weldon cross for 1-2, and after a missed Ilkeston opportunity, Clark slotted Tom Marshall’s corner in after a deflection for 1-3 Ilkeston.

In added time, there was another penalty – Tom Marshall fouling McGready, Smith converting from the spot but Ilkeston had pulled off a hard fought win.

WARWICK RACE TO VICTORY OVER ROBINS
Racing Club Warwick 4-2 Ilkeston Town – Tuesday 17 April
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
With a need to get the fixtures in during what is an extended season anyway due to a fixture backlog, Ilkeston Town found themselves back in action as soon as Tuesday night with an away game at Racing Club Warwick.

The hosts had certainly made a game of the reverse fixture so it was of no surprise that the Robins faced another work out this time around.  But the borough side were stunned by a home side goal after just five minutes when Cole scored the opener for Warwick, the hosts settling well, whilst the Robins struggled to settle.

It didn’t take Ilkeston long to draw level though and with 14 on the clock, Walker’s deflected shot found the back of the net.  However, Warwick could have been 2-1 up four minutes later, but Wheatley’s block stopped them from breaking.

Midway through the first half, Ilkeston found themselves 2-1 up after Billington’s mistake put Alex Marshall in to coolly slot home.    Hopkinson was almost in on 38 but his effort was blocked and bundled away but then in added time, Deakin uncharacteristically brought down a player, Kavanagh and Deakin going down injured as a result but Slevin levelled at 2-2 moments later, Hannis going to goal only just unable to reach the shot.

Ilkeston had to work hard to deter the Racers from taking the lead in the second half, but equally, the Robins had their chances, and almost benefitted from an own goal shortly before the hour.

The game ebbed and flowed from end to end but with 64 played, poor defending allowed Warwick the take the lead and they would never lose it – Bertie on 64 for 3-2.  Jemson needed to clear off the line on 75 but two minutes later, Ilkeston had an irretrievable two goal deficit after Hannis took Bertie down, Slevin converting once more, Hannis needing to tip the ball over ten from time too to prevent a Warwick fifth and getting his hands stung three from time.

Hopkinson did see an effort cleared off the line late on, Bennett fired wide of the post from distance in the final minute, but Chettle’s men had been out-muscled on this occasion.

ROBINS KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON LEADERS:
Ilkeston Town FC 2-0 Littleton FC – Saturday 14 April
Midland Football League Division 1 South
If Walsall Wood do finish the season as is expected, i.e. by topping the Midland Football League Division 1 South table, then Ilkeston Town FC will collectively be able to say that they did everything in their power to stop them.

A superior goal difference and games in hand may ultimately see the margin of victory as greater than it currently is, but with Leicester Road some ten points back in the standings, second place appears, at least at this late stage, to be as good as secured for the borough side in its first season since reformation under the ownership of Alan Hardy.

Win after win and a haul of three points in consecutive matches has seen Ilkeston keep the pressure on the West Midlands side, but they have in turn been responding to that pressure by carving out the results themselves.

However, the game at the NMG at the weekend saw Littleton boss the early moments, owning possession and giving Ilkeston something to think about, Deakin having to make a good save to deny Jones after just five minutes but saving comfortably from a deflected shot on 10.

An unlucky for Littleton 13th minute saw Ilkeston take the lead though – a well worked switched pass from Walker put Alex Marshall in to slot the ball past the keeper.

Efforts came and went including those from Walker whose cross evaded Marshall on 23, Wheatley unable to find the same player on 26, Lavelle-Moore back in after recent injury denied by Bunn’s point blank save on 32.

Ilkeston didn’t have a grip in this game though, Hilton getting past Deakin on 40, but Jemson was there to clear off the line, Alex Marshall having overcome a nosebleed saw a header cleared off the line in added time in the first half.

There was another shot cleared off the line six minutes in to the second half from Wheatley, but seven from time came a match winner – Tim Hopkinson putting the ball in after a huge error by keeper Bunn.

There was still time for Littleton to have a goal disallowed for offside, for Hopkinson to head narrowly wide and for Walker to see Bunn keep the score down late on but the last home game of this inaugural season for the refledged Robins finished with handshakes and cheers all round, the anguish of a year ago, all but forgotten.

STUBBORN STUDLEY ARE FINALLY BEATEN BY ROBINS:
Ilkeston Town FC 1-0 Studley FC – Saturday 7 April
Midland Football League Division 1 South:
Players and management at Ilkeston Town FC are determined to push league leaders Walsall Wood all the way and will not give up the fight until it is mathematically impossible.

The West Midlands side went into the weekend with three games in hand and a superior goal difference with the Robins just three points behind though.

Whilst the leaders were at Stafford, Ilkeston welcomed Studley to the NMG and made a determined start as a cross from Tom Marshall flashed across goal after just three minutes but couldn’t meet a target man, whilst after eight minutes, a move by Tim Hopkinson, in for the injured Lavelle-Moore, and Alex Marshall led to a very good opportunity that the visitors scrambled away.

With 14 on the clock, Studley cleared off the line from an Alex Marshall header but four minutes later, they were reshuffling the team after a poor tackle from Brett Fellows led to an instant red card after he sent Shaw crashing to the turf.

Efforts continued to pepper the Studley goal from the Marshall brothers and Walker, whilst five from the break, Bennett’s excellent cross found Alex Marshall who headed against the bar.  Meanwhile, Studley had been well into a defensive strategy.

Elsewere, Walsall Wood were leading 0-2 at Stafford Rangers, so Ilkeston knew that the pressure must still be applied.  As the hour mark approached, fans became restless as Ilkeston remained entrenched in the Studley half.

Twenty from time, a double save denied Bennett and Walker but with 12 to go, there was finally a breakthrough, Hopkinson claimed a goal although there were suggestions of an own goal in an untidy moment in the game.  There was a chance to make it 2-0 Ilkeston but Studley scrambled clear amid many troubles and whilst there was to be no second goal, there was to be another three points at the NMG.

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.”