07 25






1952/53 CENTRAL ALLIANCE FIRST DIVISION FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts
1 ILKESTON TOWN 38 29 4 5 139 60 62
2 Creswell Colliery 38 28 1 9 126 59 57
3 Clay Cross Miners Welfare 38 24 7 7 119 66 55
4 Linby Colliery 38 22 10 6 84 28 54
5 Gresley Rovers 38 21 8 9 129 65 50
6 Ransome & Marles 38 20 6 12 79 66 46
7 Sutton Town 38 20 5 13 113 97 45
8 Belper Town 38 18 6 14 106 86 42
9 Nottingham Forest 'A' 38 17 8 13 79 68 42
10 Langwith Miners Welfare 38 17 5 16 90 89 39
11 Retford British Ropes 38 17 4 17 83 82 38
12 Coalville Town 37 16 5 16 98 101 37
13 South Normanton Miners Welfare 38 15 6 17 83 71 36
14 Shirebrook Miners Welfare 38 15 6 17 93 101 36
15 Retford Town 37 9 6 22 55 106 24
16 Long Eaton Town 38 9 6 23 56 118 24
17 Brush Sports Reserves 38 10 3 25 55 106 23
18 Matlock Town 38 7 6 25 66 113 20
19 Heanor Athletic 38 8 1 29 63 135 17
20 Bentinck Welfare 38 4 3 31 51 150 11

NB. Coalville Town and Retford Town failed to come their fixtures.


1952/53 CENTRAL ALLIANCE RESULTS

DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
23 AUG SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE W5-1 2000 HACKLAND, JEPSON 3, FAULCONBRIDGE
27 AUG MATLOCK TOWN W4-1 LEDGER, HACKLAND, JEPSON 2
30 AUG Coalville Town W6-1 WHEATLEY, JEPSON 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, LEDGER, HACKLAND (PEN)
03 SEP Sutton Town D2-2 JEPSON, FAULCONBRIDGE
10 SEP Langwith Miners Welfare D3-3 HACKLAND 2 (1PEN), DARWIN
21 SEP South Normanton Miners Welfare W4-3 BOOTH 2, JEPSON, WHEATLEY
24 SEP Shirebrook Miners Welfare W5-2 JEPSON 3, FAULCONBRIDGE, HACKLAND
04 OCT Nottingham Forest 'A' W3-2 WARD, HACKLAND (PEN), JEPSON
18 OCT NOTTINGHAM FOREST 'A' L2-4 2500 WARD 2
01 NOV SUTTON TOWN W6-1 FAULCONBRIDGE 3, JEPSON 3
15 NOV SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE W5-2 BOOTH, WARD 2, JEPSON 2 
29 NOV LINBY COLLIERY D0-0
13 DEC CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE W6-3 JEPSON 6
20 DEC RANSOME & MARLES W7-3 BOOTH 4, WARD 2, JEPSON
25 DEC Heanor Athletic W7-2 JEPSON 4, LEDGER, BOOTH, FAULCONBRIDGE
26 DEC HEANOR ATHLETIC W8-0 WARD 3, JEPSON 3, FAULCONBRIDGE, HACKLAND (PEN)
27 DEC BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES W2-1 EATON, BOOTH
10 JAN CRESWELL COLLIERY W2-1 FAULCONBRIDGE 2
24 JAN Clay Cross Miners Welfare L0-2
31 JAN BENTINCK WELFARE W8-1 FAULCONBRIDGE 2, WARD, JEPSON 2, LEDGER 3
14 FEB GRESLEY ROVERS W6-2 WARD, JEPSON 3, DARWIN (PEN), HACKLAND
07 MAR Retford British Ropes W1-0 BOOTH
14 MAR Retford Town W2-1 FAULCONBRIDGE, JEPSON
21 MAR RETFORD TOWN W4-0 BOOTH, JEPSON 2, LEDGER
04 APR Long Eaton Town W3-1 BOOTH, FAULCONBRIDGE, LEDGER
06 APR LONG EATON TOWN W7-1 WARD 3, FAULCONBRIDGE 2, BOOTH, LEDGER (PEN)
07 APR Belper Town W3-0 LEDGER 2 (1PEN), FAULCONBRIDGE
11 APR Linby Colliery W2-1 WARD, JEPSON
15 APR Brush Sports Reserves W3-0 FAULCONBRIDGE 2, JEPSON
17 APR RETFORD BRITISH ROPES W4-1 JEPSON 2, EVANS, WARD
18 APR Matlock Town W2-0 JEPSON, WARD
22 APR COALVILLE TOWN L1-2 WARD
24 APR BELPER TOWN W3-1 BAKER, JEPSON, WARD
25 APR Creswell Colliery L3-4 WARD, JEPSON, LEDGER
27 APR Ransome & Marles D2-2 FAULCONBRIDGE, HACKLAND
28 APR Bentinck Welfare W4-2 LEDGER (PEN), WARD, HACKLAND, JEPSON
01 MAY Gresley Rovers L0-5
02 MAY LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE W2-0 JEPSON 2



1952/53 FA CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1QR 28 SEP LONG EATON TOWN W7-2 JEPSON 3, BOOTH, WARD 2, FAULCONBRIDGE
2QR 11 OCT Gresley Rovers W5-0 4000 BOOTH 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, LEDGER, JEPSON
3QR 25 OCT Boots Athletic W4-0 WHEATLEY, HACKLAND 2 (2PENS), JEPSON
4QR 08 NOV Gainsborough Trinity L1-5 LEDGER

NB. The away tie with Boots Athletic on 25 Oct was switched to Ilkeston.


1952/53 DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1R 06 DEC LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE W5-1 JEPSON 3, WARD, LEDGER
QF 17 JAN Creswell Colliery D1-1 LEDGER
QFrep 07 FEB CRESWELL COLLIERY W4-2 WARD 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, LEDGER
SF 21 FEB CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE W4-1 3700 JEPSON 3, FAULCONBRIDGE
F 03 APR Belper Town W4-2 9974 WARD 3, BOOTH

NB. The Final was staged on the Baseball Ground.


1952/53 CENTRAL ALLIANCE LEAGUE CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT SCORERS
1R 17 SEP BENTINCK WELFARE W5-1 FAULCONBRIDGE, JEPSON, BOOTH 2, WARD
2R 03 JAN Ransome & Marles W1-0 LEDGER
QF 28 FEB COALVILLE TOWN W4-2 LEDGER, DARWIN (PEN), WARD, JEPSON
SF 28 MAR  GRESLEY ROVERS L1-4 LEDGER (PEN)

CHAMPS MAKE SURE WITH 3 GOALS IN 11 MINUTES
23RD AUGUST 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 1
The season kicked off in glorious sunshine in front of a 2000 plus attendance. Ken Faulconbridge, making his debut, had the first shot on goal and it was saved by Hickman. Fellow newcomer Billy Wheatley then had a 20 yard shot saved before Town had a couple of scares due to defensive errors. First Syd Burrows miskicked but Smith fired high and wide and then, following Les Smith’s slip, the same South Normanton player missed an open net. Town opened their account on 27 minutes with a well placed Horace Hackland shot from 18 yards. Fourteen minutes later Wheatley found Ken Ledger and his cross was met by Barrie Jepson for the second. Further Ilkeston pressure before half time led to goalkeeper Hickman being carried off unconscious following a goalmouth scramble. Former Town player Jack Stacey took over in goal.

Town took advantage of South Normanton’s misfortune during the second half. Stacey was forced into saves by Jackie Ward and John Commander, and then Ward fired into the side net. It therefore came as a surprise when former Ilkeston winger Geoff Jones provided Halford with the chance for the visitors to reduce the arrears on 55 minutes. Town took full control after this setback. On 70 minutes Wheatley sent Jepson away down the middle to score the third and a minute later Ken Ledger smacked the crossbar. Town went further ahead in the 72nd minute. A lovely move involving Faulconbridge and Ward ended with the former curling in a right foot shot. Soon after Hickman returned in goal but Ilkeston continued to look for more goals. The fifth duly came on 81 minutes shortly after Commander had headed over. Wheatley and Ledger combined well to set up Jepson for his hat-trick. Joe Sharman made his own contribution to deny Massey with a spectacular save towards the end but the final chance of the game fell to Jepson who flicked the ball just wide of the posts.

LATE SHOW WINS THE POINTS
27TH AUGUST 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 4 MATLOCK TOWN 1
Ilkeston continued their winning ways but it was only in the final ten minutes that they sealed the victory in a scrappy encounter played in a strong breeze. The new lighter ball proved to be harder to control under the conditions. Ilkeston began strongly with Ken Faulconbridge lifting a shot wide before they opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Billy Wheatley, who soon after was hampered by a thigh injury, and Ken Ledger worked a neat move that led to Ledger finishing in style. Matlock ‘keeper Davies was kept busy in a one sided first half and he tipped a Faulconbridge volley over before he had to stop an effort by George Darwin.

Matlock showed more attacking intent at the start of the second half and Quinn brought an acrobatic save from Joe Sharman but Ilkeston continued to look the more threatening until they were stunned by Sargeson’s 75th minute equaliser. With the threat of dropping a home point looming large Town stepped up a gear and destroyed the visitors’ resistance late in the game. Barrie Jepson headed against the bar before they regained the lead ten minutes from time. Jepson beat Crossdale and rolled the ball into the middle for Horace Hackland to score and they scored again a minute later when Jepson latched onto Wheatley’s forward pass. Wheatley again provided the ammunition for Ilkeston’s fourth in the 85th minute when his good work gave Jepson the chance.

COALVILLE CRUSHED
30TH AUGUST 1952
COALVILLE TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 6
Over 400 Ilkeston supporters made the trip to see their team overcome an early setback to win in style. The uneven surface covered in thick grass did not particularly suit Town’s style and Coalville took advantage early on. Pearson beat the struggling Syd Burrows easily and shot past the advancing Joe Sharman to give the home side a deserved 8th minute lead. Ilkeston quickly gained the upper hand, however. After Adams cleared off the line from Ken Ledger they levelled on 14 minutes. Jackie Ward burst down the left and his cross was turned in by the onrushing Billy Wheatley. Four minutes before half time Ilkeston took the lead when Ken Faulconbridge’s sweeping pass found Ledger whose cross was converted by Barrie Jepson. They went further ahead on 44 minutes when Faulconbridge met Ward’s pass first time to fire into the net.

Coalville’s only threat of a comeback came early in the second half when Nairn hit the post but Ilkeston made certain of victory on 57 minutes when Ledger converted Ward’s cross. Coalville were unfortunate in the 68th minute when Armstrong was harshly adjudged to have charged Ward and Horace Hackland netted the subsequent penalty. There was concern at the other end when Sharman saved at Charlton’s feet and John Commander was injured while clearing the danger, a knock that forced him to leave the pitch for ten minutes to receive attention. Ilkeston completed a fine afternoon’s work when Jepson nodded in Ward’s centre four minutes from time.

OH BROTHER!
3RD SEPTEMBER 1952
SUTTON TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Billy Wheatley’s brother Ian was a thorn in Ilkeston’s side as he scored twice to earn Sutton a point. Played in a strong wind it was a hard fought game with both teams showing plenty of attacking intent. It was Sutton who took the lead on five minutes during a fast and furious opening when Ian Wheatley evaded Les Smith to shoot home. After Billy Wheatley shot over the bar Ilkeston equalised in the 11th minute when Barrie Jepson took full advantage of R. Smith’s error. Sutton regained the lead on 24 minutes after Wheatley, bursting clear, won a corner. He got on the end of Praski’s cross to make it 2-1. Ilkeston equalised again five minutes before the break when George Darwin’s perfect pass sent Ken Ledger away down the right and his cross was tucked away by Ken Faulconbridge.

The second half remained even but despite the best efforts of both sides chances were rare. The best opening fell to Ilkeston when Jackie Ward headed Jepson’s cross inches wide.

TOWN FIGHTBACK PRESERVES UNBEATEN START
10TH SEPTEMBER 1952
LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 3 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston played the cleverer football but Langwith’s kick and rush style provided a stern test and the draw was a fair result. Town took the lead on 8 minutes when Horace Hackland planted a penalty, awarded for handball, into the corner. They continued to have the better of the play as Barrie Jepson went just wide, John Commander had a shot saved by Price and Ken Ledger wasted a good chance with a wild finish. Suddenly Langwith came back into the game and they equalised on 16 minutes when Hales passed to London whose cross was controlled well by Hopkins before he turned past Les Smith to shoot beyond Joe Sharman. With the home side causing problems it was no surprise when they went in front in the 33rd minute. George Darwin unluckily handled and Woodcock did the rest from the spot. Town fought hard for an elusive equaliser before the break. Jackie Ward wasted a great chance when he hesitated believing that he was offside and Price made saves from Jepson, Ken Faulconbridge and Commander. Jepson then fired into the side net on the stroke of half time.

Sharman saved a Swinscoe header early in the second half before Town went back on the attack. Ward headed against the bar and Jepson headed wide but despite this pressure Langwith went further ahead on 56 minutes when Hutchinson played the ball into Maddison’s path. The latter streaked past Syd Burrows before cracking the ball in on the run. Town responded quickly. Twice they hit the woodwork before Darwin scored with a speculative 40 yard shot from the left on 66 minutes. A minute later the equaliser came when Ledger and Faulconbridge combined well with Hackland nipping in to take the ball off Jepson’s toe to score. The final twenty minutes were frantic as Ilkeston surged forward in search of a winner while the home side looked very dangerous on the break but both teams had to settle for a point.

BENTINCK BATTERED
17TH SEPTEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 BENTINCK WELFARE 1 (CENTRAL ALLIANCE CUP FIRST ROUND)
Played in fine weather the game inexplicably began five minutes late and Bentinck seemed determined to make up for lost time early on. Joe Sharman was a busy man until Town won a free kick near the corner flag at the other end. Billy Wheatley took it and Ken Faulconbridge headed home a 10th minute opener. The second came just two minutes later when John Commander lofted the ball forward to Barrie Jepson who held off a couple of challenges before scoring. Bentinck rallied briefly and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Hill shot past Sharman. But from then on it was all Ilkeston. Faulconbridge’s first time shot crashed off a defender and on to the bar, and Jackie Ward, Jepson and Alwyn Booth each narrowly missed the target before half time.

Ilkeston’s third goal came in the 57th minute when Booth met Ward’s cross on the volley for a fine goal. Bentinck’s Bennett produced a number of good saves but was powerless to prevent Booth and Ward from scoring further goals before the end.

TOWN WIN SEVEN GOAL THRILLER
21ST SEPTEMBER 1952
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 3 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Ilkeston started the match with the confidence one would expect of a side unbeaten in their first six games. They won four corners in the first five minutes and another corner, in the 11th minute, led to them scoring the opener. Alwyn Booth shot high into the net through a group of players. Yet South Normanton did not follow the script and they put on tremendous pressure for the remainder of the first half. Their deserved equaliser came on 27 minutes when Eddie Rogers (later an Ilkeston player) fastened onto England’s long ball and coolly lobbed over Joe Sharman.

Jackie Ward almost put Town ahead a minute into the second half but his shot struck the bar. Instead it was South Normanton who took the lead on 48 minutes through Bennett. Three goals inside the space of ten minutes completely changed the picture. In the 61st minute Billy Wheatley’s cross was despatched by Barrie Jepson. Wheatley provided another four minutes later when his corner was headed in by Booth to put Town ahead. Their fourth came soon after thanks to a neat Wheatley finish that gave Hickman no chance. Rogers scored his second, his shot deceiving Sharman, to give the home side hope in the 74th minute but they rarely threatened to beat an effective Ilkeston defence in the closing stages.

TOWN GO TOP DESPITE SHAMBOLIC REFEREE
24TH SEPTEMBER 1952
SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 5
It seemed at times as if Ilkeston were going to have to beat twelve men but a stubborn refusal to give in to the ineptitude of the referee paid dividends during the final half hour. A bumper 2000 gate including 500 travelling supporters saw two teams with contrasting styles. Ilkeston adopted their usual passing game whereas Shirebrook’s kick and rush tactics, which included some tough tackling, gave Town plenty to think about early on. The home centre forward Atkin fouled persistently but escaped punishment. Gradually Ilkeston imposed themselves on the game and were unlucky when Barrie Jepson’s effort beat Hunt but came off the post and Jackie Ward fired the rebound wide. They did, however, take the lead on 13 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge’s clever pass released Jepson to score. Almost immediately Atkin bundled Joe Sharman off the ball but George Darwin raced in to clear the danger. His awareness proved significant because Town went further ahead within a minute. Billy Wheatley cleverly found Ward and his cross was hooked in by Faulconbridge. The referee incensed Ilkeston in the 38th minute when Sharman was twice impeded during a goalmouth scramble before Pickering scored. The goal was given despite the linesman’s raised flag.

The second half began controversially when Faulconbridge, clearly onside, put the ball in but the goal was disallowed. Town’s protests had barely subsided when Shirebrook equalised on 57 minutes when Atkin bundled the ball in. Ilkeston were now truly fired up and they regained the lead four minutes later with a well worked goal involving Alwyn Booth and Wheatley before Jepson hammered the ball home. The Ilkeston team were fortunate to escape punishment when they surrounded the referee to sarcastically ask if there was anything wrong with the goal. A Faulconbridge overhead kick then brought a spectacular save from Hunt but a fourth goal duly arrived in the 66th minute. Ward’s deep corner was knocked back in by Wheatley for Horace Hackland to head in. Any doubts about the final outcome disappeared twelve minutes from time when Ward’s cross was slammed in off the underside of the bar by Jepson. The win took Town to the top of the Central Alliance.

TOWN BACK ON CUP TRAIL
28TH SEPTEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 7 LONG EATON TOWN 2 (FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston’s hopes of emulating the previous season’s FA Cup success were boosted by this emphatic victory. But they almost fell behind early on when former player Doug Gregory tried a lob which forced an awkward save from Joe Sharman. Ilkeston, with Horace Hackland making his 100th appearance, took the lead on 8 minutes when Billy Wheatley’s cross was nodded in by Barrie Jepson and the lead was almost doubled when he then hit the post. However, the second did come in the 13th minute when Alwyn Booth’s rising shot rounded off a lovely move. Long Eaton responded well and within two minutes they scored through Tucker after Sharman turned Gregory’s lob onto the bar. The goals continued to come. In the 26th minute Jepson’s goalbound shot flew in off Long Eaton’s Rogers following Wheatley’s corner and three minutes later Jackie Ward blasted in an unstoppable shot after another perfect Wheatley centre. Wheatley almost scored himself before half time but his shot hit the side net.

Early on in the second half Astle looked set to pull a goal back for Long Eaton but he was given offside. From that moment on Ilkeston were irresistable. In the 55th minute Booth sent Jepson bursting clear of the defence to complete his hat-trick and in the next couple of minutes Leckie had to make three good saves to prevent Ward, Ken Faulconbridge and Jepson from scoring. His efforts were in vain when in the 58th minute he failed to hold on to Ward’s shot and the Ilkeston winger followed up to score. Cyril Whate, the former Ilkeston player, was spoken to by the referee following an unpleasant tackle on Wheatley as Long Eaton grew frustrated. Faulconbridge then headed a chance just over but he made amends in the 77th minute when he headed in the seventh from Ward’s corner. Ilkeston eased up towards the end and the visitors scored an 88th minute consolation when Tucker’s shot was deflected in by the unfortunate George Darwin.

HARD WON POINTS AT FOREST
4TH OCTOBER 1952
NOTTINGHAM FOREST "A" 2 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Town, with Les Smith making his 100th appearance and backed by 700 fans, won a highly competitive game that occasionally turned nasty. The result kept them at the top of the table but they had to hang on at the end to secure the win. Forest made the first attack and Joe Sharman had to be brave to save at Walker’s feet. Then Ilkeston had a spell of sustained pressure so it was a surprise when the home side went ahead against the run of play on 15 minutes, Baxter’s dipping 20 yard shot giving Sharman no chance. Four minutes later Town drew level. Alwyn Booth sent the ball to Jackie Ward who beat two defenders before crossing. The ball eluded Forest ‘keeper Dennis Knibbs (later an Ilkeston player) and floated into the net, Barrie Jepson getting a touch after it had crossed the line. Knibbs was kept busy although the high number of fouls conceded meant that the game lacked any kind of flow. Ken Faulconbridge had a first time volley saved and Horace Hackland shot against the bar before Ilkeston had a certain penalty turned down. Ward’s shot came off Knibbs’ foot and was then handled by Knight but the referee failed to spot it.

Ilkeston almost fell behind early in the second half when a terrible mix up between Sharman and George Darwin presented Walker with a golden chance that he inexplicably missed. With Forest getting stronger Darwin was forced to make a brilliant saving tackle. Back came Ilkeston and Knibbs had to make a smart save to deny Faulconbridge. Jepson also went close as Forest resorted to some unpleasant challenges to thwart Town. On one occasion Dave Baker (who later joined Ilkeston and achieved legendary status) was spoken to by the referee. He was finally booked in the 80th minute when he hauled down Ward and then protested about the penalty award. Hackland scored from the spot to put Ilkeston ahead. Five minutes from time Knibbs saved a Ted Attwood shot but spilled the ball when he was charged by Jepson who then won the ball and calmly put the ball into the net for Ilkeston’s third. In the 88th minute Forest gave themselves hope when Baxter and Walker combined well for Cann to score with a lovely cross shot but Ilkeston survived the nail biting final couple of minutes.

ROVERS RAVAGED IN SECOND HALF
11TH OCTOBER 1952
GRESLEY ROVERS 0 ILKESTON TOWN 5 (FA CUP SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND)
Town progressed nicely into the next round with a blistering second half show after they edged a keenly contested first 45 minutes. Over 1000 Ilkeston fans in the 4000 gate made the trip to Gresley to see two unbeaten sides but there was only one winner in this game. Jackie Ward was off target early on but it was his 4th minute free kick that led to Town’s opener, Alwyn Booth driving home low through a crowded goalmouth. Barrie Jepson twice shot narrowly over before Gresley suffered another setback when an injury to Kendrick left him a passenger. Undeterred Bayles twice tested Joe Sharman with long shots but Town remained positive. Warner saved a Ken Ledger shot that lacked its customary power and then the winger had a header cleared off the line by Webb. Jepson and then Bayles at the other end were only just off target as half time approached.

The dangerous Bayles tested Sharman again after the break but on 58 minutes Town got the killer second. Ward beat Webb, cut along the by line and passed to Jepson who touched the ball on to Booth who made no mistake. Gresley had one final effort of note when Hallam’s effort was saved by Sharman before Ilkeston took complete control during the last 20 minutes. Ken Faulconbridge lobbed in the third from just inside the area and Horace Hackland’s free kick was rammed into the net by Ledger in the 75th minute. Ilkeston rounded off an emphatic victory four minutes from time when Ward’s perfect cross was finished with ease by Jepson.

NEW BADGE NO JOY
18TH OCTOBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST "A" 4
A 2500 crowd saw Ilkeston take to the field with a new ‘ball in an elm tree’ badge but the new logo brought no joy as their team fell to their first defeat of the season against a very strong Forest team. The result saw Town drop to fifth place. Forest got off to the best possible start when Cann sent Lemon through to score with a fierce shot after just 45 seconds. Joe Sharman then had to save at Cann’s feet as the visitors threatened again but Town recovered and equalised on 10 minutes. John Commander’s sweeping pass but Billy Wheatley in the clear and he unselfishly passed the ball into Jackie Ward’s path to shoot home on the run. Ilkeston began to play as they could and both Ward and Barrie Jepson had shots saved by future Town ‘keeper Dennis Knibbs while Alwyn Booth just failed to get in a shot when he only had Knibbs to beat. But Forest had attacking ideas of their own and Sharman had to make saves from Lemon, Cann and Walker before they regained the lead in the 25th minute. Burton’s corner was headed clear by Les Smith but no one closed down Burton who cut inside to shoot into the roof of the net. Ilkeston looked rattled and kept losing possession. Although Jepson had a flying header go just wide it was no surprise when Cann scored with a close range header before half time.

Town tried to find a way back after the break and Billy Wheatley’s cracking right foot drive brought a spectacular save from Knibbs but Forest put the match beyond Ilkeston’s reach in the 57th minute. Thompson broke down the right before he found Lemon who had time to pick his spot to score their fourth. After Ken Faulconbridge’s header flashed over the top Ilkeston scored a 65th minute consolation goal. Knibbs caught Wheatley’s cross but was charged over the line by Ward, Jepson and Booth. The goal was credited to the former.

BOOTS TRAMPLED ON
25TH OCTOBER 1952
BOOTS ATHLETIC 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND)
This FA Cup tie was switched from Boots’ Lady Bay ground to the Manor Ground and it began two minutes late following a silence in the memory of two Ilkeston councillors, W. Hasel and G. Miller, who died the previous weekend. Boots gave Ilkeston an early scare when Bull headed wide in the first minute but Town went ahead on 5 minutes when Billy Wheatley headed in Jackie Ward’s cross. Both Wheatley and Barrie Jepson fired over when well placed and Ken Faulconbridge was unlucky when he was brought down after a brilliant dribble but no penalty was awarded. Boots goalkeeper Camidge was in fine form and he prevented Ilkeston from going further ahead before half time.

He continued in a similar vein after the break and he made further saves from John Commander and Horace Hackland but there was little he could do in the 51st minute. Jepson was brought down and Hackland scored from the penalty spot. Three minutes later Wheatley’s cross caused chaos and Jepson got the final touch for the third. Ilkeston’s fourth came on 78 minutes after Faulconbridge’s cross led to Jepson’s goalbound header being punched clear by Butler, Hackland sticking away his second penalty of the afternoon. Ilkeston relaxed towards the end but were not punished as Monks and G. Smith both shot wide.

FAULCO FLATTENS LEADERS
1ST NOVEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 6 SUTTON TOWN 1
Top of the table Sutton were well and truly taken apart by Ilkeston who climbed up to fourth place. Ilkeston began brightly with a Barrie Jepson shot that skimmed the bar and a Ken Ledger shot that was tipped away by Bolstridge. Parrott shot into the side net at the other end and Sutton had further bad luck when Parkin, in heading away an Alwyn Booth shot for a corner, had to go to hospital for stitches. Ilkeston took advantage with their extra man on 15 minutes when a lovely move involving Booth, Ledger and Jepson ended with Ken Faulconbridge netting from close range. Nine minutes later Bolstridge misjudged the flight of the ball to give Jepson a simple finish for Town’s second. Ilkeston made it three on 37 minutes when Ledger’s superb cross was hooked by Jepson to Faulconbridge who placed the ball into the net. Two minutes later Sutton replied with a controversial goal. Somerfield found former Ilkeston player Geoff Jones who in turn set up Ian Wheatley, brother of Ilkeston’s Billy, and he slammed the ball in from a blatantly offside position. Ilkeston responded well and Faulconbridge, in inspired form, sold a brilliant dummy before his shot was superbly saved by Bolstridge. He then had another blistering shot well stopped just before the break.

Parkin returned to the fray after half time and for a spell Sutton looked rejuvenated. Ian Wheatley had a shot which slipped through Joe Sharman’s grasp but fortunately the ball bounced off his chest to safety. Another controversial decision robbed Faulconbridge of an outstanding goal when, following a mazy dribble, who walloped the ball into the top corner from 40 yards but it was ruled out. However, Ilkeston went further ahead on the hour when a brilliant, deft header from Ward’s cross completed Faulconbridge’s hat-trick. Not to be denied Jepson also went on to complete a hat-trick with two goals in the last ten minutes.

WHOLLY TRINITY
8TH NOVEMBER 1952
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 5 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston, backed by 1500 followers, had hopes of reaching the First Round for a second consecutive season but they were dashed during the second half when Midland League side Gainsborough played to their full potential. Town began the second half well and Davey had to save smartly from Barrie Jepson but from then on Trinity assumed control. They took the lead on 52 minutes when Morley pounced on a loose ball following Robinson’s cross. Two minutes later they scored again when Howsam struck a sweet volley after being set up by Churn and Joe Sharman then produced a great save to deny Morley. Town’s last hope of a comeback was dashed when Horace Hackland shot wildly over when Alwyn Booth and Arthur Jackson were completely unmarked and, on 66 minutes, Trinity made the game safe. Howsam’s penalty was controversially awarded when John Commander slipped when he was in possession and the referee ruled that he had impeded an opponent. Gainsborough got their fifth in the 76th minute when Hughes crashed the ball home after a scramble. Ilkeston battled bravely until the end in a fruitless quest for a consolation goal. Ted Attwood’s 45 yard free kick was saved by Davey and Jackson fired narrowly over.

Ilkeston had competed well during the first half and entered the break on level terms thanks to an excellent 45th minute equaliser by Ken Ledger. Receiving a neat pass from Jepson who had beaten two defenders he rounded Pickering before firing in from an acute angle. Earlier Gainsborough’s Churn had a shot that bounced off Les Smith for a corner whilst Hackland’s free kick that was well wide was Town’s first shot. Sharman then produced a flying save to stop Robinson’s shot before Jepson almost gave Ilkeston the lead when his swinging cross was cleared off the line by Taylor. Robinson then went desperately close for Trinity when his shot struck the underside of the bar and Churn struck the rebound high and wide. Gainsborough finally took the lead on 42 minutes when Howsam collided with Sharman in trying to reach Hughes’ cross and as the ball ran loose Hughes dashed in to score.

TOWN BEST IN THE MIST
15TH NOVEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 2
Shirebrook arrived late which caused a 15 minute delay and with the ever present threat of fog the match was reduced to 40 minutes each way. Identification of the Shirebrook players was made more difficult by the absence of numbers on their shirts. All in all it was a routine victory for Town, Shirebrook’s two goals coming in the 77th and 79th minutes through Sansome and Grant when Ilkeston were at a disadvantage because of George Darwin’s pronounced limp. By this time Town had already rattled in five goals.

Town had several chances after a scrappy opening. A Barrie Jepson shot flew off Lappage’s boot with goalkeeper Hunt unsighted, Jackie Ward hesitated fatally after being set up beautifully by Ken Faulconbridge, John Commander’s 20 yard volley flew wide, and Hunt made a good save from Faulconbridge’s shot from the edge of the box. Ilkeston finally went in front on 16 minutes when Alwyn Booth reached Ken Ledger’s high ball ahead of Hunt. The second arrived on 30 minutes when Faulconbridge and Booth produced a delightful move to leave Ward with a simple finish. Hunt then made saves from Ledger and Ward, and a Jepson header was cleared off the line by Pickering but Town scored again in the 44th minute when Ward cracked a terrific angled drive into the roof of the net. It was all Ilkeston after half time until Shirebrook’s late goals. Hunt made several saves and Town hit the post before they scored again on the hour, Jepson heading in Ledger’s perfect cross. Jepson added Ilkeston’s fifth in the 69th minute.

ILKESTON RUE LAST GASP MISS
29TH NOVEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 0 LINBY COLLIERY 0
Ilkeston, still without a win against Linby, almost broke their hoodoo when Barrie Jepson’s last minute header grazed the post. But a draw was probably the fair result as both times battled away wholeheartedly on a bone hard but slippery surface in a match played in fog. Linby had most of the early play and they could have punished Town when Les Smith slipped but Dulson failed to take advantage. Williams then fired over and Rex Clarke (a future Ilkeston player) shot tamely at Joe Sharman before Ilkeston started to get going. Pugh made saves from Alwyn Booth and Jackie Ward, and then Ken Faulconbridge’s header was cleared off the line by Braddow, yet Linby finished the half the stronger. Ernie Williamson (later a Town player and captain) shot over and Dulson’s shot lacked power as the visitors looked for a first half lead.

Town went on the offensive after the break. Faulconbridge lobbed narrowly over and although Williamson’s snap shot was well saved by Sharman Town looked the more threatening. Faulconbridge headed just wide soon after Pugh had made a spectacular save from Jepson. Linby also went forward when they could. Sharman made a brave save at Clarke’s feet and the latter then saw his snap shot saved. Robinson had to leave the pitch for four minutes after receiving the full force of a Faulconbridge shot as Town went back on the attack but Linby came dangerously close to taking the lead when Dennis Breedon (another future Ilkeston player) angled a shot against the bar. Then came Jepson's equally close effort in the dying seconds.

LANGWITH SLIP OUT OF CUP IN THRILLER
6TH DECEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 5 LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP FIRST ROUND)
On a hard slippery surface both teams provided a feast of attacking football and there were chances galore but Ilkeston were the undoubted masters, particularly in the final twenty minutes. Both teams went close early on, Jackie Ward shooting a good chance into the side net and Swinscoe shot wide when well placed at the other end. Ilkeston took the lead in the 11th minute when Horace Hackland burst forward from defence and put Barrie Jepson in the clear to steer the ball past the advancing Price. Langwith were far from second best at this point and a Woolley shot was superbly tipped over by Joe Sharman. Swinscoe also had a shot saved by Sharman soon after Price denied Alwyn Booth at the other end. However, on 25 minutes, Langwith got a deserved equaliser when Hutchinson’s superb pass allowed Woolley to race away and cross for the unmarked Maddison to head home. Ilkeston could have been in real trouble minutes later when George Darwin handled in the area but the referee didn’t spot the offence. But Town were also desperately unlucky when Booth headed Ward’s cross against the post and Jepson’s follow up header had a similar result. Then, on 38 minutes, Ward gave Town the lead with a splendid effort. He streaked away from the half way line and shot past the advancing Price. Three minutes later and Ilkeston went further ahead and this time another Ward run ended with a hard cross that was turned in by Jepson. There was still time for Barraclough to hit the post at the other end before the half time whistle blew.

Swinscoe struck a first time shot over the bar early in the second half as both sides continued to attack. Jepson thought he had scored Town’s fourth when he headed against the bar and knocked the rebound in but the goal was disallowed for offside. Then Ward shot inches wide before Woolley shot over Sharman’s bar. Slowly Ilkeston began to take control. Jepson fired wide from a good position and Price made good saves from Ward, Jepson and Ken Ledger. Jepson then had another goal disallowed for offside. Les Smith made a brilliant saving tackle to prevent Barraclough from reducing the arrears before a piece of brilliant but unselfish play by Ledger assured Town of victory. He burst down the right and cut inside beautifully to leave himself a simple chance but instead he passed to Jepson who completed a well deserved hat-trick. With five minutes left Jepson cleverly drew Price from his goal and played the ball to Ledger who coolly lobbed in Ilkeston’s fifth. Jepson almost added another but his glancing header flashed inches wide.

BRILLIANT BARRIE
13TH DECEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 6 CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 3
Barrie Jepson produced one of the finest individual performances in Town’s history when he scored all six goals in this 6-3 win. Clay Cross, one of the leading challenges for the title alongside Ilkeston, almost fell behind in the opening minutes when Ken Faulconbridge shot against the inside of the post. Ilkeston did not have long to wait, however, and took the lead in the 8th minute with a brilliant goal. Alwyn Booth passed the ball out wide to Ken Ledger who switched the play with a long crossfield pass to Jackie Ward. His left wing cross was headed in by Jepson. Ward then had a header saved by Judkins before sending over a 20th minute corner which Redford failed to clear and Jepson pounced for his second. Five minutes later Ledger found Jepson unmarked and he thumped the ball home in style to complete his hat-trick. Jepson nearly scored again shortly after but Judkins was alive to his shot. Clay Cross pulled a goal back on 34 minutes when Priest escaped from Les Smith to touch the ball past Joe Sharman and into the net beyond the despairing Syd Burrows. A minute later it was game on when Barton beat the offside trap and steered the ball past Sharman. It took the goalscoring genius of Jepson to put Town back in control before the break. On 37 minutes he provided the finishing touch after Alwyn Booth sent over a cross following a one-two with Ward. Then three minutes later he beat the offside trap, latched onto Ledger’s perfect pass and supplied the finish for his fifth goal.

Ilkeston inexplicably looked shaky at the back after half time and Priest nodded in from a 47th minute corner. Fortunately, Sharman, who produced a remarkable save to keep out Wragg’s close range shot, and Ted Attwood were in excellent form. Ilkeston gradually improved and late on, when Faulconbridge and Ledger combined beautifully to open the Clay Cross defence, the former shot from 20 yards. Jepson flung himself to divert the shot past the wrong footed Judkins to complete an incredible afternoon’s work.

FIVE GOALS IN LAST 21 MINUTES ROCK RANSOME
20TH DECEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 7 RANSOME & MARLES 3
Ilkeston went back to the top of the Central Alliance with this win but they looked down and out at 3-1 down and they were still behind as the game approached the final 20 minutes. Town began well against their experienced opponents in driving rain and went in front in the 5th minute. Ken Faulconbridge found Ken Ledger, who after beating his man, sent over a high centre which Alwyn Booth bundled in off the post. However, the visitors soon posed a serious threat and Joe Sharman made spectacular saves from Staples and McCready. With play going from end to end it was exciting stuff and it was no surprise when Ransome equalised on 32 minutes. Staples and McCready worked well to release Longworth and his cross was headed in by Shackleton. A similar move a minute later ended with Staples applying the final touch and worse was to follow for Ilkeston when on 36 minutes Ted Attwood’s clearance bounced off Longworth’s back and into the net for a freak goal. Town needed a quick response and they got it two minutes later. Faulconbridge went on a mazy dribble and although he slipped when he was about to shoot he was able to touch the ball on for Booth to score. Footitt then saved from Barrie Jepson as Ilkeston strove unsuccessfully to equalise before half time.

Ilkeston dominated the second half but it seemed as if they would never score. Horace Hackland missed two great chances, Jackie Ward forced Footitt into a scrambled save and Jepson fired into the side net. The equaliser finally came in the 69th minute when Faulconbridge made another fine dribble before crossing for Ward to head home. Then the floodgates opened. After Faulconbridge headed just over they took the lead on 76 minutes when Ward found Booth who shot from the corner of the box to complete his hat-trick. A minute later it was five when Ledger won the ball and crossed for Ward to head in. The sixth arrived in the 80th minute when Jepson scored a delightful goal, cutting in from the left to beat three defenders before shooting with his left foot in off the far post. Demoralised Ransome managed a shot but Longworth’s effort was easily saved by Sharman. Footitt then made a great save from Booth’s 15 yard shot but in the 83rd minute he failed to hold onto Jepson’s shot and Booth pounced for his fourth and Town’s seventh.

HEANOR’S CHRISTMAS TURKEY
25TH DECEMBER 1952
HEANOR ATHLETIC 2 ILKESTON TOWN 7
Heanor provided Ilkeston with a few anxious moments but ultimately had no answer to Town’s superb attacking play which saw them score six times and miss a penalty in a crazy 17 minute spell. Ilkeston dominated the opening stages with Horace Hackland firing a free kick over and Ken Faulconbridge shot inches wide. It was completely against the run of play when the home side went in front on 16 minutes. Bailey beat Les Smith and Ted Attwood before he found Buxton who banged the ball in off the underside of the bar. Alwyn Booth then had a shot tipped over by Mundy but Heanor came very close to adding to their lead when first Molley hit the post with a great shot and then Buxton clipped the top of the bar. However, Ilkeston equalised on 27 minutes when former player Peter Lincoln made a bad backpass and Barrie Jepson nipped in to round Mundy to score. Suddenly Ilkeston took over and Heanor were reeling. On 37 minutes Jackie Ward, away on the left, sent over a well struck centre that was headed in by Jepson. Two minutes later, with Heanor all over the place, Ken Ledger tapped the ball over Mundy for the third and they should have added another before half time when Booth cleverly enticed Eyre into a foul but Hackland’s penalty went over the bar.

A minute after the break Faulconbridge’s pass allowed Booth to evade a hesitant defence to score the fourth. Incredibly Town scored again a minute later when Ledger burst down the right and crossed to Jepson who completed his hat-trick. Heanor’s misery piled on when Ilkeston’s sixth came in the 49th minute. Jepson went on a superb solo run, beat four men and cracked in an unstoppable shot. With Heanor now on their knees Faulconbridge unleashed an angled drive into the net five minutes later. Thankfully for the home side Town took it easy after that and Heanor managed a consolation goal on 65 minutes when Dennis Smith took full advantage of an error by Les Smith and scored after a clever run. Heanor’s misery was not yet complete, however, and six minutes from full time Lincoln had to leave the pitch with an injury.

TOWN EIGHT HEANOR ALIVE
26TH DECEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 8 HEANOR ATHLETIC 0
Heanor must have feared the worst after the previous day’s mauling and, true to form, on fire Ilkeston ran in another eight goals to make it 33 in five games. Heanor actually played quite well at times but they had no punch up front and their over worked defenders had no answer to Ilkeston’s deadly forwards. The pattern was set early on. Eyre cleared a Jackie Ward corner off the line and Mundy pulled off excellent saves from Ken Faulconbridge and Barrie Jepson. Heanor could easily have taken the lead when Dennis Smith fired against the bar and Clarke could only put the rebound the wrong side of the post. Ilkeston took the lead on 16 minutes when Ward’s cross went straight into the net with Reddick, hampered by Jepson, unable to clear. They continued to create chances before the second arrived in the 33rd minute. Ken Ledger shot into the side net, Alwyn Booth fired against the post, and Mundy saved Faulconbridge’s low shot but he could do nothing about the goal. Booth played in Ward and his deep cross was headed back by Ledger for Jepson to blast home. Two minutes later Ward cleverly placed his corner to the edge of the area and although Booth’s initial shot was blocked he was able to push the ball to Jepson who made it three.

All Heanor could do after half time was to try and contain Ilkeston and this was made doubly difficult when Dennis Smith had to leave the pitch for eight minutes following a collision with George Darwin. Somehow they held out until his return but Town went further ahead in the 59th minute when Ward was left with a simple finish after John Commander lobbed a dangerous ball into the area. Ilkeston’s total superiority came to the fore in the last 20 minutes. In the 72nd minute Jepson brought down Ledger’s cross beautifully to set up Faulconbridge. A minute later Ledger found Jepson and although Mundy was able to parry the shot Ward was on hand to complete his hat-trick. Ten minutes from time Ledger danced down the right before Faulconbridge and Ward combined for Jepson to register his third and Ilkeston’s seventh. There was still time for Town to score another and they did through a Horace Hackland penalty.

SIX IN A ROW FOR TOWN
27TH DECEMBER 1952
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 1
Ilkeston recorded their sixth successive win but this was an under par performance, not surprising given that it was their third game in 48 hours. The match was dull and lacked interest. Brush were keen in the tackle but less keen on showing ambition and when they finally fell behind they were content to keep the score down. The visitors arrived late and they were not alone. Ken Faulconbridge failed to appear for the start and Town were forced to play with ten men for the opening 22 minutes. With still no sign of his arrival Roy Eaton eventually took his place. Jackie Ward was presented with Town’s first opportunity and Taylor was forced to tip his header over the bar. At the other end Moore shot wide when well placed before Taylor made further decent saves from Horace Hackland and Alwyn Booth. Brush took the lead on 36 minutes when a poor backpass allowed Brennan to plough through the mud and push the ball to Moore for a simple finish with Ilkeston’s rearguard all at sea. Ken Ledger almost equalised before half time but his shot was deflected wide by Bardsley.

Bardsley came to Brush’s rescue again soon after half time when he cleared a Hackland shot off the line before the visitors had the only spell of concerted pressure in the game. However, in the 55th minute, Ilkeston drew level when Eaton pushed the ball forward to Ledger and raced into the area to receive and tuck away the resulting low centre. Ten minutes later Town scored the winner they deserved when Booth cracked in from 20 yards.

LEDGER GOAL SETTLES CUP TIE
3RD JANUARY 1953
RANSOME & MARLES 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (LEAGUE CUP SECOND ROUND)
Ilkeston edged a tight game and probably deserved the win by virtue of creating the most chances. Alwyn Booth made the first attempt when his 25 yard shot flew inches wide. Then Barrie Jepson was unlucky not to score when his effort was cleared off the line by Molyneaux. Ransome then had a spell of pressure. Longworth’s tame shot was easily dealt with by Joe Sharman but Town had a lucky escape when Staples appeared to have been fouled yet no penalty was awarded. The home side were effective in repelling Ilkeston’s attacks and Town’s only other efforts of note during the first half were a Jepson header and a Horace Hackland shot which both went over the bar.

Both sides attempted to get forward in the second half. Ken Ledger’s powerful shot was well saved by Foottit and Staples shot weakly wide when he was under pressure from George Darwin. Ilkeston almost went in front when Ken Faulconbridge’s shot cracked against the underside of the bar and Gray headed clear. They scored the all important goal on the hour when Darwin sent Ledger away and his cross completely deceived Foottit, who was distracted by the onrushing Jepson, and the ball went directly into the net. Ransome ran out of ideas and Town would have scored a second but for a good save by Foottit from Booth.

TOWN BEAT TITLE CHALLENGERS
10TH JANUARY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 2 CRESWELL COLLIERY 1
Top of the table Ilkeston recovered from the shock of conceding a first minute goal to beat nearest rivals Creswell in a thoroughly entertaining encounter. Beresford’s long clearance caught Town by surprise and Lee raced away to cross to Atkin who had time to control the ball and shoot in off the bar. Creswell refused to let Ilkeston have things their own way and defended magnificently throughout whilst looking dangerous on the break. Jackie Ward had a goal ruled out for offside, Ken Ledger had a shot touched round the post by Wilson, and a John Commander cross appeared to be handled by a Creswell defender as Town searched in vain for an equaliser. They had to wait until the 21st minute for it to come and when it did it was down to Ken Faulconbridge’s headed flick from a Ward centre. Barrie Jepson twice went close with headers and in between Ekin hit the bar with Lee completely missing his kick from the rebound as both teams searched for a goal before half time.

Both teams continued to delight during the second half even though the churned up pitch made the ball difficult to control. Relentless Ilkeston pressure finally led to the winner on 53 minutes. A superb move involving Ledger, Faulconbridge, Jepson and Alwyn Booth led to the latter pulling the ball back to Commander whose shot was deflected past the helpless Wilson by Faulconbridge’s head. Town could have made the game safe eight minutes later when Ward’s cross was handled by Smithurst but Horace Hackland struck his penalty straight at Wilson. With the gathering gloom and the introduction of the white ball it was Town’s turn to defend effectively during the last 25 minutes and they did so with few alarms.

BRAVE TOWN FORCE REPLAY IN FACE OF SMITH INJURY
17TH JANUARY 1953
CRESWELL COLLIERY 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP QUARTER-FINAL)
On a very cold afternoon, the match failed to hit the heights witnessed in the previous week’s meeting and Town found it difficult to adapt to the undulating ground. Fouls were frequent but often went unpunished. Even so, there were plenty of incidents to keep the crowd interested. Creswell almost scored early on when Lee beat George Darwin and crossed to Messenger who shot against the bar. Joe Sharman then saved from Ekin before Ilkeston had their first shot, the off balance Alwyn Booth firing over. Lee looked certain to put Creswell ahead and it needed a magnificent tackle by Les Smith to stop him. Town had a spell of pressure before half time and Booth had a shot cleared off the line by Fox, Jackie Ward’s shot was spilled by goalkeeper Wilson, and then Fox came to Creswell’s rescue again when he headed Ward’s shot off the line.

Ilkeston continued to press after the break. Ward saw a shot punched clear by Wilson and the ‘keeper then went full length to save a Barrie Jepson shot. However they were severely hampered when Les Smith had to go off with a shoulder injury that would keep him out for three weeks. Ilkeston bravely surged forward and both Jepson and Ken Faulconbridge had shots charged down before they took the lead on 58 minutes. Ken Ledger’s unstoppable shot took a slight deflection off a defender’s head to give Wilson no chance. Creswell responded positively and Sharman produced a brilliant save to deny Messenger and Ted Attwood’s clearance rebounded off Atkin but just cleared the bar. Then, on 66 minutes, they equalised through Atkin who did well to score while off balance. Ilkeston threw caution to the wind during the closing stages and Jepson twice and Booth had goal attempts blocked by the resolute home defence.

HOT CROSS WON
24TH JANUARY 1953
CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Clay Cross, who had moved up to second place, ended Ilkeston’s ten match unbeaten league run in front of over 1000 spectators. The home side deserved it and had most of the possession, particularly in the first half, while the Ilkeston team contained too many players who had off days. The struggling defenders conceded too many free kicks although Clay Cross were far from blameless when it came to over zealous tackling. Ilkeston were unlucky on 25 minutes when Barrie Jepson beat two defenders and slammed the ball in only for the goal to be ruled out by a questionable offside decision. Ken Ledger shot over a minute later but it was Clay Cross who got the all important opener in the 27th minute. Wragg linked well with Baker before crossing to Barton who made no mistake. Horace Hackland had a shot tipped over by Holmes as Town looked for a way back before half time.

Ilkeston grew frustrated during the second half as they attacked constantly and much of this was down to the under par referee. Jepson was wrongly given offside on several occasions and to make matters worse Clay Cross scored a late controversial goal to seal the win. Wragg’s free kick sailed into the net past Joe Sharman who was clearly charged by Priest and Baker.

BACK TO THEIR BEST
31ST JANUARY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 8 BENTINCK WELFARE 1
Ilkeston returned to their goal hungry form of December and easily defeated an inexperienced Bentinck side who lacked nothing in courage. This was no more evident than in the opening stages when, following a mistake by Bill McDonald, Joe Sharman saved Musgrove’s close range shot and then Dove hastily shot wide with only Sharman to beat. Ilkeston then settled down and they went in front on 18 minutes when Bennett misjudged Ken Ledger’s cross and Ken Faulconbridge was presented with a simple tap in. Nine minutes later Ledger crossed with his left foot, the unfortunate Bennett spilled the ball, and Jackie Ward slammed in the opportunity. Town were now in total control and after Alwyn Booth’s header and Barrie Jepson’s shot were both deflected wide three goals were scored in the final five minutes of the first half. On 40 minutes Ward made a great burst up the left and his cross was met by Barrie Jepson’s head and a minute later Faulconbridge scored following a goalmouth scramble. Town’s fifth arrived on the stroke of half time when Ledger jinked through and fired in a shot from a narrow angle that Brown could only help into his own net.

Ilkeston scored again in the 48th minute. Jepson cleverly drew the Bentinck defence before finding Ledger who scored with a well struck shot on the run. The visitors scored a consolation goal on the hour when Roberts evaded Bill McDonald and tapped the ball inside to Evans who finished easily. Hill then forced Sharman into a smart save before Ilkeston stepped it up again. Ledger completed his hat-trick with an oblique lob and Town’s eighth came when Ward broke away, his shot was turned onto the post by Bennett, and the ball rebounded into the net off Jepson’s body.

MIXED FEELINGS AS TOWN PROGRESS
7TH FEBRUARY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 4 CRESWELL COLLIERY 2 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP QUARTER-FINAL REPLAY)
Ilkeston booked a place in the semi final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup but lost the leadership of the Central Alliance to Clay Cross who thrashed Heanor 5-0. Fast, open attacking play by Town undid a very decent Creswell side whose best spell came during the first 20 minutes. Joe Sharman was quickly brought into action and he saved from Beresford whilst Wilson, his counterpart, made a smart stop from an Alwyn Booth shot. Ilkeston took the lead in the 9th minute. Horace Hackland found Ken Faulconbridge who went on a jinking run before setting up Jackie Ward who cut in before firing in a shot that somehow eluded Wilson. Creswell were not fazed by the setback and Sharman had to make a fabulous save to deny Ekin before he snatched the ball off Lee’s toes in another attack. Ilkeston defended well under the pressure and gradually took control. Ken Ledger’s thumping shot was saved and Booth shot narrowly over before they doubled their lead on 21 minutes. Ledger made a great run and his eventual cross was tapped in from an acute angle by Faulconbridge. Wilson was kept busy during the remainder of the first half and he twice saved from Booth before making further stops to deny Ledger and Ward. Barrie Jepson went inches wide as half time approached.

Intense Ilkeston pressure after the break eventually led to a third goal on 58 minutes. Ledger’s corner was not properly cleared and Ward scored with a well struck shot. Booth then came close to adding a fourth when his header was cleared off the line by Fox. However, Creswell pulled a goal back on 65 minutes when Grant’s cross shot was parried over the line by the deceived Sharman. Town got their fourth six minutes later. Ledger’s pace took him away from the defence and he calmly tapped the ball past the advancing Wilson. With Town now certain of victory they relaxed enough for Galley to shoot narrowly wide for Creswell. The visitors then grabbed a consolation goal when Ekin, all alone, steered the ball past Sharman in the 84th minute. Creswell’s disappointing afternoon took a turn for the worse late on when Atkin was carried off to leave them with ten men. Ward almost took advantage but Wilson produced an outstanding save to keep the score down to a respectable level.

MOATMEN SNOW-VERWHELMED
14TH FEBRUARY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 6 GRESLEY ROVERS 2
Four inches of overnight snow failed to prevent the match from going ahead but the pitch made short passing unsuitable. As it was second place Ilkeston swung the ball around to great effect. Joe Sharman was called upon early on when he smothered Hallam’s close range shot but it was Ilkeston who took the lead on 8 minutes. Barrie Jepson’s angled shot was deflected across the face of his own goal by former Town player Dennis Forster and Jackie Ward dashed in to score. Alwyn Booth had a shot headed off the line by Wood but fourth place Gresley almost equalised when Hallam’s strike brought a full length save by Sharman. Ilkeston then took complete control. Simnett made a fine double save from Booth and Ken Faulconbridge but the second goal duly came on 29 minutes when Ken Ledger broke clear and crossed perfectly for Barrie Jepson to nod in. Jepson then had a goal disallowed and only the sterling work of Simnett kept Town at bay. However, in the closing stages of the first half, Gresley began to threaten. Bill Passmore (a future Ilkeston player) missed an open goal after former Ilkeston player Charlie Nicklin crossed. But, a minute from the break, they pulled a goal back when Sharman could only parry Cadwallader’s free kick into Nicklin’s path who scored from close range.

Gresley appeared to gain in confidence for a spell and three times John Commander headed clear goalbound shots from Tapping, Cadwallader and Nicklin. The next goal came to Ilkeston, however, in the 53rd minute. Receiving a short corner Faulconbridge deftly flicked the ball over for Jepson to score with a spectacular header. A minute later Town made the game safe when Booth passed to Ledger who crossed for Jepson to complete a hat-trick of headers. Ilkeston had to wait until the 74th minute before they registered their fifth. Ward was badly fouled by Forster and needed attention before George Darwin stuck away a well placed penalty. Forster’s challenge led to the game becoming heated and several poor challenges resulted. Gresley scored a consolation goal in the 79th minute when Nicklin scored with a shot that Sharman ought to have saved but the goal failed to cool the temperature. Storer badly fouled Ledger as he threatened to break clear and the referee had no option other than to book the Gresley player. Ilkeston scored their sixth two minutes from time with a goal that defied the condition of the pitch. A tip tapping move involving Booth, Jepson, Booth again, Horace Hackland and Booth once more ended with Hackland finishing in style.

ILKESTON REACH THE FINAL
21ST FEBRUARY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 4 CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINAL)
The two top clubs in the Central Alliance, watched by 3700 spectators, met in the semi final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup in glorious sunshine and second place Ilkeston were worthy winners thanks to an excellent second half show. The first chance of the game fell to Town but Alwyn Booth shot just over. The best opening early on came Clay Cross’ way when Priest beat George Darwin only to shoot straight at Joe Sharman rather than pass to better placed colleagues. Ilkeston had most of the possession and Barrie Jepson’s close range header was cleared off the line by Bradshaw yet Clay Cross defended well and caught Town by surprise by taking a 29th minute lead. Wragg won a loose ball in the box and crossed to Baker who scored with a low shot. The goal inspired the visitors and Dooley lobbed inches over. However, Town fought back before half time with the prostrate Jepson and then Horace Hackland shooting just off target.

Severe pressure resulted in an equaliser for Town on 51 minutes, Jepson rising high to meet Ken Ledger’s corner. A minute later Ilkeston took the lead following another corner, this time taken by Jackie Ward, which Ken Faulconbridge met at the near post with a deft header. Town got a third in the 68th minute when Ted Attwood won the ball in defence and his long clearance was pounced on by Jepson who smacked in a left foot volley. Ledger went close with a cracking drive before Ilkeston scored their fourth eleven minutes from time. Booth’s neat pass put Jepson in the clear and he completed his hat-trick with a low right foot shot. Clay Cross exerted some late pressure and Sharman had to make saves at the feet of Barton and Baker, but the final effort of the match came from Ledger whose shot contained such power that Holmes could only stop it at the third attempt.

ILKESTON EDGE THROUGH AFTER EXTRA TIME
28TH FEBRUARY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 4 COALVILLE TOWN 2 (LEAGUE CUP QUARTER-FINAL)
Coalville pushed Ilkeston all the way in this lively encounter and it was not until the second period of extra time that Ilkeston put the game beyond Coalville’s reach. Play fluctuated during a first half that produced no goals but plenty of narrow escapes with the visitors’ ‘keeper Parsons in fine form. Ken Ledger headed just wide whilst at the other end Charlton shot high and wide. The unmarked Wright then had a good chance to put Coalville ahead but he shot recklessly wide. Parsons made a good save when Ledger broke clear before he tipped a Jackie Ward shot around the post. Ilkeston came desperately close to a goal when Ledger’s free kick struck the inside of the post and Alwyn Booth put the rebound over from three yards. Joe Sharman saved Charlton’s 30 yard shot but it was his opposite number who caught the eye with further saves from Ledger, headers by Jepson and Booth, and Ledger again.

Ilkeston began the second half strongly. Ledger twice fired wide and then had a shot saved. But Coalville gradually came back into it and following a missed chance by Tooley they scored the opening goal in the 65th minute. Nairn’s clever square pass released Wright who made no mistake with his shot. Town levelled on 76 minutes and it was ironically due to a Parsons error. He failed to hold on to Ward’s corner and Ledger was on hand to crash the ball home. Ilkeston had chances to seal the match in normal time when Ward shot straight at Parsons as Jepson stood unmarked, and Parsons saved Ken Faulconbridge’s clever back heel late on.

Extra time had only been going for four minutes when Ilkeston took the lead from the penalty spot after a handball. Parsons got his hand to George Darwin’s penalty but couldn’t keep it out. However, Coalville equalised in the 103rd minute. Tooley beat Ted Attwood and his cross was turned in by Nairn. Ilkeston got their noses in front again in the 109th minute when Jepson played Ward in and he coolly steered the ball past Parsons. They finally made certain of the win three minutes from time when Ledger’s corner was headed on by Faulconbridge to Jepson who showed his predatory instinct by scoring.

OFF FORM ILKESTON CLAIM VITAL VICTORY
7TH MARCH 1953
RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston won despite missing a penalty yet they had not played so poorly all season. It was a dreadful game and Retford paid the price for missing several clear cut chances. Ilkeston had the misfortune of picking up early injuries but all three were the result of accidents and none of them were serious. Ken Ledger had his hand trod on, Jackie Ward received a blow to the eye, and John Commander was winded by team mate Les Smith’s clearance. However, Ken Faulconbridge was the victim of several illegal Retford challenges. Ilkeston had the better of the opening exchanges. Alwyn Booth shot over when through on goal and Faulconbridge had a shot cleared off the line by Talbot. In between Retford’s Wharton and Guest shot harmlessly over. With Retford gaining in confidence Randall shot high over, Wharton miskicked in front of an empty net and Kirk headed just wide. However it was Ilkeston who got the game’s only goal when Booth scored following a scramble in the 37th minute.

A poor clearance by George Darwin early in the second half found Randall but he shot well wide. Booth tested Retford ‘keeper Skelton with a shot that required a smart save but the home side continued to pose the bigger threat. Kirk, clean through, took too long to get in a shot with the goal at his mercy and Ted Attwood was able to make a saving tackle. Wharton tried his luck from 20 yards but the ball flew over as Retford were unable to get the equaliser. Town had a great chance to put the game out of Retford’s reach but Darwin’s penalty, awarded for handball, was saved by Skelton. Ledger then had a shot saved before Retford missed another golden chance when Kirk missed an open goal. With time running out Barrie Jepson went on a long run and his final shot was only half stopped by Skelton but he recovered in time to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

LACKLUSTRE TOWN ALMOST CAUGHT OUT
14TH MARCH 1953
RETFORD TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston claimed another valuable win but their performance could best be described as apathetic. The low standard of football, made worse by the poor uneven pitch, meant that Ilkeston looked certain winners when they went two up before half time. However, they were so lifeless after the break that Retford could easily have stolen a point. Ilkeston began the game looking like title challengers as Jackie Ward’s lob almost caught out Hopkins and Alwyn Booth headed just wide. The best efforts Retford could muster during the opening stages were two Coe shots that both went hopelessly wide. Ilkeston took the lead on 23 minutes when following a corner the ball stuck between Hewgill’s feet and Ken Faulconbridge pounced to force the ball home. Barrie Jepson had a flying header tipped over by Hawkins and Ward’s long range shot flew inches wide as Ilkeston looked comfortable. Coe was the culprit again as Retford missed a great opportunity when he shot wide of an empty net but Ilkeston continued to look the more dangerous. Horace Hackland shot just wide before the second goal came two minutes before half time. Jackie Ward’s corner was headed back by Faulconbridge and Jepson nodded the ball in.

Ilkeston’s play deteriorated rapidly after the break and they became rattled as Retford put them under pressure. Beech shot wide under pressure and although Hackland shot high over at the other end it was only a temporary respite. When George Darwin’s miskick let in Beech Town were grateful when Joe Sharman made a diving save. Retford finally scored three minutes from time when Cox beat Les Smith and put Briggs through. Beech really should have equalised in the final minute but he wasted the opportunity by firing over from six yards.

ILKESTON ROMP HOME IN ONE SIDED ENCOUNTER
21ST MARCH 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 4 RETFORD TOWN 0
Ilkeston produced a much improved and relaxed display to make it eight successive wins. Remarkably, Joe Sharman only touched the ball twice in the whole game even though Ilkeston played with plenty in reserve. Ilkeston immediately seized control of the game and Retford had goalkeeper Hawkins to thank for keeping the score down. He knew little about Jackie Ward’s early header that struck him but he made more conventional saves from a 15 yard shot by Ken Faulconbridge and a rising shot by Ken Ledger. Town took the lead on 16 minutes when, following Ward’s corner and a melee in the goalmouth, Alwyn Booth shot high into the net off the post. Hawkins made a fine fingertip save from Booth’s rasping shot and a Ward header was cleared off the line by Hewgill before Town got the second in the 39th minute. Faulconbridge’s overhit pass was somehow kept in play by Barrie Jepson and he did brilliantly to then screw the ball over Hawkins and into the net from the tightest of angles, despite Hurd’s valiant attempt to clear off the line. Retford suffered a further setback before half time when Lewis fractured his foot in a collision with Faulconbridge.

Immediately after the restart Booth shot against the underside of the bar but Ilkeston managed to grab the third on 46 minutes. Ward’s corner was cleared off the line by Browse but straight to Ledger who cracked the ball home. Hawkins was at his best soon after when he dived full length to keep out Faulconbridge’s shot from the edge of the box. Still Ilkeston piled forward. Booth’s shot was deflected narrowly wide by Jepson, Booth shot against the bar again, and then from the rebound Ledger smashed the ball in but the goal was disallowed because Faulconbridge had drifted offside. However they scored a fourth on the hour when Booth found Jepson who evaded Hewgill before tapping the ball past Hawkins. The final 30 minutes were a non event as Town relaxed and Retford were too dispirited to mount a challenge.

TOWN SLIP OUT OF CUP
28TH MARCH 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 1 GRESLEY ROVERS 4 (LEAGUE CUP SEMI-FINAL)
Ilkeston’s hopes of reaching the League Cup slipped away on the skiddy surface and it was Gresley who left singing in the rain. After Ken Faulconbridge went on a spectacular run from half way that ended with Simnett making a good save Gresley looked the more snappy and dangerous and they deservedly went in front on 16 minutes. Hallam and future Town star Ken Johnson linked well and Bayles finished the move with a stooping header. Town tried to find a way back but Jackie Ward shot straight at Simnett and John Commander sent the ball narrowly wide. Gresley continued to play with effectiveness, however, and they doubled their lead in the 22nd minute. Charlie Nicklin (ex Ilkeston) and Johnson engineered a fine move that ended with the former directing the ball out of Joe Sharman’s reach. Five minutes later Sharman turned Tapping’s shot away for a corner but the respite was brief for Town. Allen swung the ball over and Bayles scored his second with a close range header. Town needed something quickly if they were going to salvage anything but a mixture of bad luck and poor finishing prevented them from scoring before the break. Firstly Barrie Jepson had a headed goal disallowed for offside, then Simnett saved a terrific shot from Ken Ledger and then, following Wood’s handball, Simnett saved George Darwin’s 40th minute penalty.

Ilkeston continued to attack after the break and Ledger’s lob was only just over but Gresley killed the game off in the 51st minute. Nicklin’s shot was parried by Sharman and Allen was placed to score from the rebound. Gresley almost went further ahead when Bayles’ angled shot hit the post but with the game safe they relaxed in the latter stages. Ward went through for Ilkeston but he sliced his final shot wide. However, Town did score a consolation goal in the last minute when Ledger scored from the penalty spot.

WARD THE HERO AS TOWN LIFT SENIOR CUP
3RD APRIL 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 4 BELPER TOWN 2 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP FINAL @ DERBY)
Jackie Ward’s hat-trick was the decisive factor in a match that Belper Town otherwise gave as good as they got. Ilkeston were far from convincing in front of a huge crowd of 9974 and in the early minutes they looked edgy. Joe Sharman failed to hold Rawson’s free kick but somehow Town scrambled the ball clear. Horace Hackland then tested former Town ‘keeper Dick Pickering, who also appeared jittery, with a 25 yard shot but he was equal to it. Bad luck struck Belper in the 11th minute when Veacock’s collision with Ken Faulconbridge resulted in a facial injury and he had to leave the pitch for the remainder of the half. Yet it was Belper who took the lead a minute later when, with Town’s defence all over the place, Les Smith could only slice the ball into the air and Harrison nodded home. Both sides then fought an even battle. Faulcobridge’s overhead kick flew wide before ex Ilkeston winger Jackie Brough’s low shot forced Sharman into a save. Another former Ilkeston player Peter Howe then cleared John Commander’s shot from distance off the line as Ilkeston gradually stepped up the pressure. Ken Ledger tricked his way past yet another ex Town man Phil Bibby before shooting into the side net before they finally equalised on 26 minutes. Ward took full advantage after being presented with a chance by Barrie Jepson. Ten man Belper failed to lie down, however, and six minutes later they were back in front when Slack dispossessed Syd Burrows and crossed to the unmarked Brough who was left with a simple finish. Ilkeston drew level again in the 36th minute. Faulconbridge burst forward before slipping the ball to Jepson. His shot was parried by Pickering but Faulconbridge, following up, had the presence of mind to neatly cross to Ward who scored with a header.

Ilkeston began the second half strongly and Pickering made a couple of good saves, firstly from Ledger’s low shot and even better one from Horace Hackland’s shot. In between Ledger’s tremendous strike flew inches wide. Yet it was Belper who should have gone in front when Harrison opted to try and pick out the returned Veacock when surely the better option would have been to shoot. Another Belper almost cost them a goal when the fifth former Ilkeston player in their ranks, Derek Cleveley, allowed Faulconbridge to get the better of him but the shot flew wide of the target. However, Ilkeston went ahead for the first time on 63 minutes. Jepson’s header brought a superb save from Pickering but Alwyn Booth netted the rebound. The killer fourth, and Ward’s hat-trick goal, came when he raced in to meet Ledger’s cross after the winger had gone on an excellent run down the right. Belper fought bravely on and took the game to Ilkeston during the final stages. Harrison was narrowly over with an effort and Sharman was kept busy as the ball repeatedly was pumped into the box but the final chance of the game came Ilkeston’s way. Faulconbridge’s shot was deflected wide during the final minutes. Ilkeston thus won the Derbyshire Senior Cup for the second time.

DULL DERBY BUT ANOTHER TWO POINTS
4TH APRIL 1953
LONG EATON TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 3
This was a game of few chances but Ilkeston made the most of the few that came their way. Long Eaton began in lively fashion and could have scored but Poxon’s shot was blocked accidentally by team mate Butler. Ilkeston’s first chance fell to Ken Faulconbridge and he hooked the ball wide. They did score, however, on 18 minutes when Ken Ledger broke down the right and his knee high centre was converted by Alwyn Booth past Scotchbrook. The home side came close to an equaliser when Astill’s 20 yard drive struck the angle of the woodwork although Ilkeston almost doubled their lead before half time when Booth’s shot was deflected just off target by Eddie Rogers who joined Ilkeston a year later.

Ilkeston coasted after the break but still needed the cushion another goal would bring. Faulconbridge twice went close before he crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar in the 65th minute. A minute later it was three when Ledger’s shot was blocked by Scotchbrook’s foot and the winger nipped in to score with a follow up shot. Faulconbridge had a goal disallowed before Long Eaton’s bizarre consolation five minutes from time. In a goalmouth scramble Syd Burrows blocked the ball on the line and John Commander, attempting to clear, could only smash the ball against the post and in.

SEVEN UP AS WARD HEADS FOR GLORY
6TH APRIL 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 7 LONG EATON TOWN 1
Ilkeston recovered from the shock of falling behind and Jackie Ward’s hat-trick of headers kept them on course for retaining the title. Gale’s volley through a crowd of players put Long Eaton ahead in the 4th minute but Ilkeston didn’t look back once Ward equalised from Ralph Evans’ cross on 23 minutes. Long Eaton’s cause wasn’t helped when Tucker was carried off in a dazed state following a collision with Evans just before half time.

Town destroyed Long Eaton’s resistance after the break. Evans again supplied the cross for Ward’s second on 57 minutes whilst Ledger provided the ammunition for Ward to complete his hat-trick a minute later. Ilkeston’s fourth arrived in the 64th minute when Ward miscontrolled Alwyn Booth’s cross before Ken Faulconbridge scrambled the ball in. Faulconbridge got his second from a header ten minutes later. Booth scored the sixth five minutes from time and then, in the 87th minute, Faulconbridge was brought down by Bennett and Ken Ledger stuck away the penalty.

NAILERS NAILED BY CLASSY ILKESTON
7TH APRIL 1953
BELPER TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston would have won by a bigger margin but for the sterling effort by two former players, Alan Cleveley and goalkeeper Dick Pickering. As it was they still made it four wins in four days with a display of slick, skilful football. Ilkeston scored just the once during the first half when Ken Faulconbridge crashed home from close range following Jackie Ward’s nod down.

Two goals in a minute by Ken Ledger during the second half settled the issue. Cleveley’s handball led to Ledger scoring from the spot and then he raced onto Ward’s through pass to make it three.

BOGEY TEAM BEATEN AT LAST
11TH APRIL 1953
LINBY COLLIERY 1 ILKESTON TOWN 2
It looked as if it was going to be a familiar story for the 1000 Ilkeston fans who made the journey when Linby took the lead inside the first minute. John Commander was unable to clear a corner and Thomas fired the home team, unbeaten in 10 previous meetings, ahead. Town levelled the scores in the 19th minute when Barrie Jepson took the ball off Dickins and crossed for Jackie Ward to score from close range. Dulson missed a good chance to put Linby back in front when he sliced wide with only Joe Sharman to beat. Ilkeston pressure before half time saw an Alwyn Booth effort bring a smart save from Pugh who also saved another effort from Jepson.

Ken Ledger’s first time shot flew just over but Ilkeston did not need to wait long before grabbing the 51st minute winner. Ledger burst past Dickins and his cross was met by Jepson’s head. Town spent much of the remainder of the game on the defensive but they had few alarms apart from when Sharman allowed a Wardle shot to squirm from his grasp. Fortunately he reacted quickly enough to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

FAULCONBRIDGE NOT SO POPULAR AT BRUSH
15TH APRIL 1953
BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Barrie Jepson equalled Horace Chaplin’s record of 55 goals in a season but the main talking point was about Ken Faulconbridge’s contribution to the game. He gave Town the lead with an early header but it was a particularly unpleasant foul in the 27th minute that led to his booking and the departure of Harvey with a severe leg injury that made the news. This came just a minute after the Brush goalkeeper Lilley had limped off with a muscle injury. Nine men Brush, with a stand in ‘keeper in Hodges, stood little chance and salt was rubbed further in the wound when Faulconbridge scored again with a superb header.

Hodges proved to be a worthy standby and he repeatedly denied Ilkeston and Ken Ledger in particular. However, there was little he could do when Jepson burst through the middle and the ball was planted past him in style.

ONE STEP CLOSER
17TH APRIL 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 4 RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 1
The late arrival of the visitors that caused the match to kick off after the scheduled time did not affect Ilkeston. With the game reduced to 40 minutes each way Town got in early. They took the lead in the 2nd minute shortly after Barrie Jepson put the ball just over the bar. He made no mistake with his next opportunity as he headed into the net after Skelton misjudged Jackie Ward’s corner. Ward then fired in a fierce shot but Skelton made amends with his save. Yet Ilkeston looked a bit nervy at the back as well and found Guest a real handful. Joe Sharman made a decent save from him and then the ‘keeper was forced to save bravely at his feet. However, Guest’s persistence paid off in the 28th minute when he headed in the equaliser from a free kick.

Ilkeston stepped up a gear after half time. Horace Hackland fired one opportunity well wide but they kept Skelton busy. Retford also had to thank when Needham robbed Jepson as he looked set to score. Town eventually went back in front on 59 minutes when Ward’s corner was met by Jepson who scored with a splendid header. Ken Faulconbridge’s flying header was then saved by Skelton before an unfortunate collision between George Darwin and Guest led to the pair being taken to hospital. Darwin required 11 stitches to repair his head wound and he missed the next four games. Ward was the provider again on 72 minutes when his corner was headed home in the 72nd minute. A minute from time the roles were reversed when Evans’ perfect pass was crashed home by Ward.

UNIMPRESSIVE TOWN CLAIM THE POINTS
18TH APRIL 1953
MATLOCK TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston recorded their eighth successive win compiled over a gruelling 15 day period. Not surprisingly they showed signs of fatigue and at times they rode their luck but they still had enough about them to pick up the points. Matlock had the better of a poor first half. Joe Sharman saved Quinn’s stinging shot, Riley hit the post and Bonsall, clean through, fired over the top as the home team pressurised Ilkeston. Town’s only effort of note during the first half was Jackie Ward’s chest high shot that was well saved.

Ilkeston went in front on 57 minutes. Ted Attwood and Horace Hackland linked well before the former sent over a fine centre that was headed in by Barrie Jepson. Ilkeston began to look more comfortable from that point although they did have a couple of scares. Les Smith appeared to bring down Bonsall but the referee decided that it was an accident and no penalty was awarded. Then Sargeson wasted a golden opportunity when he sliced wide of an open goal. Thankfully Ilkeston made the game safe in the 70th minute when Jepson reached the by line and crossed to Ward who crashed the ball in from 10 yards.

COALVILLE DELIVER BLOW TO TITLE HOPES
22ND APRIL 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 1 COALVILLE TOWN 2
Ilkeston fell to their first home defeat in the Central Alliance for six months against an energetic, persistent Coalville team who refused to stick to the script. Everything seemed to be going to plan when Ilkeston took an early lead. Ken Ledger and Ken Faulconbridge worked a lovely move that ended with Jackie Ward side footing in from a narrow angle. But gradually Coalville came more into the game and after half time, with Ilkeston looking shaky at the back, it seemed to be only a matter of time before the visitors struck back. Two goals midway through the second half, the first from Brown, changed the game. Coalville’s second came as the direct result of a terrible throw by Joe Sharman who only succeeded in picking out a visiting forward. Tooley was left with a simple chance. To be fair to Ilkeston they came back strongly during the last 15 minutes but Coalville defended well and deserved their victory.

NERVY TOWN WIN AS FANS FEEL THE TENSION
24TH APRIL 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 3 BELPER TOWN 1
Ilkeston were full of nerves and tired bodies but they finally overcame a Belper side that equalised during the second half. The home supporters, feeling the tension every bit as much, began to barrack the players until the team scored twice in five minutes with goals out of character from the rest of the performance. Firstly Ken Ledger’s corner was caught beautifully by Barrie Jepson to put Ilkeston back in front and then Ken Faulconbridge slipped the ball through to Ledger who, despite slipping, was able to find Jackie Ward who made no mistake. Finally both the players and the supporters were able to relax.

The first half lacked incident yet Ilkeston took the lead in the 44th minute when Bob Baker’s header beat former Ilkeston ‘keeper Dick Pickering who should have kept the ball out but failed.

Belper levelled early in the second half when Veacock passed to Rawson and he crossed to the unmarked former Ilkeston winger Jackie Brough who scored with a header. With the tension mounting Jepson was faced with an empty net but his fatal hesitation allowed Pickering to recover and make the save. Then Faulconbridge hit the bar and the slight deflection from the rebound was sufficient for Ward to misdirect his header over the top. Then came the breakthrough and the relief was tangible.

BERESFORD FOUR HELPS CRESWELL KEEP UP THE PRESSURE
25TH APRIL 1953
CRESWELL COLLIERY 4 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Creswell kept their hopes of overhauling Ilkeston alive but Town put up a great fight and showed tremendous character during the final stages. As it was Ilkeston left with nothing but still remained favourites to win the Central Alliance. Creswell led at half time with a 24th minute goal when Beresford’s persistence following Hill’s long clearance enabled him to force the ball past Joe Sharman.

The second half was packed with incident. Ilkeston equalised when Barrie Jepson’s misdirected cross came back off the bar and Jackie Ward headed in. Suddenly Town found themselves in front when Ken Ledger, on his 150th appearance, crossed across the face of goal, Ward lobbed the ball back into the middle and Jepson finished with a beautiful header. However, Creswell were far from done and in a disastrous ten minutes for Ilkeston the home side scored three times. Lee evaded Cliff Hancock before setting up Beresford for a fine header. Sharman was to blame for Beresford’s hat-trick goal when he tamely pushed out Lee’s cross straight onto his head. The home side gained some breathing space when Beresford grabbed his fourth soon after but Ilkeston refused to buckle. Three minutes from time Geoff Parkin found Jepson and his cross was met by a superb Ledger header. The final minutes were full of drama as Town went all out for an equaliser but they ran out of time.

ILKESTON HOLD OUT FOR VITAL POINT
27TH APRIL 1953
RANSOME & MARLES 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston returned home from Newark with a valuable point but they had to hang on grimly during the final 20 minutes. A splendid double save by Joe Sharman during the closing stages made up for two earlier mistakes that Ransome profited from. The home side played with pace on a wet, greasy surface and the pitch caused problems for home ‘keeper Footit as well as Sharman. Ilkeston took the lead through Ken Faulconbridge’s 30 yard shot that eluded Footit who dived too soon and allowed the ball to bounce over him. Ransome’s equaliser came when Sharman failed to cut out Shackleton’s low centre and Longworth bundled the ball in. A similar cross played with pace eluded Sharman for Ransome’s second, Shackleton this time being the beneficiary. Ilkeston equalised before half time when Ken Ledger’s low cross was laid off by Barrie Jepson to Horace Hackland who scored with an emphatic finish.

Ilkeston dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half before surviving the home team’s late siege.

CHAMPIONS AGAIN
28TH APRIL 1953
BENTINCK WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Town entered the game knowing that two points from the last three matches would be enough to retain the Central Alliance championship. They did what was necessary in an otherwise drab game played in a strong wind. Town took the lead on 18 minutes through a Ken Ledger penalty awarded for handball. This was Ilkeston’s 1000th goal since their formation. Their joy was shortlived as Bentinck equalised direct from a Frith corner five minutes later. Undeterred Ilkeston went back in front in the 30th minute when Ledger’s superb cross was met by a splendid Jackie Ward header.

It was not until the game entered the final stages that Ilkeston made certain of the victory they craved. On 73 minutes Ken Faulconbridge’s clever pass was finished by Horace Hackland and three minutes later Barrie Jepson netted the fourth from close range. Five minutes from time Scrimshaw blasted in a 30 yard shot into the roof of the net but by then Town were already home and dry.

PLUCK BUT NO LUCK
1ST MAY 1953
GRESLEY ROVERS 5 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Town rested most of their exhausted stars and fielded seven reserves including three debutants. The first half ended goalless with Ilkeston’s Maurice Barnes coming closest to scoring when he shot wide from close range.

Ilkeston’s inexperienced team fought bravely during the second half but the longer the half went on the more exposed they became by Gresley’s forwards. Nevertheless the final score flattered the home side with three goals coming in the last five minutes through Bill Passmore (2) and Ken Johnson, both of whom later became Ilkeston players. They had taken the lead in the 55th minute when Allen’s shot was sliced by Albert Ball into his own net. Johnson got the first of his two goals eleven minutes later.

JEPSON SETS RECORD AS TOWN FINISH ON HIGH NOTE
2ND MAY 1953
ILKESTON TOWN 2 LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 0
Barrie Jepson scored twice to set a club record of 63 goals in a season, scored his 100th career goal and helped Ilkeston finish the season on a high note. Town won easily and but for the excellent goalkeeping by Brown and Ken Ledger’s penalty that hit the post during the second half the winning margin would have been much greater. Ilkeston had to wait until the 30th minute before taking the lead. Ledger’s centre was met by Jepson who scored with a low shot from a narrow angle.

Town doubled their lead on 48 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge touched on Jackie Ward’s cross and Jepson did the rest. Thompson’s handball led to the missed penalty and Ledger cursed his luck later in the game when he struck the woodwork again.