07 25






1951/52 CENTRAL ALLIANCE FIRST DIVISION FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts
1 ILKESTON TOWN 38 26 8 4 112 39 60
2 Linby Colliery 38 22 9 7 87 46 53
3 Sutton Town 38 20 8 10 94 72 48
4 Creswell Colliery 38 21 5 12 93 52 47
5 Heanor Athletic 37 20 7 10 81 74 47
6 Gresley Rovers 38 19 7 12 112 85 45
7 Nottingham Forest 'A' 38 18 7 13 94 67 43
8 Retford British Ropes 38 17 6 15 92 79 40
9 Shirebrook Miners Welfare 38 18 4 16 110 99 40
10 South Normanton Miners Welfare 38 15 8 15 89 88 38
11 Parkhouse Colliery 38 13 11 14 82 78 37
12 Long Eaton Town 38 14 8 16 75 94 36
13 Belper Town 38 15 4 19 60 76 34
14 Ransome & Marles 38 15 4 19 86 105 34
15 Retford Town 37 13 6 18 69 91 32
16 Brush Sports Reserves 38 13 5 20 75 96 31
17 Coalville Town 38 13 5 20 65 96 31
18 Teversal & Silverhill Colliery 38 10 7 21 58 87 27
19 Bentinck Welfare 38 8 2 28 73 133 18
20 Matlock Town 38 8 1 29 64 111 17

NB. Heanor Athletic and Retford Town failed to complete their fixtures.



1951/52 CENTRAL ALLIANCE RESULTS

DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
18 AUG RANSOME & MARLES W3-0 HACKLAND 2, HAYWARD
22 AUG South Normanton Miners Welfare D2-2 HAYWARD 2
25 AUG Sutton Town L1-2 COXON
29 AUG Coalville Town W4-0 SOO, BOOTH, STRAW, BURROWS
05 SEP MANSFIELD TOWN 'A' W2-0 HENSHAW, STRAW
08 SEP Brush Sports Reserves W5-1 STRAW 3, BURROWS (PEN), WARD
12 SEP Linby Colliery L1-4 HACKLAND
15 SEP TEVERSAL & SILVERHILL COLLIERY D2-2 1574 JEPSON, STRAW
22 SEP Shirebrook Miners Welfare W3-2 BOOTH 2, HAYWARD
06 OCT Gresley Rovers W3-1 HENSHAW, CLIFF, WARD
20 OCT LINBY COLLIERY D0-0 3000
03 NOV SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE W4-1 BIBBY 2, HACKLAND, BOOTH
01 DEC COALVILLE TOWN W6-1 JEPSON 4, HACKLAND, WARD
08 DEC Creswell Colliery W5-1 LEDGER 2, JEPSON 2, WARD
15 DEC SUTTON TOWN W6-1 JEPSON 3, LEDGER, HACKLAND, BURROWS (PEN)
22 DEC Retford Town W2-1 WARD, JEPSON
25 DEC HEANOR ATHLETIC D0-0
26 DEC Heanor Athletic W2-0 DODD (OG), HENSHAW
05 JAN GRESLEY ROVERS W5-1 WARD, JEPSON 4
19 JAN BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES D2-2 LEDGER, JEPSON
09 FEB PARKHOUSE COLLIERY W5-1 JEPSON 3, BOOTH, WARD
23 FEB Bentinck Welfare W5-1 WARD, COXON, JEPSON 3
01 MAR RETFORD TOWN W6-1 JEPSON 2, LEDGER, BOOTH 3
08 MAR Parkhouse Colliery D3-3 JEPSON 2, BOOTH
15 MAR CRESWELL COLLIERY L0-2
22 MAR Retford British Ropes W3-2 JACKSON 2, COXON
29 MAR BENTINCK WELFARE W4-1 SMITH, COXON, BOOTH, HACKLAND (PEN)
02 APR SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE W4-2 BOOTH, HACKLAND (PEN), JEPSON 2
05 APR MATLOCK TOWN W6-1 SARGESON (OG), BOOTH, HOLROYD (OG), LEDGER, HACKLAND (PEN), WARD
12 APR LONG EATON TOWN D0-0
14 APR Long Eaton Town W2-0 BIBBY, BOOTH
15 APR Belper Town D0-0
19 APR Matlock Town W1-0 BOOTH
21 APR RETFORD BRITISH ROPES W4-1 WARD 2, BOOTH, COXON
23 APR Nottingham Forest 'A' L0-2
26 APR Teversal & Silverhill Colliery W3-0 COXON, WARD 2
01 MAY Ransome & Marles W4-0 HACKLAND, WARD, LEDGER, BIBBY
03 MAY NOTTINGHAM FOREST 'A' W4-0 BOOTH, WARD 2, LEDGER

NB. Mansfield Town 'A' dropped out of the league in mid season. Belper Town took over their fixtures. Ilkeston met both sides once.


1951/52 FA CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1QR 29 SEP GEDLING UNITED W7-3 2922 STRAW 3, HENSHAW, CLIFF 2, HACKLAND
2QR 13 OCT Long Eaton Town W3-0 HENSHAW, COXON, CLIFF
3QR 27 OCT NEWHALL UNITED W6-1 CLIFF 3, COXON, WARD, HACKLAND
4QR 10 NOV GRANTHAM W2-1 4510 CLIFF, BIBBY
1R 24 NOV ROCHDALE L0-2 9000  


1951/52 DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
2R 17 NOV DERBY VICTORIA W1-0 WARD
QF 29 DEC BLACKWELL COLLIERY W8-1 JEPSON 4, HACKLAND, HENSHAW 2, LEDGER
SF 16 FEB HEANOR ATHLETIC W5-0 JEPSON 4, LEDGER
F 11 APR DERBY COUNTY 'A' W2-1 4600 WARD 2

1951/52 CENTRAL ALLIANCE LEAGUE CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
2R 01 SEP RETFORD BRITISH ROPES W5-1 3062 WARD, DAFT, SOO 3
QF 12 JAN Nottingham Forest 'A' D1-1aet JEPSON
QFrep 26 JAN NOTTINGHAM FOREST 'A' L0-3  

GOOD OPENING FOR ILKESTON
18TH AUGUST 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 3 RANSOME & MARLES 0
Ilkeston got off to a winning start to the season albeit against poor opposition. The game began in a scrappy fashion and Ransome could have taken the lead but Broadbent took too long and was robbed by Mabbott. Town’s first effort was a Syd Burrows lob that was turned over by Pearson. The ‘keeper saved again when Mabbott took aim from long range and he produced an even better to one to deny debutant Jackie Ward from 10 yards. Harry Hayward then put the ball wide from a good position before Town had a licky escape when Broadbent shot over from just 3 yards. Dick Pickering then saved from Dixon and Hughes missed the target as the visitors grew in confidence. Hayward had a header saved before half time.

After Broadbent shot tamely from 6 yards Ilkeston took control after the break and they took the lead on 51 minutes. Billy Coxon found Les Cliff who sent Ward away and although the cross was blocked Horace Hackland shot the loose ball into the corner. Hayward shot just over before Ransome made their last attempts to get into the game, Dixon forcing a save from Pickering and then firing just wide. Arthur Jackson’s angled drive was turned over by Pearson but soon Town’s second came on 67 minutes. Cliff, under pressure, found Hayward who placed the ball into the net. Five minutes from time Town’s victory was made certain. Hackland’s throw in to Cliff sent Jackson away and his crossfield ball to Ward was directed low into the area. Coxon’s clever dummy freed Hackland to do the rest.

A FAIR POINT
22ND AUGUST 1951
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
A draw was the right result for two teams committed to attacking football. Ilkeston began the game well and took the lead on 8 minutes when a fine move involving Billy Coxon, Les Cliff and Jackie Ward led to Harry Hayward supplying the finish. South Normanton goalkeeper Bullock had to be at his best to save a Horace Hackland free kick and Hayward had a goal disallowed for offside. Hayward suffered a similar fate just before the break but in between the home side enjoyed a good spell. Phil Bibby was booked for obstruction during one dangerous attack and Eddie Rogers (later an Ilkeston player) shot wide from a good position before they equalised. Halford supplied the ball for Ken Ledger, the former Town winger who rejoined the club a few weeks later, to score on 30 minutes. Tucker then shot narrowly over.

Ilkeston regained the lead on 61 minutes when Coxon set up Hayward for his second. Both teams went in search of the next crucial goal and it was Tucker who got it with an unstoppable shot.

BLUSTERY WIND NO EXCUSE
25TH AUGUST 1951
SUTTON TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 1
This was a very disappointing game and standards were poor throughout even allowing for the strong wind. Ilkeston took the lead as early as the 3rd minute when Billy Coxon bundled the ball in after Walters sliced a clearance. But from then on they faded and they made some bad errors in defence. As Sutton came more into it Dick Pickering saved well from Hayes and Hill had a goal disallowed for offside. Harry Hayward missed a good chance for Ilkeston after ‘keeper Horton mishandled and he also headed over a Jackie Ward corner shortly after McCormack squandered an opportunity at the other end. Ilkeston had a lucky escape when Pickering fumbled badly but Sutton failed to take advantage. However, they equalised on 25 minutes when Orchard’s free kick evaded Ilkeston’s defence who appealed in vain for offside as Hayes scored. Sutton should have taken the lead before half time when Syd Burrows’ poor backpass let in Westwood but Mabbott made a timely intervention.

After the break Pickering let the ball slip from his grasp again and Ilkeston were grateful to Burrows who cleared the danger. During a rare Ilkeston attack Coxon saw his rising shot saved but it was no surprise when the home side got the winner. Again it was a defensive mistake that cost Town the goal. Les Smith left Praski’s hopeful lob forward for Pickering to collect but Bushby was alert to the situation and he nipped in to score a soft goal.

COALVILLE CRUSHED
29TH AUGUST 1951
COALVILLE TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Spirited Coalville put Ilkeston under considerable pressure during the opening 30 minutes and Dick Pickering was a busy man in goal but apart from when Asterley missed an empty net they never seriously looked like scoring. Then Ilkeston took control and went ahead on 38 minutes when Dennis Daft’s delightful cross was converted by Ken Soo. The second half was completely dominated by Ilkeston and further goals came via Alwyn Booth, Ray Straw and Syd Burrows.

ILKESTON SOO GOOD
1ST SEPTEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 5 RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 1 (LEAGUE CUP SECOND ROUND)
British Ropes fell to their first defeat of the season and could have no complaints. Both teams went close early in the game. Ray Straw’s first timer went just wide and then Dennis Daft cut inside before shooting narrowly over prior to Retford having a decent attempt of their own, when Whomersley’s lob had just too much height. Ken Soo shot high and wide for Town and Brown shot wide at the other end before Ilkeston blitzed Retford with a devastating three goal blast in five minutes. They took the lead in the 25th minute when Daft broke down the right and his cross was met perfectly by Jackie Ward’s head. After Soo ballooned over from 3 yards Daft scored the second on 28 minutes with a delicious lob from the right side of the area. Soo made it three two minutes later. Retford retalliated but Albert Ball was able to head Whomersley’s shot off the line. Ward almost scored again before the break but Jenkinson made a good stop from his header.

Clayton shot over the top early in the second half for Retford but Ilkeston were soon back in command. Soo’s shot on the turn brought a fine save from Jenkinson and when Brown had to leave the pitch for treatment Town took full advantage. Straw made progress down the right and his forward pass to Daft was crossed into the area where it was met first time by Soo for number four on 52 minutes. Powell made a rare save from Gardner and his opposite number only managed to stop Straw’s header at the second attempt. However, Retford did score on 65 minutes when Horace Hackland managed to block the ball on the line during a melee but the ball ran loose to Clayton who made no mistake. Three minutes later Soo completed his hat-trick when he crashed home Daft’s well placed centre. From then on Town sat back but any Retford attempts were well kept out by Powell, and most of the 2062 spectators went home happy.

STROLL AGAINST THE STAGS
5TH SEPTEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 2 MANSFIELD TOWN "A" 0
Ilkeston won comfortably but the game drifted in the second half once Ray Straw scored the second soon after the break. Ilkeston took the lead on 15 minutes when Derek Henshaw shook off the attention of a couple of defenders and fired in from 20 yards. Henshaw almost scored again soon after when his left foot screw shot struck the bar as did Dennis Daft’s follow up. Then Ken Soo had a golden chance but Mansfield ‘keeper Sharpe deflected his effort over the bar.

Mansfield dropped out of the Central Alliance soon after and their place was taken by Belper Town who inherited all the fixtures and results of The Stags.

BRUSH SPORTS DESTRAWED BY ILKESTON
8TH SEPTEMBER 1951
BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 1 ILKESTON TOWN 5
Town produced a magnificent performance and could easily have won by a much greater margin. Ray Straw was just off target early on but they went ahead with a classic counter attack on 7 minutes. Syd Burrows cleared Gee’s header off the line and Town quickly broke, Jackie Ward fed Ken Soo who held off a couple of challenges before flicking the ball inside to Straw who tucked the chance away. Two minutes later he scored again with a great header from Ward’s cross. Brush pulled a goal back on 17 minutes through a Charles penalty after Sharpe, breaking clear, was pulled down by Les Smith. Gee then had a great chance to level but he miskicked in front of goal. Ilkeston regained control and following Alwyn Booth and Ken Soo shots that were saved by Lilley, Straw completed his hat-trick on 34 minutes. Ilkeston almost conceded a soft goal when Smith and Dick Pickering were involved in a mix up but Burrows was able to clear off the line. But Burrows was soon the villain when he shot wide from the penalty spot after Ward had been pushed by Loomes. He made amends a minute before the break, however, when given another opportunity from the spot he made no mistake.

The prostrate Ward managed to push the ball in on 53 minutes for Town’s fifth. Although Pickering had to make a couple of good saves from free kicks by Roper and Moore Ilkeston were still on the hunt for more goals. Lilley made four fine stops from Ward, Soo, Booth and Straw and after Booth was just wide with a shot from long range the ‘keeper made two even better saves from Straw’s header and Hackland’s thunderbolt. In the dying minutes Brush almost scored a consolation when Smith let the ball pass him for Pickering to collect only for Gee to dash in. Somehow Smith managed to get back and recover the situation.

LINBY STRIKE AGAIN
12TH SEPTEMBER 1951
LINBY COLLIERY 4 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston’s unenviable record of never having beaten Linby continued in the eighth meeting between the two rivals. Dennis Breedon (later an Ilkeston player) scored a hat-trick and he scored the first goal on 8 minutes when he converted Rex Clarke’s (another future Town man) cross. Town came desperately close to equalising on several occasions. Dennis Daft hit the foot of the post and Peck twice had to clear off the line but Linby went further ahead on 25 minutes when Carter split Town’s defence wide open for Breedon to score his second. Ilkeston continued to play well and it was Horace Hackland who gave them hope when he headed in Daft’s cross before half time.

All hopes disappeared after half time when Les Smith’s poor backpass let in Clarke to slam in the third and Breedon completed the rout before the end. Syd Burrows twice went inches wide with well struck free kicks as Town looked for a consolation goal.

TOWN HELD AT HOME BY TEVERSAL
15TH SEPTEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 2 TEVERSAL & SILVERHILL COLLIERY 2
Ilkeston, in front of a 1574 gate, began the game with only ten men due to the non arrival of ‘keeper Powell. Horace Hackland went in goal during the early stages and he made a good save from Buchan soon after former Ilkeston forward Cliff Sinclair had gone close. Hackland was beaten in the 12th minute, however, when Hodgkinson’s short free kick was thumped in by Dickinson. At this point injured goalkeeper Dick Pickering took to the field to allow Hackland to resume his usual role at left half. Ilkeston then enjoyed a good spell. Arthur Jackson shot wide and Oakley saved from Jackie Ward before the equaliser arrived on 23 minutes. Dennis Daft’s short corner was helped on by Jackson for Barrie Jepson to score on his debut. Hackland shot over the top from long range and, after Sinclair shot right across the face of Pickering’s goal, Oakley reacted well to keep out Ray Straw’s lob. Straw was not to be denied and he gave Town the lead on 38 minutes after Jepson sent Ward away up the left wing. Teversal responded and Pickering made a fine stop from Dickinson but Town could have gone further ahead before half time when Oakley spilled Straw’s stunning shot only for Jackson to fire the rebound wide.

Teversal’s equaliser came three minutes after the break. Sinclair and Barlow combined well to set up Hodgkinson, and this goal signalled a spell of considerable pressure from the visitors. Barlow spoilt a superb individual run by shooting tamely wide and then Sinclair ended his solo run by firing straight at Pickering. Ilkeston finally came back to life during the latter stages. Straw’s shot was deflected wide by Peake, Syd Burrows’ free kick from the edge of the box flew wide and both Hackland and Jackson wasted good opportunities to score. Ward’s shot on the run almost found the corner but in the end Teversal held on for a deserved point.

TOWN TURN IT AROUND IN LAST TWELVE MINUTES
22ND SEPTEMBER 1951
SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston, two goals down with just twelve minutes to play, somehow returned home with the points but Shirebrook only had themselves to blame by settling back to defend when Town were down and out. Geoff Jones went close to giving Town an early lead when he shot wide from distance but Shirebrook soon put them on the back foot. Rhodes tested Powell, Les Smith was lucky when he sliced a clearance in front of his own goal and Powell then had to make another save from Rhodes but he could do nothing about Hayes’ first time shot from Sansom’s flick on 15 minutes. Syd Burrows’ free kick from 18 yards lacked its customary power and was saved by Hunt, who also saved a screamer from Cliff Hancock. In between those Ilkeston efforts Kimberley shot just over at the other end and on 33 minutes it was no surprise when Shirebrook scored their second. Powell could only parry Hayes’ shot and Sansom was left with a simple finish. Town fought back strongly before half time. Hunt tipped over an effort by Les Cliff and Horace Hackland clipped the post but Shirebrook went close again just before the break through Hopkins.

Shirebrook made the fatal error of sitting back after the break but the inspired goalkeeping of Hunt, who made superb saves from Burrows’ long shot and Jackie Ward, kept Town at bay. That all changed in the final few minutes. On 78 minutes Jones provided Alwyn Booth with the chance to head home the first. Two minutes later he scored again, this time converting Harry Hayward’s flick. Incredibly Town went ahead on 83 minutes through Hayward’s superb overhead kick following good work by Ward. Stunned Shirebrook frantically went in search of an equaliser but they were denied by Powell’s brilliant save from Kimberley.

GOALS GALORE IN GLORIOUS GEDLING CUP ENCOUNTER
29TH SEPTEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 7 GEDLING UNITED 3 (FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND)
2922 fans witnessed an amazing cup tie as Ilkeston, with Joe Sharman and George Darwin making their debuts, were stung into life by Martin’s stunning hat-trick inside the opening 15 minutes. Derek Henshaw went close with a header early in the game but Gedling took the lead on 8 minutes when O’Dourd and Lawrence opened up Town’s defence for Martin’s first. Horace Hackland almost equalised but his free kick from the edge of the box thumped against the post. Remarkably Gedling went further ahead on 12 minutes when Martin headed in Stainwright’s cross and they increased their lead to three two minutes later after Ilkeston’s defence was opened up again. Ilkeston’s response was equally stunning. On 20 minutes they reduced the arrears through Ray Straw’s shot and, after Salvin saved a shot from Les Cliff and Alwyn Booth headed wide, he scored again following Booth’s effort that came off the underside of the bar in the 23rd minute. Straw completed his hat-trick after half an hour after great work by Jackie Ward down the left. Gedling reminded everyone of their threat when Joe Sharman immediately had to make a fine save from Stainwright yet Town went ahead on 31 minutes when Ward gave Henshaw the chance to score with a header. Lawrence fired just over for the visitors whose ‘keeper Salvin then had to make a good stop from Cliff. However, on 39 minutes, Cliff made it five when he shot on the run after being sent through by Henshaw.

Gedling refused to lie back after half time and both sides went in search of further goals. Henshaw saw his shot saved by Salvin, Sharman saved bravely at Kay’s feet, Ward had a header saved by Salvin, and Sharman was twice forced into good stops from Kay and Stainwright. Town almost went further ahead when Ward’s cross hit Cliff and went over the bar from point blank range. Ward then was just off target with another effort before Ilkeston’s sixth arrived on 63 minutes. Straw and Phil Bibby combined well to find Cliff who forced his way through to score. Still Gedling weren’t finished. Sharman had to be at his best to stop O’Dourd, Kay and Martin from scoring and the latter almost got his fourth when his powerful shot struck the angle of the woodwork. When Ilkeston went forward again Henshaw’s effort was stopped by Salvin but they finally put the match beyond doubt on 84 minutes when Cliff surged forward and ran the ball into Hackland’s path who scored with a brilliant right foot shot. The incredible entertainment lasted right until the end while courageous Gedling continued to push forward but their last chance, which fell to Lawrence, was saved by Sharman.

ILKESTON GO THIRD WITH LATE SHOW
6TH OCTOBER 1951
GRESLEY ROVERS 1 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston’s superior finishing was the chief reason why they returned home with both points. Gresley had plenty of attacks but found Joe Sharman and the Town defence in no mood to give anything away. Sharman made a good early save from Tapping and then Cadwallader shot high over from 4 yards before Sharman made a smart save from Rodwell as the home side attacked early on. Ilkeston then came more into it, Derek Henshaw striking the bar, Jackie Ward headed wide, Horace Hackland shot just off target and Alwyn Booth forced Fairbrother into a good save. Pallett missed a great chance to put Gresley ahead when he miskicked in front of goal and then Fearn’s rising shot was saved by Sharman. Town then gradually increased the pressure before half time, and they took the lead on 44 minutes. After Les Cliff had fired over and Fairbrother saved Booth’s header, the latter flicked the ball to Henshaw who scored with a first time shot. Ken Soo blasted wildly over with the last kick of the half.

Gresley began the second half strongly and equalised through Fearn’s penalty after Syd Burrows handled. Sharman then made saves from Jim Ward and Fearn before Town took control in the latter stages. On 75 minutes Ilkeston went back in front when Henshaw’s overhit cross was returned by Ward for Cliff to finish. Fairbrother then made saves from Ward, Cliff and Soo before Town finally got the killer third goal when Soo and Horace Hackland worked well to supply Ward with the chance. With Ilkeston in total control Fairbrother denied Cliff in the dying minutes.

CUP PROGRESS FOR ILKESTON
13TH OCTOBER 1951
LONG EATON TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3 (FA CUP SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston came away with a fine win against their local rivals who certainly gave them plenty to think about. Billy Coxon had the first real chance when he was put clear but he missed the target and Long Eaton began to have attacking ideas of their own. Johnson shot wildly over and Bennett had a header saved by Joe Sharman. Ilkeston took the lead on 43 minutes soon after Syd Burrows had sent a free kick wide of the post. Derek Henshaw was the scorer when he cleverly evaded Butler and fired in from a narrow angle.

Les Cliff could have given Town a bit of breathing space when he put a good chance over the bar and as a result they had plenty of second half defending to do as Long Eaton went in search of an equaliser. Sharman made two great saves from Morgan and Gutteridge, and then Morgan, in the clear after Les Smith slipped, shot wide. Sharman then saved Lyman’s overhead kick and he produced a truly outstanding stop to prevent Morgan from levelling. On 72 minutes Ilkeston got the crucial second thanks to fine work between Cliff and Jackie Ward who set up Coxon nicely. After Ward shot straight at Orgill Long Eaton desperately tried to find a way back but shots by Morgan and Bennett and a Lyman header were all saved by Sharman. Ilkeston finally killed off their challenge when Horace Hackland’s long clearance sent Cliff away to score, although Orgill would have been disappointed not to have kept out Cliff’s finish.

LINBY DENY ILKESTON VICTORY
20TH OCTOBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 0 LINBY COLLIERY 0
3000 spectators saw two attacking teams provide good entertainment but in the end both teams failed to score. Ilkeston, for whom Syd Burrows made his 150th appearance, were the most disappointed especially as they had created the majority of the chances. The first half was frantic and end to end. The first opportunity fell to Linby’s Dulson but Joe Sharman was equal to his effort. Derek Henshaw tried his luck at the other end and saw his angled drive deflected wide by Peck. Horace Hackland’s long distance drive flew wide but back came Linby and Rex Clarke (later an Ilkeston player) had a good shot saved by Sharman. Billy Coxon almost put Town ahead when he beat three defenders on a solo run but his cracking shot brought a spectacular save from Pugh who then stopped Les Cliff’s overhead kick. When Jackie Ward had a shot blocked Hackland fired the rebound wide, before Pugh was back in action saving Alwyn Booth’s header. Cliff almost put Town ahead but Peck cleared off the line and then Hackland had to do likewise with his head at the other end to prevent Dulson from scoring. Ilkeston had another escape when Carter struck the angle of the woodwork but they had the last chance of the first half when Pugh saved Cliff’s header.

The second half was less intense. Drury shot wide for Linby and then he saw his free kick saved after Pugh had been alive to Phil Bibby’s shot at the other end. Billy Coxon began a spell of fierce Ilkeston pressure with a piledriver which Pugh saved but Linby managed to hold out to claim a point.

CLIFF KEY TO CUP SUCCESS
27TH OCTOBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 6 NEWHALL UNITED 1 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND)
Les Cliff’s third minute goal, when he took full advantage of Derek Henshaw’s perfect centre, set Town on their way to a straightforward victory. Cliff and Alwyn Booth then both just missed the target before Billy Coxon beat the offside trap to score the second on 15 minutes. Joe Sharman saved Fearn’s cracker during Newhall’s first serious attack but Ilkeston continued to dominate. Syd Burrows’ free kick beat Mueller but Astbury was well positioned to clear off the line and then Jackie Ward’s fine shot on the run produced a good stop from Mueller. However, Newhall pulled a goal back on the half hour, Harrison’s pass finding Stubbs whose angled shot deceived Sharman. Their joy was shortlived as two minutes later a defensive error allowed Cliff in to score Town’s third. Mueller kept the score down thanks to a spectacular save from Coxon and further stops to deny Henshaw and Cliff.

Ilkeston went further ahead six minutes into the second half when Henshaw headed the ball beyond Mueller to leave Cliff with a simple tap in for his hat-trick. Ilkeston relaxed briefly and after Sharman saved from Fearn Newhall had an even better chance when George Darwin fouled Brindley but Parker put the penalty wide. Parker’s misery almost became more acute and he was relieved that his poor back pass ended with Henshaw’s shot being saved by Mueller. Brindley shot wide at the other end before Town scored twice in three minutes. Henshaw’s corner was headed home by Ward and, in the 78th minute, another Henshaw corner was blasted in by Horace Hackland. Darwin then tried to join in the fun but his shot was saved. Then, just before the end, Cliff was most unlucky when his first time shot came back off the post and he fired the rebound over.

SHIREBROOK SHATTERED BY ILKESTON
3RD NOVEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 4 SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 1
Ilkeston, who had done everything but score, could scarcely believe it when Kimberley went on a superb solo run past four defenders and shot Shirebrook into a 56th minute lead. But they rallied round to go on to win in fine style. Hunt, magnificent throughout, frustrated Town further with saves from Les Cliff and Billy Coxon and then Parker blocked Alwyn Booth’s goalbound shot. Town were deservedly level on the hour when Jackie Ward’s free kick was headed in by Phil Bibby and the floodgates opened. Four minutes later Horace Hackland made a brilliant run down the left before firing Town into the lead. Bibby then shot over after Hunt punched out Ken Ledger’s cross, Booth’s first time shot hit the bar and Ledger had a header saved before the third goal came. On 82 minutes Coxon’s defence splitting pass found Booth who shot in off the post and a minute later Bibby made it four from fully 30 yards. The game ended unpleasantly when Bibby brought down Reid in the area. The pair exchanged blows resulting in bookings for both men but Shirebrook’s hopes of a consolation disappeared when Woodcock’s penalty was saved by Joe Sharman. The referee ordered a retake and this time Cooke hit the underside of the bar.

The first half, which began in rain that led to a slippery surface, was dominated by Ilkeston. Ledger evaded Woodcock but shot tamely at Hunt, Ward crossed right across the face of the goal, and then Cliff was denied by Hunt on four separate occasions when he looked certain to score. Hunt continued with his heroics early in the second half with fine saves from Ward, Ledger and Cliff.

HISTORY MAKERS
10TH NOVEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 2 GRANTHAM 1 (FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND)
A superb Ilkeston display, witnessed by 4510 spectators, saw them deservedly beat quality Midland League opposition to progress to the First Round of the FA Cup, the first team in the history of Ilkeston football to do so. It was a tense, thrilling game and Burdett caused early problems for Town but his feeble finish was saved by Joe Sharman. On 10 minutes Ilkeston got the goal they wanted. Billy Coxon ran forward and passed neatly to Phil Bibby whose delightful lay off was finished perfectly by Les Cliff. The game became very open and Geoff Morley (later an Ilkeston player) shot over whilst Jackie Ward’s shot was saved at the second attempt by Hinton. Grantham equalised in the 16th minute when Helling broke through to beat the advancing Sharman. Ilkeston refused to lie down, however. Derek Henshaw’s shot on the run was tipped away by Hinton and he made another save from Bibby’s fine shot. Helling almost put Grantham in front but he shot against the bar yet Ilkeston also came close before half time when Bibby’s sharp header was saved.

Ilkeston supporters went wild with delight when Town went ahead three minutes after the break. Coxon’s perfect pass found Bibby who shot beyond Hinton into the net. For a spell Town dominated and Hinton was a busy man. Ward fired wide under pressure and Bibby just failed to get enough contact on Ward’s cross as Ilkeston continued to press. However, Grantham gradually assumed control to set up a tense finale. Sharman saved from McCartney and Clay twice went wide with first time shots before Sharman somehow stopped Helling from point blank range. Ilkeston thought they had made the game safe late on when Ward scored but Bibby had strayed offside. They were not to be denied, however, as they hung on valiantly until the final whistle.

UNCONVINCING VICTORY OVER VICTORIA
17TH NOVEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 1 DERBY VICTORIA 0 (DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP SECOND ROUND)
With one eye on their forthcoming FA Cup tie with Rochdale Ilkeston took no risks and as a result struggled to see off their Derby & District League opponents. John Commander, Victoria’s young defender, caught the eye and he joined Ilkeston later in the season. Victoria were the better side for large chunks of the first half but Town’s overall superior quality enabled them to carve out plenty of chances. Ken Ledger just failed to connect with Jackie Ward’s teasing cross, Ward’s shot was blocked by Commander and then he had a rising shot saved by Kent. Town had a scare when Joe Sharman spilled Barron’s free kick but George Darwin was able to scramble it clear off the line. Ward and Phil Bibby missed chances and Billy Coxon’s long range shot was easily saved as Ilkeston attacked before half time.

Without ever dominating the second half Town continued to look the likelier scorers. Coxon’s first time shot went inches wide, Les Cliff’s header brought a good save from Kent and Ward, meeting the ball on the run, saw his shot skim the bar. Ledger had a header saved, Ward headed against the bar before Cliff lashed the rebound out of the ground, Les Smith’s burst through the middle forced another save from Kent and Cliff’s first time shot flashed wide. When two shots from Bibby were blocked and Coxon’s shot brought another save from Kent it seemed as if the game was going to go to extra time. Finally Town put the fans out of their misery with a late headed goal by Ward following Ledger’s burst down the right.

EPIC ENCOUNTER ENDS IN CHAOS
24TH NOVEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 0 ROCHDALE 2 (FA CUP FIRST ROUND)
The major attraction of the visiting Third Division (North) side Rochdale ensured a record Manor Ground attendance of 9000 was set (this figure was to be beaten five years later). The game, played in heavy rain and mud, was a dour, desperate battle in which Ilkeston defended magnificently and fought for every ball. However, the major talking point was the chaotic events that took place from the 83rd minute that made national sporting headlines. The referee had already exchanged the match ball for a white one as visibility in the gathering darkness had become increasingly poor, when a Rochdale defender, keen to protect his team’s two goal advantage, hoofed it out of the ground where it inconveniently became lodged high up a tree. Ilkeston officials tried in vain for some considerable time to dislodge it and the players grew frustrated as the play was held up. Several spectators invaded the pitch and had to be forcibly removed before the referee, his patience running out, ordered a restart with the original match ball. Play continued, the action almost impossible to see, while further attempts were made to retrieve the white ball. Tempers began to boil over on the pitch and Syd Burrows, along with Rochdale’s Middlebrough, were sent off for fighting as they battled over a dead ball, the referee having blown for a free kick several seconds before. Shortly after their dismissal, the referee blew his whistle again and many in the ground thought that he had abandoned the game. In fact he was signalling for full time. Meanwhile, efforts to regain the white ball were successful but the referee reported Town to the FA for deliberately trying to obstruct the progress of the match. The FA, however, once aware of the full facts decided that there was no charge to answer.

Ilkeston could have taken the lead in the first minute when Billy Coxon broke through only to be tripped by Buchan. The free kick led to Derek Henshaw crossing the ball over to Horace Hackland who struck it fiercely but over the bar. Town defended grimly in the face of sustained Rochdale pressure but the visitors edged in front on 26 minutes. Betts’ shot was beaten down by Joe Sharman but he reacted quickly to slam the rebound high into the net. With Barrie Jepson a real handful Town exerted some pressure of their own before half time without success.

Ilkeston bravely went onto the attack after half time. A lovely move involving Hackland, Les Cliff and Jackie Ward ended with the former getting in a shot that was well saved by Nicholls. The turning point came when Derek Henshaw’s cross found Ward with the goal at his mercy but the ball got stuck between his feet and Nicholls was able to smother his shot. Rochdale then regained control and Arthur shot against the post before they scored the second on 67 minutes. Phil Bibby handled during a goalmouth scramble and Betts scored his second from the penalty spot. Three minutes later the white ball was introduced and the rest, as they say, is history.

JEPSON JOY
1ST DECEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 6 COALVILLE TOWN 1
Town’s first league match in a month ended in a convincing victory but Coalville’s stiff resistance only subsided during the last 35 minutes. Dennis Daft immediately tested Parsons as Ilkeston went on the attack and they soon took an early lead. Billy Coxon and Jackie Ward exchanged passes before playing Barrie Jepson in to round the ‘keeper and walk the ball in. Jepson then hit the post before the visitors rallied. Ballard’s stinging drive struck the foot of the post and then he had a dangerous shot deflected wide by Les Smith. J.Richards then shot across the face of Ilkeston’s goal before Charlton shot well wide. Derek Henshaw with a lob and Daft’s side footer were only just off target for Ilkeston, Charlton’s long range shot was saved by Joe Sharman and Parsons saved from Jepson, Ward and Henshaw as play fluctuated. The save of the first half was made by Sharman from S.Richards shortly before half time.

Coalville had bad luck when Bradford left the pitch injured soon after the restart but this did not prevent them from equalising in the 55th minute when S.Richards beat the offside trap. Within a minute Ilkeston were back in front when Daft set up Jepson to score a delightful goal. After a Jepson header flashed inches wide and Ward had a header saved Jepson completed his hat-trick with a powerful 62nd minute shot. Sharman was forced to make a spectacular save to keep out Collett’s free kick but by now Town were well in control. Coxon’s superb pass released Daft who laid the ball into Jepson’s path for his and Town’s fourth on 72 minutes. Coxon’s cracking 30 yarder was only just off target prior to the referee calling for the white ball to be used for the final fifteen minutes. It was not used, however, because Coalville complained that it clashed with Ilkeston’s shirts. Horace Hackland scored the fifth on 81 minutes and Coxon almost scored following a brilliant solo run but his final shot was wide. Ward scored the sixth three minutes from time following excellent play between Jepson and Daft.

LEAGUE LEADERS CRESWELL OVERWHELMED
8TH DECEMBER 1951
CRESWELL COLLIERY 1 ILKESTON TOWN 5
Strong wind, driving rain and a treacherous surface were no barriers to an excellent Ilkeston victory. Town, clad in bright orange shirts, took the lead on 4 minutes when Horace Hackland’s long clearance was helped on by Arthur Jackson for Ken Ledger to beat Wilson from 20 yards. Creswell, unbeaten at home for a year, responded with Parnham blasting over from close range shortly before Wilson produced a good save as Barrie Jepson broke clear. Creswell continued to look lively, Williams shooting wide after Syd Burrows miskicked and Galley’s fine header was tipped over by Joe Sharman but Ilkeston doubled their advantage a minute before half time when Billy Coxon put Ledger in the clear.

Lee caused alarm bells when he pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute but from then on Town were the masters. Jackie Ward’s shot was tipped round the post by Wilson but the ‘keeper was unable to hold Coxon’s 30 yard drive in the 65th minute and Jepson followed up to score the third. After Coxon had a shot saved, his next pass found Ward who struck the ball home first time on 71 minutes. Wilson denied Coxon again soon after but Barrie Jepson battled through to score the fifth twelve minutes from time. In the dying minutes Hackland went on an extraordinary run past five defenders before being tripped. Bizarrely no penalty was awarded and a free kick for offside was awarded to Creswell.

SUTTON STRONG ARM TACTICS FAIL TO SUBDUE TOWN
15TH DECEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 6 SUTTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston faced strong opponents again but third placed Sutton, whose robust tactics riled Town’s supporters, were destroyed in the second half. The result lifted Ilkeston up to second place. Play was even on the slippery surface during the opening stages. Sutton’s Fletcher only just missed the target before Reg Ball (later an Ilkeston goalkeeper) saved Billy Coxon’s shot. McCormick then got in the way of a Barrie Jepson effort but Sutton took a 22nd minute lead soon after Joe Sharman made a save from Fletcher, Praski just getting ahead of the Ilkeston ‘keeper in a race for a through ball. Ilkeston dominated the remainder of the half as Sutton resorted to fouling at every opportunity, their only effort of note being a Hill header that flew wide. Coxon shot wide, Ken Ledger hit the bar, England handled but no penalty was awarded and a further Ilkeston penalty appeal was turned down. England and Roe’s over zealous tackling was not stamped down on by the struggling referee who also took no notice of the latter’s persistent foul and abusive language.

Ironically Sutton lost Hill at half time due to a head wound and their number was further reduced in the final few minutes when McCormack was forced to retire with a knee injury but by then Ilkeston were already six goals to the good. Town equalised in the 50th minute when Horace Hackland supplied Jepson with an easy chance and, after Phil Bibby’s shot flashed inches wide, they took the lead on 56 minutes when Arthur Jackson sent Ledger clear to score with a rocket. Hackland made it three two minutes later before Coxon’s rising shot was tipped over by Ball. Les Smith struck a rare shot just wide and then Orchard, in a rare Sutton attack, put a free kick wide. Ilkeston went further ahead on 69 minutes with a well worked goal scored by Jepson, the fifth came three minutes later when Jackie Ward and Syd Burrows scored from the sot and Jepson completed his hat-trick seven minutes from time, three minutes after the white ball had been introduced. It was the first time Ilkeston had scored using a white ball.

TOWN SURVIVE LATE RETFORD RALLY
22ND DECEMBER 1951
RETFORD TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston failed to take advantage of having a man extra during the first ten minutes while Retford’s Johnson was getting ready following his late arrival. They began promisingly, Arthur Jackson testing Gray and Horace Hackland cracked a free kick against the bar, but Retford’s Powell also had a chance to score before Johnson appeared. He dragged his shot wide. Then Hackland almost deflected a Retford shot into his own net but on 35 minutes Ilkeston took the lead. Jackson sent Jackie Ward away and his shot on the run beat goalkeeper Gray. Retford responded well and Joe Sharman made two excellent saves to deny Mole while Syd Burrows was well placed to clear another effort off the line. Ward then had a shot tipped over by Gray as half time neared.

The second half saw both teams go close early on. Gray saved a Billy Coxon shot and then Barrie Jepson uncharacteristically miskicked in front of goal. Back came Retford and Mole blasted over from 3 yards after Sharman had pushed out Powell’s shot. Ken Ledger then was just off target following a great run as Ilkeston went forward but the next goal came Retford’s way, Mole scoring from the spot after Phil Bibby had handled. Both teams then went in search of the winner and it was Ilkeston who got it seven minutes from the end. Earlier Coxon went close when he shot across the face of Retford’s goal but Ilkeston they had more joy when Jepson made no mistake when he met Ward’s cross. Retford threw everything at Ilkeston during the final few minutes but Town defended valiantly.

NO CHRISTMAS CHEER
25TH DECEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 0 HEANOR ATHLETIC 0
This was a dour local derby on a heavy pitch with very few incidents of note. Heanor were on the defensive and were content to rely on the occasional break and the tactic worked very well. Lloyd Barke, the former Town defender, had a fine game for the visitors and they came agonisingly close to winning the game, but Bailey twice hit the post. Ilkeston almost won it in the dying seconds when Derek Henshaw’s flying header was brilliantly saved by former ‘keeper Dick Hogg.

BACK TO WINNING WAYS
26TH DECEMBER 1951
HEANOR ATHLETIC 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Town won this rough and tumble local derby and the margin would have been much greater but for the woodwork. Heanor made the early running with Buxton shooting over and a Hart shot which cannoned off Joe Sharman’s shoulder. Then Town came into it as unlucky Derek Henshaw’s effort was disallowed for offside prior to him hitting the post with a header. Former Ilkeston ‘keeper Dick Hogg was kept busy as they continued to press. Barrie Jepson’s shot from distance was just off target before they finally took the lead in the 35th minute when Dodd put through his own goal. Mayes almost equalised for Heanor but Syd Burrows cleared off the line and then Henshaw headed wide at the other end.

Horace Hackland shot over for Ilkeston early in the second half but they had Joe Sharman to thank for preserving the lead when he made a brilliant save from Bailey’s close range shot. On 57 minutes Town scored the deciding goal when Billy Coxon set up Henshaw for a well deserved goal. There were no further goals although Jepson came close to getting the third when his diving header rattled the crossbar.

BUSINESS AS USUAL AGAINST BLACKWELL
29TH DECEMBER 1951
ILKESTON TOWN 8 BLACKWELL COLLIERY 1 (DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP QUARTER FINAL)
Notts Alliance side Blackwell posed early problems for Ilkeston when Harper shot against the foot of the post and then Draper rounded Joe Sharman only to shoot wide. But from then on there was only one team in it. Jackie Ward forced Bolstridge into a save before Town took a seventh minute lead. Horace Hackland’s free kick was banged home by Barrie Jepson for the first of his four goals. The treacherous surface came to Ilkeston’s aid in the 14th minute when Hackland’s shot squirmed through Bolstridge’s grasp for the second. On 22 minutes Jepson’s cross from the right was converted by Derek Henshaw to make it three. Blackwell had a couple of efforts, Draper’s shot skimming the bar and Riley was wildly off target, but in between Ken Ledger came close, his shot being scrambled away by the Blackwell defence. Ilkeston had the ball in the net again before the break but Jepson had used his hands.

Four minutes into the second half Henshaw cleverly found the unmarked Ledger for the fourth and Billy Coxon set up Jepson to make it five on the hour. After a Ledger thunderbolt was well saved by Bolstridge Town scored their sixth on 65 minutes thanks to the winger’s great run and cross which was headed in by Jepson for his hat-trick. Bolstridge then made a brilliant save from Coxon but he could do little to prevent Henshaw from scoring number seven in the 68th minute. Sharman made a rare save to keep out Hill although it was Hill’s shot, parried by Sharman, in the 88th minute that led to Riley scoring a consolation goal for Blackwell. A minute earlier Jepson had scored his fourth when he headed in a corner.

BARRIE BOOSTS ILKESTON HOPES
5TH JANUARY 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 GRESLEY ROVERS 1
Barrie Jepson scored four for the second game running to keep Town’s title challenge well and truly on course. Gresley played well enough for much of the first half and they created the first chance but Tapping’s header was saved by Joe Sharman. However, Ilkeston took the lead in the 6th minute when Jepson ran up the left and crossed for Jackie Ward who was left with a simple finish. Gresley ‘keeper Fairbrother then did well to keep out Jepson and in the visitors’ next attack they should have scored when former Ilkeston forward Charlie Nicklin shot wide with only Sharman to beat. Derek Henshaw’s header was saved by Fairbrother but Gresley continued to have most of the play. Cadwallader was just off target with his shot and Redfern tested Sharman. End to end play became the feature of the rest of the half. Kendrick’s attempted clearance bounced off Ward but to Gresley’s relief it went the wrong side of the post. Phil Bibby then made a fine run and his final shot was saved by Fairbrother, and Ken Ledger fired inches wide from a narrow angle. Nicklin shot well wide, Cadwallader’s shot stung Sharman’s fingers, Nicklin fired wide again and Sharman saved Cadwallader’s close range shot as Gresley forced Ilkeston back. Just before Nicklin’s second miss Ledger had shot over for Ilkeston and it was the home side who extended the lead on 43 minutes. Les Smith’s long clearance found Jepson who held off a challenge before firing past Fairbrother.

Gresley almost pulled a goal back early in the second half when Nicklin’s corner was headed off the line by George Darwin but it was Ilkeston who scored next, on 55 minutes. Jepson connected with Ward’s centre and, soon after Billy Coxon had a shot saved, Jepson scored again when he headed in Ledger’s delightful 70th minute cross. Three minutes later Syd Burrows scored an own goal but Ilkeston were unruffled. Ledger forced a save and then Ward hit the post before Jepson scored his fourth seven minutes from time after Henshaw’s shot came to him via the post.

BITTER LEMON AS LATE CHANCE HITS BAR
12TH JANUARY 1952
NOTTINGHAM FOREST "A" 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (LEAGUE CUP QUARTER FINAL)
Extra time failed to provide a winner although Ilkeston should have won it during normal time, Syd Burrows missing a penalty with the last kick. As it was they almost lost at the death when Lemon shot against the bar. Joe Sharman’s poor throw out that went straight to Priestley could have been costly but he made amends to save the first time shot, thus preventing Forest from taking an early lead. Phil Bibby’s shot brought a good stop from Farmer at the other end but Forest continued to look dangerous. Priestley shot into the side net under pressure from Les Smith and Sharman saved a Lemon header. Town went in front on 21 minutes when Barrie Jepson pounced on a mistake and calmly rounded both Dave Baker (a future Ilkeston legend) and Farmer to score. Forest were far from disheartened. Priestley shot wide after Sharman had punched out a cross and the Ilkeston goalkeeper made further saves from Priestley, Holder and Longworth before half time. Town’s only other effort of note during the first half was Derek Henshaw’s shot that was saved by Farmer.

Ilkeston improved greatly after the break. Dennis Daft’s header was saved and although Hughes went close for Forest soon after, Ilkeston dominated the half. Horace Hackland’s corner was headed off the line by Knight, Henshaw’s header was saved and then he had a shot deflected over the bar. Farmer was kept extremely busy until the 88th minute when Forest equalised completely against the run of play. George Darwin failed to clear properly and Priestley scored with an angled drive. Frantic Ilkeston pressure during an incredible final two minutes could easily have resulted in a goal. Jackie Ward bundled Farmer and ball over the line but the goal was rightly disallowed. Moments later a Jepson drive skimmed the bar and then Ward hit the post. High drama soon followed when Billy Coxon was fouled but Burrows thumped the penalty wide.

Town continued to look dangerous during the first half of extra time. Daft had a shot saved, Hackland and Bibby had efforts go just wide, Farmer saved another Bibby shot and Coxon fired over. However, Ilkeston began to tire and Forest began to look the likelier winners. Holder shot wide and Priestley neatly lobbed Sharman but the ball just cleared the bar. Hackland’s fierce shot flew narrowly over but this was Town’s final effort of note. Sharman made a good stop to deny Knight and Priestley shot wide. Then came the moment when Lemon so nearly wrapped up the game for Forest.

TOWN RUE MISSED CHANCES AND CONTROVERSIAL DECISIONS
19TH JANUARY 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 2
A heavy frost made conditions difficult but Ilkeston could only blame themselves and the outstanding visiting ‘keeper Piskonub for not winning the game. Joe Sharman did not touch the ball once during the second half, so relentless was the Ilkeston pressure.

Piskonub served notice of what was to follow when he saved from Jackie Ward early in the game and the next attack was typical of Town’s afternoon. Billy Coxon crashed a shot against the bar and Horace Hackland fired wide from the rebound. They did take the lead, however, in the 7th minute when Barrie Jepson, on his own, just managed to keep the ball in play and his pass was converted by Ken Ledger. Brush equalised in controversial fashion in the 15th minute when the referee overruled the linesman’s flag as Nairn scored from an offside position. Phil Bibby, Jackie Ward and Ledger all went close and then Town had two goals disallowed for offside. They regained the lead on 25 minutes when Jepson headed in Ledger’s perfect cross. But on 34 minutes Brush equalised again when Harry Brennan (later an Ilkeston player) pounced as the ball was only partly cleared by Town’s defence. A remarkable incident took place shortly after. Ledger’s wayward cross was caught by Piskonub, who seeing the linesman’s flag, put the ball down for a goal kick. As no whistle had been blown Jepson nipped in to tap the ball into the unguarded net but the referee refused to allow the goal. Piskonub then saved a Hackland free kick and repeated the feat to keep out Jepson’s flying header. Brush almost took an undeserved lead on the stroke of half time when Ernie Williamson (later an Ilkeston player) had a shot deflected wide by Les Smith.

FOREST SECOND STRING TOO HOT IN THE SNOW
26TH JANUARY 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST "A" 3 (LEAGUE CUP QUARTER FINAL REPLAY)
Forest fielded their reserves side and their superior strength was too much for Ilkeston. The pitch, hard with frost and with a sprinkling of snow, caused problems for both sides but Ilkeston showed up well during the first half. Barrie Jepson’s early strike was deflected onto the bar and Jackie Ward was too slow to react to the rebound as Town attacked early on. Billy Coxon’s shot was well saved by Moorcroft before the visitors finally got moving. Joe Sharman made a superb diving save to stop Jackson’s first time shot but Forest did take the lead on 37 minutes. W.Longworth beat Syd Burrows before shooting against the post and when George Darwin could only head the ball partly clear the ball was returned in for J.Longworth to score from close range. Ward went close twice for Ilkeston before half time, blazing over from 3 yards and then heading inches wide.

Forest took control after the break. They scored their second on 48 minutes when Sharman made a brilliant double save to deny Fryer and J.Longworth but Bayles followed up to net with the third attempt. Bayles then had a goal disallowed for offside before Jackson made certain of the win in the 68th minute.

JEPSON STRIKES AGAIN
9TH FEBRUARY 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 PARKHOUSE COLLIERY 1
Black arm bands were worn by the players and a minute silence was observed in tribute to the late King George VI. But once the formalities were over Town went about their business in customary fashion and ended their run of three games without a win. Phil Bibby struck the post and Les Smith went inches wide before they took an 8th minute lead, Barrie Jepson angling the ball across the advancing Allsop. Parkhouse had a great chance to equalise when Albert Ball handled but Beresford’s penalty was feeble and off target. Then it was Horace Hackland’s turn to miss from the spot, Allsop saving the penalty that had been awarded for hands. Allsop had denied Hackland a minute earlier with a fine save from a first time shot. Billy Coxon was desperately unlucky when he beat the Parkhouse defence beautifully but his shot past Allsop bounced off the inside of the post and clear. After Jepson headed over the bar Ilkeston scored a second when Alwyn Booth nodded in Hackland’s free kick. Five minutes before the break Jepson made it three when he beat the offside trap and rounded Allsop to finish in style.

Town were in complete control during the second half but had to wait until the 70th minute to score again. Before then Booth was just off target, Ken Ledger fired over, Booth shot wide, Coxon’s fierce shot was saved, Beresford cleared Booth’s effort off the line, Coxon rattled the bar and moments later he had a shot saved well by Allsop. The fourth goal came when a neat move between Coxon and Booth sent Jackie Ward away and he cut inside to score with a firm shot. On 77 minutes Ilkeston’s momentary complacency allowed Wragg to score a consolation goal. The final ten minutes had unfortunate consequences for both sides. George Darwin was carried off with a gashed leg that would keep him out of the side for a month. Then, after Beresford cleared off the line from Booth again, Allsop departed with a broken finger following a collision with Jepson. Jepson completed his hat-trick two minutes from time when he shot past temporary ‘keeper Radford.

TOWN SUPERLATIVE IN SEMI
16TH FEBRUARY 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 HEANOR ATHLETIC 0 (DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP SEMI FINAL)
The pitch may have had puddles all over it but Town’s enthusiasm was never dampened as they trounced their local rivals. Former Ilkeston ‘keeper Dick Hogg fumbled Ken Ledger’s early shot but did better to save a first timer from the same player before Ledger threatened again, heading just wide of the post inside the first four minutes. With 5 minutes gone former Town full back Lloyd Barke allowed Alwyn Booth’s pass reach Barrie Jepson who gratefully took the chance. Jepson then struck a first time shot inches over before Heanor’s Smith tested Joe Sharman for the first time. Hogg tipped a Jackie Ward shot round the post and then dived to save Booth’s shot as Ilkeston remained in control. Ward then shot into the side net but the underworked Sharman had to make a fabulous save to keep out Buxton’s shot. On 30 minutes, Sharman’s accurate clearance sent Ledger flying down the wing and his cross found Jepson who did the rest. Heanor came close to pulling a goal back before the break when Buxton’s overhead kick went just over the bar.

Murray shot into the side net at the start of the second half but Heanor were soon back on the defensive. After Horace Hackland had a shot saved a poor clearance went straight to Jepson who claimed yet another hat-trick in the 47th minute. Billy Coxon had a shot tipped over and former Town player Stuart Argent headed a Booth shot off the line but Town got another goal on 52 minutes when Jepson tapped the ball into Ledger’s path who banged the ball past Hogg. Heanor had a chance to score when Les Smith slipped and Buxton was through but he could only put the ball wide. Ilkeston continued to look dangerous, however, and on 59 minutes Jackie Ward’s centre was steered home by Jepson. Heanor somehow survived further scares as a Booth header and Hackland’s shot both hit the post within seconds of each other and Hogg tipped away a Coxon shot.

BENTINCK BATTERED BY RAMPANT TOWN
23RD FEBRUARY 1952
BENTINCK WELFARE 1 ILKESTON TOWN 5
Ilkeston forced eight corners in the opening ten minutes and came close to scoring four times before they finally went ahead on 15 minutes. Jackie Ward’s header was saved by Selwyn Mason (later an Ilkeston ‘keeper), Billy Coxon’s shot was deflected wide, Ken Ledger’s peach of a shot struck the bar and Alwyn Booth’s rising shot was saved. They took the lead when Ward dashed in to convert Ledger’s cross. Bentinck rallied briefly, Noke shooting wide and Hall’s free kick flew narrowly over, but Ilkeston totally regained control without adding to the score before the break. Mason fumbled a Ledger shot, Booth’s diving header missed the net by inches and Ellis headed off the line from Coxon as Town did everything but score.

The second half began the same way. Coxon’s long range shot just cleared the bar, Jepson headed over before missing a great chance when he miscontrolled Ward’s cross, and Coxon put the ball just over. Remarkably Bentinck were level on 53 minutes. Sales found Hall whose shot was pushed out by Joe Sharman and the follow up was saved on the line by Cliff Hancock. Else put away the penalty. The setback spurred Ilkeston on and within three minutes they were back in front when Ward found the unmarked Coxon who hit a terrific shot on the run to score his first goal in four months. His jubilant colleagues carried him back to half way in celebration. Mason made a great save from Booth, and Jepson headed inches over but he made no mistake on 74 minutes when he nodded in Ward’s cross. Jepson headed over and Sharman had to make a rare contribution by saving a Ghent volley before, nine minutes from time, Jepson headed in Ledger’s cross. Jepson completed a hat-trick of headed goals in the 88th minute when he converted Ward’s centre.

TOWN GO TOP OF THE ALLIANCE
1ST MARCH 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 6 RETFORD TOWN 1
Ilkeston’s rich vein of form continued with a comprehensive win, with more than thirty goal attempts, over Retford that took them to the top of the table. They threw everything at the visitors from the off but had no luck at all during the first half. Ken Ledger had a shot well saved by Pearson, Mole headed a Jackie Ward centre off the line, Barrie Jepson headed wide, Billy Coxon’s terrific shot was cleared off the line by Mole again and soon after he was inches off target. Jepson, Alwyn Booth and Ward then had efforts saved before a Ledger shot cannoned off Pearson’s shoulder to safety. Pearson then made a superlative save to keep out another Coxon shot and that man Mole again cleared a Booth shot off the line before Pearson made a spectacular save to keep out Phil Bibby's’ stinging drive. Incredibly Retford took the lead on 40 minutes when a Brierton shot came off the bar and Waterfield headed in the rebound. Ilkeston raced back into the attack and Jepson saw his point blank range shot blocked but Booth’s follow up went wide. Ledger then had a shot saved to leave Ilkeston trailing at half time.

The second half continued similarly with Ward firing just wide and then Mole bravely got in the way of a Horace Hackland piledriver. An equaliser had to come and it duly arrived in the 53rd minute, Barrie Jepson’s diving header diverting Booth’s shot past Pearson. After several more Pearson saves Town finally took the lead on the hour when Jepson chested an awkward ball over the line. Ledger then missed an easy chance but he made up for it in the 75th minute when he volleyed in first time after a shot came to him via Mole’s head. Four minutes later Town got the fourth through a Booth first time shot after Bibby burst down the right and crossed. Retford missed a great chance to pull a goal back when Waterfield set up Brierton before Ilkeston scored twice in the last couple of minutes. Ledger raced down the right and crossed perfectly to Booth who scored with a first time shot. Then Coxon made a brilliant dribble, fed the ball to Ward whose cross was tapped in by Booth for his hat-trick.

TOWN HANG ON FOR LUCKY POINT
8TH MARCH 1952
PARKHOUSE COLLIERY 3 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston’s leadership of the Central Alliance lasted only a week as they escaped with a point in their stiffest test for some time. The big slope across the width of the pitch didn’t suit Ilkeston at all and Parkhouse used it to their advantage. However, Town began the game well with Billy Coxon testing Whitehead and Horace Hackland shooting wide early on. Parkhouse served a warning when Baker forced Joe Sharman into a save and on 10 minutes the unmarked Dooley converted Wragg’s cross to give them the lead. The home team escaped when Whitehead missed a cross but Jackie Ward failed to take advantage. Most of the remainder of the first half belonged to Parkhouse until the game suddenly turned on its head. In the 40th minute Ken Ledger was given too much time to cross and Barrie Jepson shot on the turn to equalise. Then, a minute before the break, Town went ahead when Ward’s cross caused panic and Alwyn Booth nipped in to score.

Despite Parkhouse looking to be the better side Ilkeston appeared to make the game safe on the hour. Moments after Ledger’s terrific shot flew wide he got in a shot that Whitehead parried out as far as Jepson whose shot was cleared by Beresford but only after the ball had crossed the line. The home side threw bodies forward to try and salvage something from the game. Dooley, Wakelam and Baker all had shots saved by Sharman with Whitehead saving from Coxon and Ledger at the other end. Parkhouse deservedly reduced arrears on 72 minutes when Wakelam’s 25 yard shot bounced over the line off the underside of the bar. With nine minutes to go the unmarked Baker took advantage of Dooley’s cross to equalise and, with Town hanging on desperately, Dooley went agonisingly close in the final minutes.

DAMAGING DEFEAT AGAINST TITLE RIVALS
15TH MARCH 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 0 CRESWELL COLLIERY 2
Town fell to their first home league defeat of the season and their first in the Central Alliance in six months, a run stretching for 17 games. They remained in second place but the race for the title remained very much open between themselves, visiting Creswell, leaders Linby and Sutton. Creswell had a remarkable escape when Barrie Jepson’s lob was turned onto the post by Wilson, Alwyn Booth put the rebound onto the bar and Jepson headed it over the top as it came back out. Then Billy Coxon’s goalbound shot struck Fox but soon Creswell took control. Parnham handled when well placed, Galley shot high and wide, Parnham then had a shot saved by the busy Joe Sharman and Lee failed to make the most of an excellent opportunity before half time.

Creswell finally went in front a minute after the break when Galley placed the ball out of Sharman’s reach. With Jepson getting some rough treatment Town struggled to find a way back. Booth had a header saved by Wilson. Ken Ledger, making his 100th appearance, then had a shot stopped by Wilson under his bar. Coxon fizzed a free kick wide of the post but Town, for all their effort, looked disjointed especially as a knock to Phil Bibby caused a reshuffle. In the last minute Lee scored a breakaway goal for Creswell who went home with two well earned points.

SECOND HALF REARGUARD ACTION WINS THE POINTS
22ND MARCH 1952
RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 2 ILKESTON TOWN 3
The game, played in a strong wind, kicked off 30 minutes late. Although Town deserved their victory they were pushed all the way and had to defend brilliantly for the last 25 minutes. Ilkeston attacked strongly from the off. Arthur Jackson’s rasping shot was tipped over by Jenkinson, Billy Coxon shot inches wide, Whomersley headed a Ken Ledger corner off the line and Horace Hackland’s terrific volley flew just over, smashing a window of a house behind the goal. Ledger then had a shot that lacked the necessary power to beat Jenkinson and Jackson was just off target. Ropes’ first attack of note gave Town a real scare when Joe Sharman got a hand to Smithson’s shot and dived back to brilliantly stop the ball from crossing the line. Ilkeston deservedly went in front on 33 minutes when Barrie Jepson and Coxon worked well for Jackson to bang into the net. With Town still full of attacking intent they went further ahead on the stroke of half time when Jackson crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar after Coxon’s initial 20 yard strike hit the woodwork.

Ropes came out fighting in the second half but their opening goal should have been disallowed. Sharman, with both feet off the ground, was clearly charged before Cobb ran the ball into the net. Sharman was a busy man until Town gave themselves some breathing space with a third goal on 61 minutes. Coxon's shot deceived Jenkinson who expected a touch from Alwyn Booth as he raced in. A minute later Ropes were back in it when Clayton headed home and from then on Town had to withstand fierce pressure. Only occasionally were they able to break out of defence and in one instance a Coxon header thudded against the bar.

ILKESTON BACK ON TOP AS BENTINCK ARE BEATEN BY FIRST HALF BLITZ
29TH MARCH 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 4 BENTINCK WELFARE 1
Town returned to the top of the table in a match played in a biting, freezing wind. After Selwyn Mason (later an Ilkeston ‘keeper) tipped over Horace Hackland shot they took the lead with a freak goal in the 7th minute. Les Smith, winning a defensive dual with Gent, took the ball forward to the half way line before launching a long ball. Carried by the wind it bounced over the startled Mason and ran into the net. Hackland, Billy Coxon and Jepson each tested Mason with first time shots before Coxon directed the ball into the net for the second on 20 minutes. Five minutes later Town got the third when Arthur Jackson and Jepson combined well to set up Alwyn Booth. Completely in control Hackland’s free kick was splendidly saved by Mason before half time.

Bentinck had a rare shot early in the second half but Joe Sharman kept out Lomas’ effort. At the other end, with Mason out of his goal, Taylor was well placed to head Booth’s shot off the line. Coxon then headed wide and Booth had a shot saved before Bentinck suffered further misfortune when Gent was carried off after a George Darwin tackle. Despite this blow Lomas shot past Sharman for a consolation with three minutes to go. There was still time for Town to score again. Noke handled on 88 minutes and Hackland cracked in the penalty.

TOWN COMEBACK WINS THE DAY
2ND APRIL 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 4 SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 2
A fast, open game with more than its fair share of tasty tackling was eventually and just about deservedly won by Ilkeston. They took the lead on 8 minutes when Alwyn Booth ran onto a through ball and shot first time into the net. South Normanton levelled six minutes later, however, when former Ilkeston winger Geoff Jones crossed for Eddie Rogers (later an Ilkeston player) to score at the second attempt. Jones then forced a full length save from Joe Sharman and Syd Burrows was lucky not to deflect the ball into his own net before the break.

The signs were ominous when South Normanton took the lead on 49 minutes, Bennett pushing the ball past Sharman after receiving Halford’s pass. With Town looking shaky George Darwin had to clear off the line but they received a lifeline in the 58th minute. Hickman saved Booth’s shot before Calvert handled Booth’s first time effort from the rebound. Horace Hackland held his nerve to convert from the spot. Ten minutes later Ilkeston went back in front when Jackie Ward’s corner came back off the bar and Barrie Jepson was quickest to react. Town made certain of victory twelve minutes from time when Jepson nodded in Ward’s cross.

OWN GOALS AID TOWN AS THEY TIGHTEN GRIP
5TH APRIL 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 6 MATLOCK TOWN 1
With Linby Colliery collapsing to an astonishing 6-0 home defeat to Retford British Ropes Ilkeston took full advantage. Matlock played some pretty football but Ilkeston, assisted by two own goals, were always in command. The first came in just the 2nd minute when Ken Ledger’s cross was headed by Alwyn Booth towards the goal but the ball was redirected in to his own net by Sargeson’s head. Poor defending by Ilkeston allowed Matlock to equalise, Blythe running through unchallenged and although Joe Sharman did well to save the shot Boden slammed in the loose ball. Booth rounded off a flowing move to put Ilkeston back in front before another own goal accounted for their third. As Booth, ‘keeper Briggs and Holroyd chased after a loose ball the ‘keeper could only crack the ball into his defender’s knee and it ran into the net.

The second half began quietly and it wasn’t until well into it that Ilkeston finally turned the screw. Jackie Ward and Booth worked well to provide Ledger with a simple finish for the fourth, Barrie Jepson was brought down and Horace Hackland scored the penalty for number five, but the best goal was the sixth. Hackland pushed the ball forward for Ward to run on to and he beat two men before steering the ball past Briggs.

JEPSON NOSE BLOW DOESN’T HALT TOWN
11TH APRIL 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 2 DERBY COUNTY "A" 1 (DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP FINAL)
With Ilkeston losing 1-0 Barrie Jepson collided with Rams’ keeper Webster as the pair went for the loose ball after Alwyn Booth’s effort came back off the bar. Jepson went off to hospital with a broken nose and missed the rest of the season. But ten man Town, who had struggled beforehand, responded well with Webster making saves from a Phil Bibby free kick and a Jackie Ward header before the break.

Ilkeston dominated the second half and came back to win the Divisional Cup for the third time. Ward headed just wide, Billy Coxon headed over before having a shot saved and Horace Hackland’s free kick didn’t miss by much. Les Smith then did well to get in the way of a Coss shot during a rare Derby attack. Town equalised on 71 minutes when Coxon’s pass found Ken Ledger whose cross was turned in by Ward. Nine minutes later, Ward was the hero again when he scored the winner and the majority of the 4600 crowd breathed a sigh of relief at full time after a nervous last few minutes.

The game had kicked off in brilliant sunshine and Derby, with former Ilkeston players Geoff Barrowcliffe and Ray Straw in their ranks, looked lively. Straw just failed to connect with Savin’s long lobbed through ball and although Jepson had a shot tipped over by Webster it was no surprise when The Rams took a 15th minute lead. Straw and McQuillan combined to send Wright through to score with a low shot. Ward’s header flew inches over but Derby continued to threaten. Coss, whose dipping shot just cleared the bar, had a shot saved by Joe Sharman. Sharman then made two full length saves to keep out Straw’s shot from 40 yards and a Knight free kick. Ward unleashed a shot that skimmed the bar before Jepson received his injury.

COXON LATE PENALTY MISS COSTS VICTORY
12TH APRIL 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 0 LONG EATON TOWN 0
When Horace Hackland declined to take a 90th minute penalty awarded for handball Billy Coxon strode forward but his kick was saved by Lynch. Although Ilkeston had the bulk of the play there were plenty of chances for either side to have won. Long Eaton began well and Joe Sharman twice had to save from Slack. Lynch then matched his opposite number with stops from John Commander and Jackie Ward. The latter then shot wide and then had a header saved soon after Sharman saved from Smedley. Ilkeston put on pressure before half time with Lynch making further saves, from a Syd Burrows free kick and a sharply rising Ward shot, the second one being particularly memorable.

Ilkeston continued to press after the break. Coxon fired narrowly wide, Butler cleared a Ward shot off the line and Lynch saved from Commander, but they had a lucky escape when Stark eluded Les Smith and shot against the post. Coxon then shot over and had a shot saved, yet Long Eaton could easily have scored themselves when Syd Burrows cleared Grace’s shot off the line.

SCRAPPY BUT VALUABLE WIN
14TH APRIL 1952
LONG EATON TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston stayed on course for the title in a scrappy game littered with mistakes and free kicks. After Lynch made an early save from Alwyn Booth the home side took control. Joe Sharman saved from Grace before both Stark and Grace headed over. Sharman then made further stops from Grace and Gutteridge. But suddenly, on 29 minutes, Ilkeston took the lead. John Commander found Arthur Jackson unmarked in midfield and he pushed the ball forward to Phil Bibby who beat two men before slamming a rising shot into the net. Boosted by the goal Ilkeston looked comfortable during the remainder of the half.

Play deteriorated further as players tired after the break. Butler struck a 30 yard free kick just over Sharman’s bar and Syd Burrows had a similar effort tipped over by Lynch at the other end. These were the only incidents of note until Ilkeston made the game safe in the 80th minute. Jackson’s accurate centre was converted by Booth from close range.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER AT BELPER
15TH APRIL 1952
BELPER TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0
A record Belper gate of 3000 saw two teams committed to fast, attacking play and both teams had chances to win. Belper’s team included former Ilkeston players Dick Pickering, Cliff Sinclair, Jackie Brough, Peter Howe and Otten Rusin. Their player manager, Ted Attwood, later joined Ilkeston. From the moment Phil Bibby headed over in the first minute Ilkeston went looking for goals. Arthur Jackson was denied by a Pickering save and he had an even better chance soon after but he took too long and was dispossessed. Rusin blazed over for Belper and Bibby had a shot tipped over as half time approached.

Belper looked more dangerous after the break. Joe Sharman produced an excellent point blank range save from Rusin and then he turned a Sinclair free kick over the bar. Both teams then missed glorious chances to win the match. Firstly Jackson missed an open goal and then Rusin somehow lifted the ball over the bar from two yards with just seconds remaining.

TON UP BOOTH THE HERO IN LUCKY WIN AT MATLOCK
19TH APRIL 1952
MATLOCK TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston edged closer to the championship by keeping their fourth clean sheet in a row but they were pushed all the way by the bottom club. In the end it was a costly mistake by Matlock ‘keeper Briggs that gave Ilkeston their victory, two minutes from time. He completely missed Jackie Ward’s corner and Alwyn Booth headed in and thus became the first Town player to score 100 goals for the club. It was a double celebration for Booth as it coincided with his 150th appearance. Town looked anything but champions during the rest of the game despite being cheered by 600 travelling fans. They were forced to defend early on and after Boden beat Les Smith before hooking the ball goalwards Syd Burrows was forced to clear off the line. Although Booth had an effort disallowed for offside Matlock continued to dominate and Boden twice forced Joe Sharman into good saves. Ilkeston eventually had a good spell which began when Horace Hackland made a good run before shooting over. George Darwin then had a 30 yard shot saved by Briggs who also denied Booth from close range. Matlock pressed strongly before the break. Riley had a shot saved by Sharman and when he crossed the ball soon after, Boden charged Sharman but Darwin was on hand to head away the danger. Blythe shot over shortly before the break, the only respite for Ilkeston during this spell being when Hackland blazed a free kick over from the edge of the box.

Matlock did most of the attacking after the break but play became disjointed, partly due to the whistle happy referee. As the minutes ticked by the rain began to fall and so did Matlock’s determination. Ilkeston finished strongly with Darwin’s long range free kick saved by Briggs and a long range lob by Hackland that clipped the bar before Booth grabbed the late winner.

ROPES TETHERED BY IN FORM TOWN
21ST APRIL 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 4 RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 1
With the title race now being contested solely between Ilkeston and Linby, Town made a welcome return to their best form and the win left them five points clear. However things began badly when, following a defensive error, they fell behind to the prostrate Kirk’s 6th minute opener. This was the first goal Town had conceded in 441 minutes. Then Ilkeston took charge. Ken Ledger and Arthur Jackson were only just off target before they deservedly equalised on 39 minutes. Ledger provided a deadly cross that Jackie Ward easily put past Skelton. Two minutes before the break Town took the lead when another Ledger cross was again met by Ward, this time with his head.

Joe Sharman only touched the ball twice during the second half but Town had to wait until the 62nd minute before scoring the killer third goal. Yet another superb Ledger cross produced it with Alwyn Booth the scorer on this occasion. A fine afternoon’s work was completed with a lovely individual goal by Billy Coxon three minutes from time.

TOWN SETBACK AS LINBY NARROW THE GAP
23RD APRIL 1952
NOTTINGHAM FOREST "A" 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Linby Colliery cut Ilkeston’s lead to three points by beating Matlock 4-1 while Town lost a match, the first league defeat away from home since September 12th, that they had controlled for the first 70 minutes. The result meant that Ilkeston still needed 4 points from their final three games to make sure of winning the Central Alliance. The first half was interesting rather than exciting and both ‘keepers had plenty to do without being severely tested. The second half continued with Ilkeston having more of the ball but Forest issued a warning when Longworth broke clear to shoot against the angle of the woodwork. In the 70th minute Forest went in front with a terrific shot that gave Joe Sharman no chance. Any hopes of an Ilkeston recovery were extinguished when Burton burst through to finish calmly ten minutes from time.

CHAMPIONS!
26TH APRIL 1952
TEVERSAL & SILVERHILL COLLIERY 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Linby Colliery’s home defeat by Sutton Town the day before meant that Ilkeston, backed by 600 fans, travelled to Teversal knowing that victory would bring them the title. By half time they had the game sewn up. Jackie Ward twice went close with headers early on but it was Billy Coxon, with a superb dribble followed by a shot from a narrow angle, who put Ilkeston ahead on 24 minutes. Two minutes later route one football gave them a two goal lead as Ward latched onto Joe Sharman’s long clearance to break clear and score. Ward almost scored again when he beat ‘keeper Oakley to Smith’s underhit backpass but the ball trickled agonisingly wide. However, on 40 minutes, he scored his second and Town’s third with splendid diving header from Ken Ledger’s cross to finish a splendidly worked move.

Ilkeston relaxed during the early stages of the second half but Sharman was alive to any threat Teversal posed. As the game wore on Town gradually regained control, Coxon’s header being well saved by Oakley and Horace Hackland shot over. Parrott brought out the best in Sharman during a rare home attack but Ilkeston, safe in the knowledge that the title was theirs, provided some Champagne football near the end without adding to the score.

ILKESTON PROVE WORTHY CHAMPIONS
1ST MAY 1952
RANSOME & MARLES 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Champions Ilkeston showed themselves to be worthy of the crown although they began the game in careless fashion and could easily have found themselves several goals down. Joe Sharman dropped the ball in the first minute but George Darwin was able to clear the danger. Sharman redeemed himself when he saved from Puplett who had cleverly eluded Les Smith. In Ransome’s next attack Sharman could only parry Dixon’s stinging shot and this time Phil Bibby was well placed to clear. The busy Sharman then had to deal with a shot by Rigby but from then on Ransome lost their grip and Town began to play to their full potential. After Horace Hackland’s first time volley was saved by Pearson Ilkeston took the lead in the 27th minute, Hackland converting Ken Ledger’s corner. Town almost scored a second before the break when Bibby, clean through, attempted to lob the advancing Pearson but the ‘keeper was just able to touch the ball over the bar.

Pearson continued to thwart Ilkeston until the 60th minute when Jackie Ward took full advantage of Alwyn Booth’s astute pass to make it two. The impressive Pearson was unlucky twelve minutes from time when the ball entered the net via his body after Ledger’s shot came off the post. Sharman pulled off an extraordinary save in the last ten minutes - which he later described as the save of his life - to prevent Gray from scoring a consolation but it was Ilkeston who scored the last goal on 85 minutes. Bob Baker sent Bibby away to score the fourth and Ward almost made it five but Pearson was equal to his first time shot.

SEASON ENDS IN STYLE
3RD MAY 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 4 NOTTINGHAM FOREST "A" 0
Ilkeston treated the fans to some excellent football and ended a triumphant season in glorious style. Ken Ledger fired just wide and Alwyn Booth cracked a first time shot into the side net before they took the lead on 20 minutes. Quick thinking John Commander passed his free kick on the edge of the area to the unmarked Booth who made no mistake. Bob Baker then shot narrowly over before Forest came close in their first serious attack. Bayles looked certain to score until George Darwin made last gasp challenge. Farmer had to make good saves from Ledger and Jackie Ward as half time approached.

Town’s second arrived on 58 minutes when Baker put Ward in the clear and he cleverly lobbed the ball over Farmer into the net. Forest became more aggressive for a time and Walker forced Joe Sharman into a save but their intent also became increasingly physical. Dave Baker (who later became an Ilkeston legend) incurred the wrath of Town supporters with several unpleasant challenges that eventually only subsided after a stern lecture from the referee. Ilkeston’s third came in the 67th minute when Ledger brought Booth’s pass under control before slamming the ball past Farmer. They should have scored a fourth when Bob Baker chose to shoot instead of passing to the completely unmarked Billy Coxon. However, Coxon had a hand in the 85th minute goal number four when he sent Ward away for his second. The final word came from Sharman when he made a good stop from Elliott’s close range shot. The season had ended on a high note and the supporters went home happy.

1951/52 DERBY AND DISTRICT LEAGUE FINAL TABLE
  P W D L F A Pts H A
1 Derby Corinthians 26 19 4 3 92 33 42 0-4 3-2
2 Derby Brighton Road Old Boys 26 19 2 5 89 43 40 1-2 5-4
3 Stapenhill 26 19 2 5 87 54 40 5-1 5-4
4 ILKESTON TOWN RESERVES 26 20 1 5 96 62 39 X X
5 Derby County 'A' 26 14 5 7 79 44 33 2-4 1-1
6 Newhall United 26 13 5 8 72 49 31 6-1 3-6
7 Nightingale Athletic 26 10 3 13 59 67 23 3-1 2-1
8 Derby Rolls Royce 26 10 1 15 76 62 21 8-6 1-3
9 Qualcast Sports 26 9 2 15 55 68 20 2-0 5-4
10 Derby Victoria 26 8 4 14 52 71 20 4-2 5-4
11 Gresley Rovers Reserves 26 8 2 16 56 80 18 2-0 3-1
12 Duffield United 26 6 2 18 50 80 14 8-2 2-1
13 Castle Donington 26 5 1 20 49 115 11 5-3 6-2
14 Shelton United 26 5 0 21 30 114 10 4-0 5-3

NB. Ilkeston Town Reserves had 2 points deducted.