09 21





1954/55 CENTRAL ALLIANCE FIRST DIVISION FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts
1 ILKESTON TOWN 36 29 4 3 137 32 62
2 Notts County 'A' 36 25 4 7 119 52 54
3 Creswell Colliery 35 23 6 6 120 57 52
4 Ransome & Marles 36 22 2 12 96 59 46
5 Belper Town 36 20 5 11 90 50 45
6 Sutton Town 36 20 4 12 92 79 44
7 South Normanton Miners Welfare 36 15 8 13 73 74 38
8 Linby Colliery 34 16 3 15 61 66 35
9 Nottingham Forest 'A' 36 14 6 16 86 88 34
10 Shirebrook Miners Welfare 36 13 7 16 90 95 33
11 Clay Cross Miners Welfare 36 15 3 18 76 94 33
12 Langwith Miners Welfare 36 13 5 18 80 102 31
13 Heanor Town 36 12 6 18 70 98 30
14 Grantham Reserves 35 12 5 18 90 90 29
15 Derby County 'A' 36 10 8 18 71 89 28
16 Brush Sports Reserves 36 10 7 19 91 116 27
17 Matlock Town 36 8 10 18 59 91 26
18 Retford British Ropes 36 9 6 21 54 99 24
19 Long Eaton Town 36 3 3 30 39 163 9

NB. Creswell Colliery, Grantham Reserves and Linby Colliery failed to complete their fixtures.



1954/55 CENTRAL ALLIANCE RESULTS

DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
21 AUG NOTTS COUNTY 'A' W5-0    FAULCONBRIDGE, WARD 3, JOHNSON 
25 AUG  LONG EATON TOWN  W9-1    LEDGER, WARD, BLOUNT, FAULCONBRIDGE, JOHNSON 4, BAKER (PEN) 
28 AUG  SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE  W5-2    LEDGER, WARD 2, BAKER (PEN), BLOUNT 
08 SEP Shirebrook Miners Welfare   W5-1    BLOUNT 2, WARD, FAULCONBRIDGE, JOHNSON 
11 SEP  Ransome & Marles  D2-2    LEDGER, BUCK 
18 SEP  South Normanton Miners Welfare  L1-2    FAULCONBRIDGE 
16 OCT  Creswell Colliery  D2-2    FAULCONBRIDGE, BLOUNT 
30 OCT  Linby Colliery  W3-0    WARD 2, DISNEY 
13 NOV  MATLOCK TOWN  W6-3    DISNEY 2, BLOUNT 2, PASSMORE 2 
20 NOV  Sutton Town  W3-0    PASSMORE, WARD 2 
27 NOV  Long Eaton Town  W6-0    PASSMORE, LEDGER, WARD, FAULCONBRIDGE 2, BLOUNT 
11 DEC  LINBY COLLIERY  W6-2    DISNEY 2, WARD, LEDGER, BLOUNT, FAULCONBRIDGE 
18 DEC  Notts County 'A'  W2-1    LEDGER, FAULCONBRIDGE 
25 DEC  Heanor Town  W4-2    JOHNSON, DISNEY, WARD, HACKLAND (PEN) 
26 DEC  HEANOR TOWN  W11-1    FAULCONBRIDGE 3, BAKER 3 (2PENS), PASSMORE 3, JOHNSON, LEDGER 
29 JAN  RETFORD BRITISH ROPES  W10-0    FAULCONBRIDGE 4, PASSMORE 3, JOHNSON 3 
05 FEB Retford British Ropes  W7-3    BLOUNT 3, FAULCONBRIDGE, JOHNSON, HACKLAND (PEN), TALBOT (OG) 
19 FEB NOTTINGHAM FOREST 'A'  W2-0  800  PASSMORE, WARD 
05 MAR  RANSOME & MARLES  W3-1    BLOUNT, FAULCONBRIDGE, HACKLAND (PEN) 
19 MAR  Grantham Reserves  W2-1    LEDGER, FAULCONBRIDGE 
26 MAR  Nottingham Forest 'A'  W4-2    BANHAM (OG), JOHNSON 2, FAULCONBRIDGE 
02 APR  Derby County 'A'  W4-1    BLOUNT, HACKLAND, BREEDON, LEDGER 
08 APR  CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE  L0-1     
09 APR  GRANTHAM RESERVES  W4-1    LEDGER, WARD, BLOUNT, FAULCONBRIDGE 
11 APR  Belper Town  W1-0    WARD 
12 APR  Langwith Miners Welfare  W1-0    WARD 
16 APR  Matlock Town  W2-0    WARD, BLOUNT 
18 APR  SUTTON TOWN  W2-1    WARD, BLOUNT 
21 APR  Clay Cross Miners Welfare  W4-0    BLOUNT 2, WARD, FAULCONBRIDGE 
23 APR  BELPER TOWN  W4-0    BLOUNT, LEDGER, HACKLAND (PEN), WARD 
25 APR  CRESWELL COLLIERY  D0-0     
27 APR  Brush Sports Reserves  L0-1     
30 APR  LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE  W8-0    JOHNSON 4, WARD 3, BLOUNT 
02 MAY  SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE  W5-0    BLOUNT, JOHNSON, WARD, SHARMAN (PEN), LEDGER 
04 MAY  DERBY COUNTY 'A'  D1-1    LEDGER 
07 MAY  BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES  W3-0    HACKLAND (PEN), DISNEY 2 



1954/55 FA CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1QR 25 SEP Boots Athletic W6-0 LEDGER, WARD 4, FAULCONBRIDGE
2QR 09 OCT South Normanton Miners Welfare W5-1 2503 FAULCONBRIDGE 3, WARD, BLOUNT
3QR 23 OCT Gresley Rovers D2-2 JOHNSON, HACKLAND (PEN)
3QRrep 27 OCT GRESLEY ROVERS W5-4aet WARD 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, BLOUNT 2
4QR 06 NOV KETTERING TOWN D1-1 7126 BLOUNT
4QRrep 11 NOV Kettering Town L2-4 HACKLAND, FAULCONBRIDGE

NB. The away tie against Boots Athletic on 25 Sep was switched to Ilkeston.



1954/55 DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP RESULT

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT SCORERS
2R 04 DEC SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE L2-3 JOHNSON 2



1954/55 CENTRAL ALLIANCE LEAGUE CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1R 04 SEP Sutton Town W4-0 JOHNSON, LEDGER, WARD 2
QF 01 JAN Belper Town D1-1 FAULCONBRIDGE
QFrep 08 JAN BELPER TOWN W2-0 3000 JOHNSON, FAULCONBRIDGE
SF 12 MAR South Normanton Miners Welfare L1-4 BLOUNT

COUNTY CRUSHED
21ST AUGUST 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 5 NOTTS COUNTY ‘A’ 0
Freak weather conditions provided the backdrop to a perfect start to the season for Ilkeston. Thunder, lightning, snow and hail came and went but Notts were unable to weather the storm. The visitors had as much of the ball as Ilkeston but they couldn’t break down Town’s resolute defence whereas the home side was dangerous in attack throughout. Ken Johnson tested Notts’ ‘keeper Smith with a rising shot early on but Ilkeston only had to wait until the 9th minute before taking the lead. Ken Faulconbridge steered the ball home through a group of players following a corner. On 20 minutes Town doubled their advantage when Terry Blount beat Brunt and whipped over a cross for Jackie Ward to thump into the net. Ward went inches wide soon after before Notts created their first opportunity but Page shot tamely at Joe Sharman. Sharman had to produce a better save in turning Lister’s shot away for a corner.

JOHNSON JOY
25TH AUGUST 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 9 LONG EATON TOWN 1
Long Eaton were left bewildered and battered by a rampant Ilkeston side that scored 4 times in the opening 12 minutes. Ilkeston, with John Commander making his 100th appearance, took the lead after just 4 minutes when Ken Ledger raced on to Dave Baker’s defence splitting pass. Jackie Ward scored the second when he followed up after his first two shots were blocked. Ilkeston went three up in the 11th minute when Ward sent Terry Blount clear down the left and he cracked home superbly from a narrow angle. Incredibly they scored again a minute later with a superb move between Ken Ledger and Ken Faulconbridge ended with the latter scoring with a cool header. Long Eaton reduced the arrears when a mistake between Les Smith and George Darwin allowed Phillips to nip in and score. Ilkeston slowed down before the break before launching into a fresh onslaught. They took full advantage of Long Eaton’s misfortune when Moss left the field injured just before half time to leave the visitors with ten men.

A minute after half time Ken Johnson dribbled along the by line and caught out goalkeeper Taylor who was expecting a cross by firing in from a tight angle. He scored again soon after when he turned Blount’s cross into the net with his left foot. Johnson completed an eight minute hat-trick when he fired a terrific shot into the roof of the net. Ilkeston made it eight with a fourth goal in a ten minute spell, Baker scoring from the spot after Ward had been fouled. The scoring was completed on 72 minutes by Johnson when he took advantage of Taylor’s misplaced clearance by shooting into the unguarded net from 35 yards.

TOWN ON TOP
28TH AUGUST 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 5 SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 2
Ilkeston’s fine start to the season, as bright as the late summer sun, continued although the second half was disappointing due to a large number of petty fouls. In the end it was a comfortable victory and it left Town as early leaders but South Normanton began the better. Poxon’s speculative lob gave Joe Sharman an anxious moment whilst at the other end Ken Johnson’s shot was well blocked by Brierton. The visitors deservedly went ahead in the 13th minute with a terrific 30 yard free kick by England. The setback brought Ilkeston to life and after Jackie Ward went close they equalised on 26 minutes. Ken Faulconbridge cleverly opened up the defence and then passed to Ken Ledger who celebrated his 200th appearance with a firm low drive. Three minutes later Town went ahead, Ward nodding in Ledger’s high cross. They then scored a third on the stroke of half time when Ward headed in his 100th goal after John Commander pumped the ball into the box.

South Normanton came out blazing after the break. Poxon shot straight at Sharman, and then Raven twice missed good openings. First he miskicked when just three yards out and then he missed the target from close range. Faulconbridge’s overhead kick was tipped over by Hickman but the visitors continued to attack and Berry fired wide when well placed. Ilkeston punished them with a fourth goal on 66 minutes, Dave Baker making no mistake with a penalty after Ward was fouled. South Normanton scored their second three minutes later through Berry who converted a Walters free kick. Ilkeston should have added another when Ward was fouled again but this time Baker blazed the penalty over. They still looked likely to add to their score, however, and after Terry Blount fired against the post following a lovely run the fifth goal came seven minutes from time. Ward went on a good run before sending over a perfect cross for Blount to finish.

A STROLL AT SUTTON
4TH SEPTEMBER 1954
SUTTON TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4 (LEAGUE CUP 1ST ROUND)
Ilkeston eased to a straightforward win and the result was never in doubt after they survived early Sutton pressure. They went ahead against the run of play on 6 minutes when Terry Blount broke down the left. His cross caused confusion in the home defence and Ken Johnson nipped in to score. When Sutton attacked Ilkeston were quick to get their challenges in and when Praksi did manage to get in a shot Joe Sharman expertly turned it away. Ilkeston’s second duly arrived in the 40th minute when John Commander fed Ken Ledger in plenty of space and although Anderson got his hand to the low shot he couldn’t keep it out.

Sutton made a brave rally after the break and Fleming missed three reasonable openings including a header that fizzed inches over although Ilkeston almost scored during this spell when Ken Faulconbridge went on a dazzling run before firing just off target. Ilkeston’s third came on the hour but there appeared to be little danger when Packard intercepted Commander’s cross. However, he made a grave error in trying to pass back and Jackie Ward was presented with the easiest of chances. A minute later Sutton were handed a lifeline when Dave Baker fouled Robinson but Fleming’s penalty was superbly saved by Sharman. It was only a matter of time before Ilkeston scored again. Blount’s shot glanced off the bar before they scored a lovely goal four minutes from time. Baker sent Ledger away down the right before racing on to the return pass and his cross was laid on a plate by Ken Johnson for Ward to score.

SHARMAN HEROICS EARN UNLIKELY VICTORY
8TH SEPTEMBER 1954
SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 1 ILKESTON TOWN 5
The final score did not reflect the game as Ilkeston were second best for long periods and it was only during the last 15 minutes that they took control. They had Joe Sharman to thank, his inspired goalkeeping kept them in the game. Ilkeston could have gone ahead early in the game when Ken Johnson fired over from point blank range and then Kimberley missed in similar style at the other end. When Sharman was beaten by Longmate’s flick Dave Baker was on hand to clear off the line. Ilkeston undeservedly took the lead in the 40th minute when Johnson found Terry Blount whose harmless looking shot went straight through Hunt’s legs.

Shirebrook equalised six minutes after half time through Wilson during a goalmouth scramble. The home side looked likely to go on and win but they couldn’t find a way past Sharman. They were stunned on 75 minutes when Blount scrambled home his second and the goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of them. A minute later Town made it three. Ken Faulconbridge’s astute pass found Jackie Ward who drove high into the net. Remarkably Town scored again in the 80th minute when Ken Ledger sent Faulconbridge clear to crack home from 15 yards. Ilkeston completed the scoring in the last minute when a lovely move calved open the Shirebrook defence and Johnson took full advantage.

FAIR RESULT AT RANSOME
11TH SEPTEMBER 1954
RANSOME & MARLES 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Neither side deserved to lose this ding dong battle that was full of incident. Ilkeston started strongly with Jackie Ward bringing Woodward to his knees and then Ken Ledger had a shot scrambled away by the ‘keeper at the second attempt. When the home side finally got going they took the lead in the 26th minute after Bombroffe had blazed over the bar. Browne scored with a deft flick past Joe Sharman from close range. They almost scored again when Sharman couldn’t hold an Ernie Williamson (later an Ilkeston player) shot but the outstanding John Commander was on hand to clear off the line. Then the one armed Hewgill’s header brought a full length save from Sharman who sustained a painful injury during Ransome’s prolonged spell of pressure. Ilkeston had a great chance to equalise five minutes before half time when Davies handled but Dave Baker’s weak penalty was easily saved by Woodward.

Town’s equaliser came in the 47th minute when Ledger outpaced the home defence in latching onto Ward’s through ball and shot decisively past Woodward. It was Ilkeston’s turn to dominate and Roy Buck had a chance to score but he delayed his shot and Molyneaux was able to block. Terry Blount had a shooting opportunity but his effort lacked power. However, Ilkeston finally took the lead on 72 minutes. George Darwin, taking a goal kick on behalf of the injured Sharman, found Baker whose long ball put Blount in the clear. His shot was blocked by Woodward and Buck was on hand to fire in off the post. Ransome fought back in search off the equaliser and it came seven minutes later through a well placed Williamson penalty after Les Smith handled. Williamson almost scored again with a shot that Sharman did well to save and, with time running out, the unlikely figure of Ledger came to Ilkeston’s rescue when his timely intervention deprived Bombroffe.

ILKESTON TO BLAME FOR FIRST DEFEAT
18TH SEPTEMBER 1954
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston fell to their first defeat of the season as they were guilty of trying to walk the ball into the net. They dominated possession for long periods and forced plenty of corners but were vulnerable to South Normanton’s counter attacks. The match began at a cracking pace and it needed a superb clearance from Sargeson to deny Terry Blount. Blount then sent over a corner that was headed off the line by the same player. However it was South Normanton who took the lead on 12 minutes. Former Town player Eddie Rogers pounced on a long clearance before sending over a cross for Walters to score. Walters missed two further opportunities before half time.

Ilkeston continued to attack without success after half time and were punished in the 65th minute when Les Smith brought down Walters and England scored from the spot. This sparked desperate Ilkeston pressure and goalkeeper Hickman was kept busy. He was finally beaten on 75 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge forced the ball home, and once again in the final minute by Jackie Ward. Unfortunately for Ilkeston the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.

BOOTS TIED IN KNOTS
25TH SEPTEMBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 6 BOOTS ATHLETIC 0 (FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND)
Boots were eventually outclassed after giving Ilkeston a very uncomfortable opening 15 minutes. Joe Sharman’s diving save denied W. Bull, R. Bull hit the bar, Webb shot into the side bet and R. Bull’s 30 yard drive was turned away by Sharman. Ilkeston’s only efforts of note during this period came from Terry Blount who saw a shot skim the bar following a fine run and then had another shot saved by Camidge. Yet they took the lead in the 16th minute. Blount beat the defence and his cross was struck hard and low into the net by Ken Ledger. Ilkeston then took control and scored again in the 33rd minute when Jackie Ward’s shot squirmed through the otherwise outstanding Camidge’s hands.

Les Smith almost scored an incredible goal for Town shortly after the break when his lob from inside his own half bounced off the bar. Ken Faulconbridge, who had previously been unlucky on several occasions, scored the third in the 59th minute. Ward added further goals on 65 and 73 minutes before heading home his fourth following Blount’s 80th minute corner. Ken Johnson had a late effort disallowed for offside.

FURTHER CUP SUCCESS FOR TOWN
9TH OCTOBER 1954
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 1 ILKESTON TOWN 5 (FA CUP SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND)
A crowd of 2503, including more than 500 from Ilkeston, saw Town’s forwards create havoc and give their side a clear cut victory. Ilkeston attacked from the off and Hickman made a good stop from a Ken Faulconbridge shot before turning a Jackie Ward bender onto the bar. He was eventually beaten on 22 minutes by a beautiful Faulconbridge header from Terry Blount’s cross. Ilkeston almost doubled their lead when England came close to slicing into his own net and they duly did in the 38th minute, Jackie Ward heading in a Faulconbridge centre. Town scored a third on the stroke of half time when Blount was presented with an empty net after Hickman had blocked a Ward shot.

South Normanton had a great chance early in the second half but Evans’ fatal hesitation allowed Les Smith to clear. Instead the next goal fell to Ilkeston, on 48 minutes, with a Faulconbridge shot that Hickman ought to have saved. The home side scored a fine consolation four minutes later when Walters, with a fine turn of speed, ran on to crack home from 18 yards. Faulconbridge thought he had scored a fifth only to discover that Ken Ledger had strayed offside but his richly deserved hat-trick came in the 71st minute when he converted Ledger’s centre. A late handball incident presented Ilkeston with a further opportunity only for Ken Johnson to fire wide from the spot.

LEADERS HELD
16TH OCTOBER 1954
CRESWELL COLLIERY 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston returned home from leaders Creswell with a well earned point and but for a late goal they would have won. Played on a greasy surface in a persistent drizzle play ebbed and flowed early on. Goalkeeper Reg Ball (later an Ilkeston player) just recovered in time after fumbling a Ken Ledger shot and then Atkin nicked the ball off Joe Sharman but Les Smith was alive to the danger and cleared. Town gradually took control during the first half and it was against the run of play when Creswell took a 42nd minute lead with a breakaway goal. Messenger broke clear from half way and although Sharman managed to parry his shot Atkin was able to follow up.

Creswell nearly scored soon after half time when Beresford’s effort from a Billy Wheatley (ex Ilkeston) corner went narrowly over but Ilkeston continued to do the bulk of the attacking. Ball saved a Jackie Ward shot with his boot before the match was turned upside down with two Ilkeston goals in five minutes. The equaliser came on the hour with a fine individual goal by Ken Faulconbridge, who despite being forced wide, managed to fire in off the post from an acute angle. The second goal came following a Ken Johnson corner that caused a huge scramble before Terry Blount got the vital touch. The match entered a frantic final quarter with both teams going all out to score and it was Creswell who managed it nine minutes from time. With Ilkeston defenders standing appealing for offside Beresford broke through to shoot past Sharman.

HACKLAND HOLDS NERVE TO EARN REPLAY
23RD OCTOBER 1954
GRESLEY ROVERS 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND)
Both teams felt so aggrieved by the performance of the referee that the FA agreed to provide a different official for the necessary replay as a result of this 2-2 draw. The first half was keen and even whereas the second period was dominated by Town for long spells whilst degenerating into a farce caused by some unusual decisions by the referee. Ilkeston got the draw their overall play deserved thanks to a highly controversial penalty award that infuriated the home side. Ilkeston began well and Ken Faulconbridge, following a great run, was unlucky to see his shot deflected onto the bar. They took the lead in the 15th minute when Jackie Ward’s forward pass found Ken Johnson who fired past Newball to score against his former club. Five minutes later Gresley were level when Haines found Allen in acres of space and his cross was met by a firm Sketchley header. John Commander went close with a rasping 25 yard shot but Gresley should have taken the lead when Allen shot across the face of goal with only Joe Sharman to beat.

Despite almost constant Ilkeston pressure during the second half Gresley went in front on 74 minutes. Boulton picked out the unmarked Allen who fired past the advancing Sharman. The game became littered with fouls as Ilkeston threw everything into attack and the home side defended with equal desperation. Then, in the 83rd minute, Ilkeston were awarded a penalty for reasons unknown. Gresley players surrounded the referee and then kept moving the ball each time Horace Hackland put the ball down on the spot. Then, as Hackland was about to take the penalty, Newball moved from his line to attempt to move the ball again. Somehow Hackland kept his cool and made no mistake.

ILKESTON EDGE THROUGH IN THRILLER
27TH OCTOBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 5 GRESLEY ROVERS 4 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY AFTER EXTRA TIME)
Ilkeston staged a remarkable comeback to deservedly clinch a place in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round but with 30 minutes remaining they were staring defeat in the face. Town were guilty of trying one pass too many whereas Gresley took the chances that came their way in establishing an unlikely 4-1 lead. It was only when it was almost too late that Ilkeston finally became more ruthless in attacking situations. It all began very well for Town when Jackie Ward gave them a 2nd minute lead but Gresley were level eight minutes later when Haines’ snap shot caught Joe Sharman by surprise. Town continued to enjoy the lion’s share and Newball had to save Terry Blount’s shot from point blank range. The goalkeeper came to Gresley’s rescue again by deflecting a Ward shot away from danger. A mistake by Sharman in the 28th minute gifted Gresley the lead when he mishandled Boulton’s shot and Sketchley took full advantage. Haines scored Gresley’s third before half time.

The second half began similarly with Ilkeston pushing forward and Gresley counter attacking dangerously. Sharman caught a Boulton shot but he was beaten again on 53 minutes when Sketchley added a fourth. It was Ward who initiated the comeback with a clever header in the 61st minute. Ken Faulconbridge, from a seemingly impossible angle, scored Town’s third with fifteen minutes remaining and then, with time running out, Terry Blount scored the richly deserved 87th minute equaliser.

Gresley became downhearted and Ilkeston were on top throughout extra time. Ward had a goal disallowed before Horace Hackland saw his penalty tipped over by Newball after Blount had been brought down by McGuire. The winner came from Blount with a minute of the first period remaining and Town comfortably held on to book a place in the next round.

IMPISH ILKESTON LICK LINBY
30TH OCTOBER 1954
LINBY COLLIERY 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Determined and devilish Ilkeston dominated throughout and deservedly came away with the points. They attacked from the outset, Jackie Ward forcing Pugh into a hasty save and then Hunt headed clear a Terry Blount drive. Town had to wait until the 22nd minute before going ahead with a clever goal. Les Disney wrongfooted the Linby defence by playing in Blount and his cross was headed home by Ward who was making his 150th appearance. Linby tried to get back in it and Bill Whaley (ex Ilkeston) and Peck didn’t make the most of outside chances presented to them. Ilkeston went further ahead on 34 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge’s centre was only half cleared to Disney whose first time shot flew in from 20 yards.

Faulconbridge came close to scoring the third but his shot was just off target as the second half continued in a similar vein. Thomas got into a good position when he went past Les Smith although he failed to find the target and Linby’s dwindling hopes disappeared. Pugh saved at Disney’s feet as Town went in search of another and it eventually came in the dying seconds when Ward converted a right wing cross.

ILKESTON RUE MISSED CHANCES
6TH NOVEMBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 1 KETTERING TOWN 1 (FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND)
A bumper 7126 attendance witnessed a typical cup tie in which Ilkeston would have overcome Kettering, fourth in the Southern League, but for some missed chances. However, on the overall balance of play, the draw was the fairest result. The thick mud on the pitch didn’t aid good football but both teams did their best under the conditions. Kettering ‘keeper Pickering twice denied Jackie Ward early in the first half which saw play fluctuate. Lamie looked set to score for the visitors until Dave Baker managed to head clear the shot and then Canning’s free kick skimmed Joe Sharman’s bar. Ward, Ken Faulconbridge and Les Disney all had well struck shots slowed down by the mud as Ilkeston pressed. But it was Kettering who took the lead in the 17th minute. Sharman appeared to have Dixon’s shot covered until John Commander diverted it straight to Hole who made no mistake. Ward had a glorious chance to equalise but his shot stuck in the mud before it could cross the line and Town were unlucky again when Terry Blount rattled the post with a shot. The woodwork then twice came to Ilkeston’s rescue, firstly from a Wyldes shot and then a Dixon shot that dipped late. In between, the outstanding Pickering saved a fierce Ken Ledger shot.

Ilkeston did most of the attacking after half time during which temperatures rose on the pitch. Baker and Wyldes were given a stern warning by the referee after a clash. As Town attacked Ward’s back header was cleared off the line by Tart, Blount shot straight at Pickering from close range and then, when presented with an open goal after Pickering made his only error, Blount took too long to get in a shot and the chance disappeared. When Ward miskicked when clean through it seemed as if Ilkeston were not going to score but they finally got their reward in the 75th minute. Commander pumped the ball into the box and the unmarked Blount 15 yards out fired in off the underside of the bar.

KETTERING CLASS TELLS
11TH NOVEMBER 1954
KETTERING TOWN 4 ILKESTON TOWN 2 (FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY)
Kettering were too strong for Ilkeston and their extra class was evident throughout. Ilkeston fought bravely but never really recovered from going a goal behind after 30 seconds, through Dixon. With Ilkeston’s defence split wide open Cannon added a second. Ilkeston’s first goal had an element of luck about it, Horace Hackland’s cross being carried into the net by the swirling wind. The goal gave Ilkeston hope and they should have had a penalty when Tart handled but the referee was unsighted. Instead the next goal fell to the home side and it was scored by Dixon.

Kettering’s fourth came soon after half time when Wyldes shot beyond Joe Sharman’s reach. Although Ilkeston pulled a goal back through Ken Faulconbridge following a good ball by John Commander, they never seriously looked like getting back into the game. Indeed, four outstanding Sharman saves late in the game kept the score down to a respectable level.

TOWN REVEL IN THE MUD
13TH NOVEMBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 6 MATLOCK TOWN 3
Ilkeston began slowly and Matlock marched into a deserved 4th minute lead when Morley converted Grogan’s cross. Ilkeston responded positively and only an outstanding double save by Lynch who kept out efforts by Les Disney and Jackie Ward prevented a goal. He could do nothing about Ilkeston’s 13th minute equaliser, scored by Disney who latched onto Bill Passmore’s forward pass. Yet six minutes later Matlock were back in front when this times Holmes took advantage of a Grogan centre. Things looked bleak for Ilkeston when Disney limped off with an ankle injury after 30 minutes but they put on plenty of pressure on Lynch’s goal. He made good saves from Passmore, Ken Faulconbridge and Terry Blount before being beaten by the latter following Horace Hackland’s 38th minute free kick.

With Disney back for the second half Ilkeston quickly put themselves into an unassailable lead. They took the lead for the first time in the 57th minute when John Commander’s cross was met by a superb Passmore header. Three minutes later Town scored again when Disney headed in Ward’s clever cross. Blount added his second and Town’s fifth on 64 minutes. Matlock tried hard to find a way back and Fairies rattled the woodwork before Holmes scored an 82nd minute consolation goal, despite Dave Baker’s heroic attempt to clear. There was still time for Ilkeston to add another and it duly arrived three minutes from time when Disney set up Passmore.

SECOND HALF SHOW STUNS SUTTON
20TH NOVEMBER 1954
SUTTON TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston stormed to victory following a fairly even first half. The home side came close to taking an early lead when Horace Hackland’s misjudged backpass went narrowly wide. Then it was Ilkeston’s turn to threaten and Noke was forced to clear off the line before Hackland’s 20 yard shot was well saved by Anderson. Sutton went close again when Robinson’s header was cleared off the line by Les Smith and as a play flowed from end to end Ken Ledger’s shot struck the foot of the post. Bill Passmore nearly put Ilkeston ahead before half time with a header that went just wide.

Sutton should have scored with the first attack of the second half when Kingswood was clean through but his shot lacked sufficient power to trouble Joe Sharman. From then on Ilkeston took control and they took the lead in the 50th minute when Passmore headed home Ledger’s cross. Five minutes later the lead was doubled when Fox cleared Passmore’s effort off the line and Jackie Ward pounced on the loose ball to score. The third goal arrived on the hour. Passmore sent Ledger away and he provided the chance for Ward to grab his second. Osborne came close to a consolation goal with a shot that dipped onto the bar and Ilkeston almost got a fourth in the dying minutes when Terry Blount’s shot struck the post.

SIX HITTERS
27TH NOVEMBER 1954
LONG EATON TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 6
Ilkeston lacked killer instinct at times and should have scored at least twice as many against a poor Long Eaton side in a howling gale and driving rain. Backed by a large following Town took time to settle against the bottom club but once they hit their stride the result was never in doubt. Bill Passmore’s spectacular overhead kick that struck the bar and a Terry Blount volley that brought Briggs to his knees preceded the 12th minute opener. Ken Ledger beat two defenders for pace and Passmore was on hand to score with a smart header. The second goal arrived on 26 minutes when Passmore beat Eddie Rogers (ex Ilkeston) and slipped the ball through to Ledger who raced on and shot with power. Long Eaton’s best effort of the first half fell to Loxley whose first time shot wasn’t far away.

Ilkeston extended their lead three minutes after half time when Blount sent Jackie Ward away down the left and he cut inside before cracking an unstoppable shot past Briggs. Four minutes later Ward’s corner was headed in by Ken Faulconbridge. Briggs injured his hand in the 55th minute and had to leave the pitch for attention whilst Loxley took over in goal for twelve minutes. He was beaten by Blount in the 57th minute. With Ilkeston players almost falling over each other in their desire to score more goals they had to wait until fifteen minutes from time before Faulconbridge made it six. They should have score plenty more late on but attempts to walk the ball into the net repeatedly failed.

SHIREBROOK SHOCK IN SENIOR CUP AGAIN
4TH DECEMBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 2 SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 3 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SECOND ROUND)
Shirebrook, who defeated Town in the previous season’s final, stunned Town again. If possession and endeavour counted for anything Ilkeston, who won 23 corners, would have won easily but they looked disorganised in attack whilst Shirebrook defended well and broke with speed and a greater threat. Moss fired an early warning in the rain and high wind so it was no surprise when Shirebrook took a 4th minute lead when Flewitt set up Cooper for a straightforward finish. Although Ken Faulconbridge tested Hunt Shirebrook continued to pose problems and a Flewitt shot brought Joe Sharman to his knees. Ilkeston had a good chance to level when Jackie Ward broke clear but his tame shot was easily saved by Hunt. Instead it was Shirebrook who scored on 16 minutes with a gift goal. Sharman’s terrible throw out went straight to Barrowcliffe who was able to double their advantage. Ilkeston were stung into life and Terry Blount’s angled drive flew just over whilst Faulconbridge and Ken Johnson had shots blocked, but Shirebrook should have made it three when Flewitt was in a great position. He took too long, however, and George Darwin came to Town’s rescue. Ilkeston pulled a goal back when Johnson converted a cross from the left in the 32nd minute only for Shirebrook to restore their two goal cushion four minutes later as Cooper lobbed the ball over the prostrate Sharman. Johnson gave Town hope two minutes later when he headed in a Cliff Hughes cross and the rest of the first half saw constant Ilkeston pressure. Ward’s shot brought a fingertip save from Hunt with Longmate on the line to finally clear the danger and a Horace Hackland shot was deflected for a corner.

The second half began with Barrowcliffe taking the wrong option for Shirebrook by pulling the ball back instead of going for the looming target. From then on it was all Ilkeston but they rarely looked like breaking down Shirebrook’s well numbered defence. A Faulconbridge backheader was saved by Hunt, John Commander’s terrific shot was blocked equally impressively by Simmonds and Hackland’s shot was almost turned into his own net by Hallam but that was as good as it got for Ilkeston.

SUPERIOR FINISHING WINS THE POINTS
11TH DECEMBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 6 LINBY COLLIERY 2
Les Smith celebrated becoming the first Town player to make 200 appearances and assisted his colleagues to a comfortable victory. Ilkeston began very strongly and when John Commander's 30 yard thunderbolt came off the bar Jackie Ward unluckily struck the rebound against the post. However, the first goal was not long in coming as Les Disney took advantage of Ward’s through pass to drive first time past Pugh from outside the area on 9 minutes. Pugh then did well to get in the way of Ken Faulconbridge’s shot and stop Horace Hackland’s follow up. Linby’s first opportunity fell to Newton who shot hastily instead of passing to the unmarked Geoff Jones (ex Ilkeston), whilst Disney shot over at the other end. Ilkeston’s second came in the 22nd minute with a left foot shot by Ward after a Horace Hackland cross but Linby pulled a goal back on 38 minutes when Joe Sharman misjudged Hawley’s cross and Jones was able to tap in.

Linby had more of the ball after the break but Ilkeston gave them a lesson in finishing. Disney headed home a Ken Ledger corner three minutes into the second half before Linby scored their second in the 50th minute. Hackland sliced the ball straight to Lummus who combined with Hawley to outwit Dave Baker before Hawley supplied Newton who planted the ball past the advancing Sharman. Town’s fourth came five minutes later when Ledger’s cross flew straight in past Pugh who was distracted by the onrushing Ward. Pugh did well to save a Ward header but again the presence of Ward was enough for him to misread Terry Blount’s 70th minute lob and the ball landed in the net. Ilkeston’s final goal was Faulconbridge’s 75th minute header from a Ledger cross. With the light fading Linby’s Newton somehow put the ball over from two yards.

LEADERS LOSE MATCH AND TEMPERS
18TH DECEMBER 1954
NOTTS COUNTY ‘A’ 1 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston were involved in a tough fight against the Central Alliance leaders in what was a good game even if the football wasn’t always of the highest standard. Although Notts played well as individuals Town’s team ethic was enough to win the match. Town went straight into attack and Smith did well to save Jackie Ward’s header from a George Darwin free kick. As play ebbed and flowed Creswell’s long shot went well wide for Notts before Ilkeston took a 10th minute lead. Ward’s cross from the left was headed into the top corner by Ken Ledger. Loxley almost scored an own goal and had to thank his goalkeeper as Town looked the better of the sides until the home side equalised on 34 minutes. Lister’s well struck cross was headed in powerfully by Creswell and Joe Sharman did well to get his fingers to it. Ward was just beaten to the ball by Smith as Ilkeston threatened a goal before the break.

Constant Ilkeston pressure early in the second half was rewarded by their 54th minute decider. Ward beat both Loxley and Blenkinsopp down the left, cleverly drew the defence and passed to Ken Faulconbridge who chested the ball down before walking the ball into the net. A Les Disney attempt went just over the top before Notts put on late but unconstructive pressure. Rapidly becoming frustrated Notts’ players began to lose self control and only the intervention of John Commander, who managed to restrain Lister, prevented a possible sending off.

GLAD TIDINGS FROM HEANOR
25TH DECEMBER 1954
HEANOR TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Ilkeston took the game to Heanor from the off and Burgoyne was called upon early, denying Ken Johnson with a fine save. Terry Blount should have done better than the weak shot he produced after Burgoyne punched Ken Ledger’s shot straight to him. Heanor’s first effort fell to Dennis Breedon (later an Ilkeston player) and his free kick sailed wide. Ilkeston deservedly went in front in the 15th minute when Blount found Johnson who just beat Burgoyne in a race for the ball. The goal galvanised Heanor for a spell but Ilkeston defended well and gradually regained control. When Heanor equalised before half time it came as something of a shock and it was down to a rare misplaced pass by John Commander. Wheatley took advantage and lobbed the ball over the advancing Joe Sharman, who was making his 150th appearance.

Ilkeston dominated after the break and ought to have scored when Jackie Ward could only shoot straight at Burgoyne after receiving Les Disney’s through ball. However, they went in front on 52 minutes when Disney shot through a crowd of players. They went further ahead on the hour when Ward nodded in following Johnson’s pass. Ilkeston scored their fourth in the 74th minute. Horace Hackland made no mistake from the penalty spot after Palethorpe had tripped Johnson. They relaxed for a spell and Heanor pulled a goal back eight minutes from time through Wheatley. There was still time for Ilkeston to almost grab a fifth but Disney’s effort was cleared off the line by Matthews.

ILKESTON ELEVEN HEAVEN
26TH DECEMBER 1954
ILKESTON TOWN 11 HEANOR TOWN 1
Ilkeston went goal crazy with three players, including right back Dave Baker, helping themselves to hat-tricks. The other full back, George Darwin, made his 100th appearance. They only had to wait nine minutes before going ahead when Bill Passmore’s backheader found Ken Faulconbridge who cheekily backheeled into the net. Dennis Breedon (future Ilkeston player) missed a glorious chance to level when he missed an open goal and soon further misery has heaped on Heanor. After Burgoyne made great saves to keep out shots from Ken Ledger and Faulconbridge Ilkeston scored a second on 32 minutes when Ken Johnson sent Faulconbridge through to score. The third came two minutes later when Baker’s free kick flew past Burgoyne who was unsighted by Passmore’s run. Ilkeston their third goal in nine minutes when Johnson sent Faulconbridge away to complete a first half hat-trick.

The match continued similarly after half time. Ilkeston’s fifth came on 55 minutes after Matthews fouled Faulconbridge and Baker scored from the spot and this was the start of a remarkable goal rush of seven goals in 11 minutes, including six by Ilkeston. They scored their sixth in the 59th minute when Ledger’s knee high cross was blasted in with such power by Passmore that it pierced the net, and the referee initially awarded a goal kick. A minute later Passmore’s glancing header from a Ledger cross made it seven and although Heanor immediately scored through Halford, Ilkeston added another on 62 minutes, Johnson the scorer. Less than a minute later Ilkeston made it nine when Mike Fitch’s shot was guided past Burgoyne by Passmore. Incredibly they scored again three minutes later, Baker converting his second penalty of the afternoon after Faulconbridge had been fouled. Although play then settled down after that Ilkeston managed to score their eleventh four minutes from time through Ken Ledger.

TOWN SURVIVE BATTLE AT BELPER
1ST JANUARY 1955
BELPER TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (LEAGUE CUP THIRD ROUND)
Ilkeston needed to show great character to take this fierce tie to a replay. Belper, second in the table, dominated most of the second half but Ilkeston defended stubbornly on a bitterly cold afternoon. The match began at a terrific pace and Ken Clifton (ex Ilkeston) headed over in Belper’s first attack. Terry Blount’s cross provided Jackie Ward with a header that went wide when Ilkeston got forward for the first time. Belper continued to attack and Clifton and then Ken Rawson (future Ilkeston player manager) sent shots just off target. However, it was Ilkeston who went ahead on 12 minutes with a brilliant goal by Ken Faulconbridge who went on a long run before shooting in from a narrow angle when it appeared he had been crowded out. Belper ‘keeper McCulloch produced a fine double save from Blount’s shot and Ken Johnson’s header although Ilkeston’s opposite number Joe Sharman had an anxious moment when he spilled a Clifton shot before he recovered in time to save.

Ilkeston started well after the break and McCulloch did well to save Ken Ledger’s powerful shot. Ledger suffered further bad luck when a goalbound effort was deflected wide by former Ilkeston defender Derek Cleveley. As the game became even more keenly contested Belper’s Rawson and Ilkeston’s Dave Baker both received cautions. Ilkeston continued to look worthy of their lead but couldn’t find a way past McCulloch. Then, on 59 minutes the game turned when Slack equalised following a corner. This signalled lengthy Belper pressure but Ilkeston held firm and could have won it at the death when Johnson’s cross shot produced a fingertip save by McCulloch.

NO LOVE LOST AS TOWN EDGE THROUGH
8TH JANUARY 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BELPER TOWN 0 (LEAGUE CUP THIRD ROUND REPLAY)
Controversial decisions by the referee did not help as the two rival teams contested another even game that threatened to boil over. As it was Belper grew the more frustrated whereas Ilkeston managed to keep their heads. There was plenty of talking points for the 3000 spectators gathered on the Manor Ground. Ilkeston had an early penalty appeal turned down but Belper came closest to scoring early on when Ken Clifton (ex Ilkeston) broke clear of Les Smith only to shoot tamely at Joe Sharman. Ken Ledger’s angled drive was saved by McCulloch as Ilkeston pressed again yet the visitors had the edge. Sharman saved from Hudson who saw another effort from 30 yards clear the bar. Ilkeston survived an anxious moment when former Ilkeston player Derek Cleveley’s free kick caused Sharman and Smith to collide and the ball ran to safety. Bill Passmore had a shot that brought an awkward save from McCulloch and he also saw his overhead kick drift inches wide. In between Clifton’s header was only just off target. Ilkeston’s gradual improvement was rewarded in the 32nd minute when Ken Johnson scrambled the ball in after Dave Baker’s free kick had caused confusion in the area. Belper came back strongly during the closing stages of the first half and Sharman did well to keep out a Ken Rawson (future Ilkeston player manager) shot.

Rawson had bad luck early in the second half when his shot bounced off Sharman and onto the post. Ilkeston finally began to assert themselves and the referee was jeered when Ken Faulconbridge’s header was ruled out for offside against a team mate. Play became very fiery and the referee was struggling to retain control amid some unusual decisions. However, Ilkeston made the game safe ten minutes from time when Ledger’s shot was blocked on the line by Butler and Faulconbridge forced in the rebound. In the dying minutes Ledger made a dangerous run and Collin handled in the box but the referee played the advantage as Ledger went on to fire in at a shot at goal. McCulloch was equal to it and Ilkeston were left feeling aggrieved that no penalty had been awarded.

FAULCONBRIDGE MAGIC AS TOWN STRIKE TEN
29TH JANUARY 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 10 RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 0
Ilkeston reached double figures for the second league game running as Ropes were overwhelmed. Ilkeston, although they completely mastered Retford during the first hour, didn’t really sparkle but they produced a devastating 20 minute spell during the second half. They came desperately close to scoring inside the first minute when Ken Faulconbridge lobbed the advancing Jackson but the ball hit the bar. Ken Johnson then headed inches over before Retford fired a warning when Allwood shot directly at Joe Sharman from close range. Ilkeston took the lead in the 14th minute when Mike Fitch’s long cross was met by Faulconbridge’s head. Jackie Ward shot narrowly wide through a crowded area before the second goal arrived on 26 minutes when Ken Ledger’s cross left Bill Passmore with a simple finish. Three minutes later Ledger found Passmore whose cross was headed home by Johnson. Johnson was denied another goal when his rising shot was saved by Jackson.

Town continued to stroll during the early stages of the second half yet continued to threaten. Johnson’s shot was punched over the bar by Smith but amazingly only a corner was given. Fitch and then Ledger had shots legimately tipped over the bar by Jackson as Town made all the moves until Dexter shot across the face of goal in a rare Retford attack. Ilkeston then hit full throttle. On 62 minutes Ledger’s terrific drive was only half stopped by Jackson and Passmore headed in. Four minutes later Ledger’s low cross was cracked in by Johnson and then on 70 minutes Faulconbridge waltzed through the defence to score a remarkable solo goal. Town scored another within two minutes when Faulconbridge completed his hat-trick following another Ledger cross. Passmore was next to complete his hat-trick when he hooked in yet another Ledger centre in the 74th minute. Johnson’s hat-trick goal arrived on 78 minutes when his shot bounced in off a defender and Ilkeston made it ten eight minutes from time when Ward’s cross was converted by Faulconbridge for his fourth.

SEVEN GOAL HAUL FLATTERS ILKESTON
5TH FEBRUARY 1955
RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 3 ILKESTON TOWN 7
Retford produced a much improved display upon the previous week and Ilkeston struggled for much of the game. Nevertheless their 10th successive Central Alliance win moved them up to third place. The match was preceded by a two minute silence in the memory of J. Peatfield, Retford committee man, who had recently passed away. Retford looked the more dangerous during the opening stages and Joe Sharman had to save at Allwood’s feet. When Ilkeston got going Jenkinson made a great stop from Horace Hackland but it was his error in the 15th minute that allowed Town to take the lead. Terry Blount’s shot squirmed under his body. Ropes deservedly drew level on 22 minutes when Dexter’s shot crashed against the bar and Bacon scored from the rebound. Ilkeston regained the lead through Ken Faulconbridge’s 28th minute angled drive. Jenkinson’s nightmare continued two minutes later when he was unable to keep out Blount’s underhit shot. Retford refused to lie down and they should have scored before the break when Bacon was left with only Sharman to beat but he took too long and John Commander was able to make a challenge.

Retford continued with their challenge early in the second half and Allwood was unlucky when his shot struck Les Smith. They thoroughly deserved their second goal although it was a gift. Smith sliced his clearance from a cross beyond Sharman to Allwood who was left with a simple finish on 52 minutes. With Retford attacking strongly it came as a complete surprise when Ken Johnson struck a fine shot into the roof of the net to restore Town’s two goal advantage on 62 minutes. Ilkeston’s fifth came four minutes later when Johnson’s great pass set up Blount for his hat-trick. Johnson later received a foot injury which was to keep him out of action for several weeks. They scored again six minutes from time after Talbot allowed Jackie Ward to break clear and his shot was handled by Smith. Horace Hackland scored from the spot. Ilkeston’s seventh came when the tormented Talbot sliced into his own net. Retford scored a consolation goal in the final minute, Allwood scoring from close range after Town’s defence failed to clear.

TEN MAN TOWN TOO WILY FOR FOREST
19TH FEBRUARY 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST ‘A’ 0
One of Town’s lowest gates of the season, 800, saw Ilkeston overcome the handicap of going down to ten men and use their greater experience to win comfortably. Ilkeston made all the early running and Farrow had to bravely save at Jackie Ward’s feet. However, Farrow was beaten in the 10th minute when Bill Passmore pounced onto Horace Hackland’s lob forward and fired an unstoppable shot from 20 yards. Passmore then turned provider with a through ball that Ward fired straight at Farrow before a better effort from Ward produced an even better save by the Forest ‘keeper. Passmore then went inches wide with a header but twisted an ankle in the process. He was carried off and although he appeared briefly after half time it was soon obvious that he couldn’t continue. Meanwhile Ilkeston extended their lead on 42 minutes when Farrow couldn’t hold Ken Ledger’s well struck low centre and Ward was on hand to nod home.

Forest were kept on the defence despite their numerical advantage after half time although they allowed Ilkeston precious little hope of scoring. It was only late in the game that the visitors began to look threatening. Joe Sharman saved twice from Banham shots and a Singleton free kick struck the bar.

EARLY SETBACK FAILS TO STOP TOWN
5TH MARCH 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 3 RANSOME & MARLES 1
Recent snow had quickly thawed and turned the pitch into slush. Nevertheless the teams provided a fast, entertaining game. After falling behind Ilkeston made certain of victory with a late penalty and moved up to second place. Ransome took the lead on 6 minutes when Fleming and Heather caused chaos in Town’s defence and although Joe Sharman managed to block Fleming’s shot Ernie Williamson (a future Town captain) scored from the rebound. Ilkeston then adapted better to the conditions and it was no surprise when the equaliser came in the 18th minute. Ken Faulconbridge went on a super run and his final shot was turned onto the bar by Woodward before Terry Blount chested down the loose ball and volleyed in. Woodward excelled himself with two point blank range saves from Dennis Breedon and this led to a brief rally by the visitors. Wright’s terrific shot was blocked by Les Smith and another Wright shot flew into the side net. However, Town took the lead on the stroke of half time when Faulconbridge broke through and shot, Hewgill only able to help the ball over the line in an attempt to clear.

Play deteriorated somewhat after half time but Town remained in control and Ransome had to defend desperately at times. A Faulconbridge shot was cleared off the line by Molyneaux and, in a matter of seconds, Jackie Ward’s header was stopped by Woodward and Blount’s follow up was cleared off the line by Hewgill. When Ward was sandwiched three minutes from time Horace Hackland made no mistake from the spot.

BERRY NOT SO SWEET FOR ILKESTON
12TH MARCH 1955
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 4 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (LEAGUE CUP SEMI FINAL)
Ilkeston’s hopes of reaching the Central Alliance Cup Final ended as did their nine match unbeaten run. They could have had no complaints and had no answers to the pace of the South Normanton forwards whilst their own forwards lost the ball too easily. It was not a happy day for Ilkeston, for whom Horace Hackland was making his 200th appearance. The home side got off to the best possible start by scoring inside the first minute when Corner found Berry who netted from close range. Raven came close to scoring a second but he was inches off target after evading Dave Baker. Ilkeston were forced to defend desperately yet they equalised on 12 minutes with their first attack. Ken Faulconbridge lobbed the ball forward to the seemingly offside Terry Blount who planted the ball past the advancing Hickman. Although a Baker drive was turned over the bar by Hickman South Normanton continued to look the better side and they deservedly went back in front on 39 minutes when Raven’s cross was flicked by Evans past Joe Sharman. Town came close to levelling the scores again when England cleared a Les Disney effort off the line.

Raven shot wide early in the second half and Hickman saved well from Blount during an even period but gradually the home side assumed complete control. On 62 minutes Raven picked out the unmarked Berry who was left with a simple chance and he completed his hat-trick seven minutes later when he pounced on a Wilkinson pass.

FAULCONBRIDGE STRIKE WINS THE DAY
19TH MARCH 1955
GRANTHAM RESERVES 1 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston did just enough to win a scrappy encounter after surviving early Grantham pressure. Codling blazed over from close range and Burdett put the ball in the net but was ruled offside. As Ilkeston began to settle Terry Blount failed to make the most of Robinson’s miskick and his hesitancy allowed Grantham defenders to block his shot. Mike Fitch then put the ball high over following Ken Ledger’s cross. Grantham were restricted to one shot during this period and McCartney’s shot from distance was comfortably saved by Joe Sharman. Dennis Breedon’s header forced a save from Kerr at the other end and he scored soon after but was adjudged to have fouled Kerr in the process.

Grantham began the second half like they started the first and Sharman had to be alert to clear from Codling before McCartney’s 20 yard shot flashed wide. Ilkeston nearly scored when Fitch turned the ball over the bar with Kerr beaten but they broke the deadlock on 65 minutes. Blount’s pass was met by a terrific Ledger shot that flew into the roof of the net. Breedon’s presence then forced Kerr to spill the ball but Robinson was on hand to clear. However, Grantham began to fight back and after Ilkeston had conceded a number of free kicks one of them was thumped in by Codling via the underside of the bar on 71 minutes. Ilkeston’s winner came ten minutes from time and it was a lovely goal by Ken Faulconbridge. He collected the ball in the centre circle and opened up space for himself by shaping to pass before bursting clear to shoot past the diving Kerr who managed to get a hand to it. The goal boosted Ilkeston and they spent most of the closing stages on the attack.

TOWN EXPERIENCE TELLS
26TH MARCH 1955
NOTTINGHAM FOREST ‘A’ 2 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Ilkeston’s knowhow and ruggedness overcame Forest’s young side who played good football but lacked the killer touch. Town’s win moved them to within seven points of leaders Notts County ‘A’ and with ten games in hand. Large patches of water failed to stop the game from being played at a cracking pace. Dennis Breedon was first to show for Ilkeston and his cross shot was held by Brown. Forest’s Greasley twice outwitted George Darwin but he left the ball behind stuck in a puddle on each occasion. The home side continued to press and Joe Sharman made two good saves before he dived bravely at Watson’s feet. However, Ilkeston took the lead against the run of play in the 19th minute when Ken Faulconbridge touched on Ken Johnson’s pass and Banham could only turn the ball past Brown into his own net. The goal spurred Town on and after Horace Hackland struck the bar with a free kick they went further ahead on the half hour. A lovely move began with John Commander lobbing the ball to Faulconbridge who sent Ken Ledger away down the right. His cross was played by Breedon into Johnson’s path who made no mistake. Forest ended the first half with plenty of possession but no cutting edge.

Forest began the second half well with a Watson shot that skimmed the bar, and Griffin managed to blaze over with only Sharman to beat. Ilkeston’s first attack of the half ended when Brown was forced to use his feet to clear Ledger’s dangerous cross. Forest missed two further chances before finally pulling a goal back in the 57th minute when Greasley’s corner was converted by McKaig. Ilkeston should have had a penalty soon after when the referee failed to spot Griffin, who needed treatment as a result, handle the ball. Justice prevailed on 67 minutes when Terry Blount’s cross was met first time by Johnson for Town’s third. Forest caused a little anxiety when they scored again through McKaig ten minutes from time but Town made certain of victory on 86 minutes when Faulconbridge took full advantage of a Breedon pass. The home side almost scored a late consolation when Thompson’s shot was turned by the diving Sharman onto the post, the ‘keeper reacting quickly to dive on the ball before it crossed the line.

DERBY DAZE
2ND APRIL 1955
DERBY COUNTY ‘A’ 1 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Horace Hackland missed two penalties as Town’s otherwise superior finishing was the main difference between the two sides. Ilkeston went close early on when Terry Blount’s swerving shot was cleared off the line by Walker. Derby’s first effort was a Moran low shot that brought a decent save from Joe Sharman but they fell behind after just 7 minutes when Blount cut in from the left and cracked in a fierce drive from a narrow angle. Play fluctuated with Dave Baker doing well to block Dougall’s shot and Dennis Breedon’s powerful shot struck Derby ‘keeper Hunter and bounced to safety. Ilkeston gradually built up a head of steam and they were awarded a penalty on 37 minutes when Parry’s handball was spotted by the linesman. Although Hunter saved Hackland’s spot kick he could do nothing to stop Town’s half back from slamming in the rebound to give Ilkeston a two goal cushion. Derby pulled a goal back three minutes later when Moran’s fierce volley from Harrison’s pass gave Sharman no chance.

The second half began with Charlie Place (local born and future Town player) having a shot that was deflected wide by Baker and Derby came closer still when Hackland miskicked in front of his own goal but John Commander came to the rescue. Blount had a close range header stopped by Hunter and the ‘keeper then made a smart save from a Ken Ledger shot. As Ilkeston continued to force the pace Blount miskicked with the goal at his mercy, Breedon was fouled but no penalty was awarded, and Ledger’s free kick went over the bar. Town scored the third in the 56th minute when Breedon’s angled shot deceived Hunter and they made certain of victory with a Ledger goal seven minutes later. Within a minute they should have made it five but Hunter saved a Hackland penalty for the second time in the match.

CLAY CROSS END TOWN RUN
8TH APRIL 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 0 CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 1
Town’s hopes of winning the title suffered a minor setback as their 15 match winning run in the Central Alliance came to an end. It was also Ilkeston’s first home defeat in the league. Clay Cross’ fast, open football made them worthy winners whereas Town seemed ponderous and lacked decisiveness. Ilkeston began brightly enough but the visitors took the lead on 22 minutes when Burton pounced on a partial clearance. Ilkeston’s only spell of real pressure came during the final half hour but their lack of killer instinct in front of goal was their downfall.

FIRST HALF BRILLIANCE KILLS OFF GINGERBREADS
9TH APRIL 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 4 GRANTHAM RESERVES 1
Ilkeston dominated the first half so greatly that they won 14 corners and Joe Sharman did not touch the ball until the 24th minute. Ken Johnson had a good opportunity early in the game but failed to get in a shot and then Wallace headed a Jackie Ward effort off the line. Ward went just off target with a fine header before Ilkeston finally went in front on 23 minutes. Johnson drew ‘keeper Waller out of his goal and found Ken Ledger who was left with a straightforward finish. Six minutes later Ward’s header from Terry Blount’s high cross made it two. Grantham’s first opportunity fell to Graver but his well struck shot was equally well saved by Sharman. Town went further ahead in 33 minutes when Blount made the most of Ward’s pass and they finally made one of their many corners count five minutes later when Ken Faulconbridge was on hand to finish.

The second half was more even but Town almost scored again when Faulconbridge’s overhead kick hit the bar and Taylor cleared the rebound off the line. Waller was also in fine form as Town went in search of further goals but Grantham came into the game more as Town relaxed. McCartney’s 25 yard shot wasn’t far away and a Longworth shot was less accurate. However, Grantham scored a consolation goal in the 65th minute when Cahill pounced after Graver’s shot came off the bar. Ilkeston came close to a fifth when Johnson shot from close range but Waller pulled off an outstanding save.

WARD EARLY STRIKE ENOUGH
11TH APRIL 1955
BELPER TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston got off to a sensational start when Jackie Ward tapped in inside 30 seconds but the game failed to live up to the dramatic opening. Play was fast but scrappy and Ilkeston showed plenty of resolve as Belper enjoyed plenty of possession. Joe Sharman was rarely tested whereas his opposite number McCulloch was called into action more frequently and had a shaky game. Sharman’s only save of note came when he turned over a long range shot by Ken Rawson (later Ilkeston’s player manager). Ilkeston thought they had scored a second before half time but a dubious offside decision ruled out Terry Blount’s effort.

McCulloch twice fumbled shots from Les Smith and Ken Faulconbridge after half time and a Horace Hackland free kick appeared to have crossed the line before former Ilkeston defender Derek Cleveley cleared.

NEW LEAGUE LEADERS OVERCOME LANGWITH
12TH APRIL 1955
LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Jackie Ward scored the winning goal for the second game running as Ilkeston went to the top of the Central Alliance. But they had to be at their best during the first half against a lively Langwith side who kept Town at full stretch. Ward signalled his intentions early on with a shot that brought a save from Kirk but Town were on the defensive for most of the first half. Despite this they took the lead in the 20th minute when Alwyn Booth’s pass set up Ward to finish nicely.

Despite the gruelling schedule Ilkeston appeared to be fit and they were much more comfortable after the break. Langwith were penned back for long periods and but for an accomplished display by Kirk Town would have won by a greater margin.

UNDERPAR TOWN TOO GOOD FOR MATLOCK
16TH APRIL 1955
MATLOCK TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
On a bone hard surface and a light ball proving difficult to control Matlock proved to be poor opponents and Ilkeston fared little better. Both sides missed early chances before Ilkeston were gifted a 12th minute lead. Goalkeeper Lynch completely misjudged the flight of Dave Baker’s free kick and Jackie Ward was able to head into an empty net. Matlock started to have slightly the better of the play and a Fairies shot was beaten down by Joe Sharman, Holmes took too long to get a shot in when well placed, and Sharman made two fine saves from shots by Hardy. The closest Ilkeston came to adding a second before half time was when Lynch tipped over a Ken Faulconbridge shot.

After the break Matlock still had a slight edge for a time. Sharman saved another Hardy shot that looked as if it was going wide and the same Matlock forward hastily shot over the bar later. Ilkeston gradually regained control and the killer second goal arrived six minutes from time. Clever play by Ken Johnson released Terry Blount down the left and the winger cut inside to score a well taken goal.

TOWN SUBDUE STUBBORN SUTTON
18TH APRIL 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 2 SUTTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston overcame tough opposition and just about deserved the points. They began strongly and Jackie Ward cracked a fine shot that Anderson did well to tip over. Ken Johnson then fired a shot on the run that was just off target. Sutton’s first chance fell to Gould whose header brought a save from Joe Sharman. Sharman did even better to block a close range shot from Smith. Ward raised Ilkeston hopes when he threatened to break clear and it needed a desperate challenge by Packard to stop him. However, it was Sutton who took the lead on 31 minutes when Robinson raced in to convert Wragg’s centre. Ilkeston only had to wait seven minutes before they drew level and it fell to Ward who rounded Fox before shooting high into the net.

Ilkeston stepped up a gear in the second half. A Ken Faulconbridge snap shot wasn’t far away and then Terry Blount’s close range shot was tipped over by Anderson. The winner arrived in the 68th minute when Ward hooked the ball over his shoulder into the danger area and Blount was on hand to score. Ward came close to adding a third when his header hit the post.

CLAY CROSS CRUMBLE
21ST APRIL 1955
CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Ilkeston thoroughly deserved their win and moved ever closer towards the title. They went ahead in the 28th minute when Terry Blount pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired home. However, the most significant incident of the first half was Clay Cross player Wakeham’s tackle on Ken Ledger that left himself with an injured wrist. Down to ten men for the second half Clay Cross had no answer to Town’s attacking play. Ilkeston went further ahead on 51 minutes when Jackie Ward’s swerving shot from a seemingly impossible angle completely foxed Holmes. The third goal arrived when Ledger chased what appeared to be a lost cause and somehow managed to send over an inviting cross that Ken Faulconbridge met with a spectacular diving header. Ilkeston’s final goal arrived with twenty minutes remaining. Dave Baker sent Ledger away down the right and his cross was touched on by Bill Passmore to Blount who crashed the ball into the roof of the net.

BELPER BLOWN AWAY
23RD APRIL 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 4 BELPER TOWN 0
Belper more than matched Ilkeston for over half the game but once Town went ahead it was game over. Joe Sharman was called into action early in the game when he tipped over a Page shot. Ilkeston’s first effort of note was a low Ken Faulconbridge shot that was confidently saved by Chessum. Slack headed wide and Page’s shot lacked power as the visitors continued to impress although their goalkeeper had to be alert to make saves from Ken Ledger, Faulconbridge and Ken Johnson. Belper dominated the closing stages of the first half and were unlucky not to score. A Slack long range shot hit the bar, Dave Baker and John Commander both had to clear Belper shots off the line and former Ilkeston player Ken Clifton missed from 6 yards.

The second half began similarly but Ilkeston gained confidence when Terry Blount would have scored but for a splendid Chessum save. Spurred on by the near miss Ilkeston went close again when Faulconbridge’s shot was deflected by former Ilkeston defender Derek Cleveley. The goal they craved arrived in the 53rd minute. Although Chessum was able to beat out Ledger’s stinging free kick he could do nothing about Blount’s rising follow up. Five minutes later Ilkeston made it two when Blount’s perfect pass was cracked in on the run by Ledger. After Jackie Ward missed a great chance to make it three Ilkeston were awarded a somewhat fortunate penalty in the 67th minute when Blount’s shot brushed off ex Town player Phil Bibby’s arm. Horace Hackland made no mistake from the spot. With Ilkeston now totally dominant a Blount shot struck the bar and Chessum made a good stop from Faulconbridge. Ilkeston scored the fourth ten minutes from time when a lovely move between Johnson and Blount left Ward with a simple finish.

CHAMPAGNE ON ICE
25TH APRIL 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 0 CRESWELL COLLIERY 0
Needing a win to become Champions Ilkeston had to settle for a point. Creswell defended well in numbers whilst they looked dangerous on the break, their long ball tactics often worrying the Ilkeston defence. Varley’s low 30 yard shot was well saved by Joe Sharman during an early Creswell attack whilst Ilkeston’s only effort of note during the first half was a John Commander shot that went over the bar.

Ilkeston gradually improved and Staniforth was forced to make saves from Ken Ledger, Jackie Ward and Ken Faulconbridge before Ken Johnson crashed a shot into the side net with such power that repair work needed to be carried out. Ilkeston had an escape when Sharman could only palm Lack’s cross as far as Beresford but his shot was deflected wide by Commander. Town continued to dominate possession but resorted to high balls into the area as they became more frustrated. Creswell’s effect defence comfortably held out for a deserved point.

ILKESTON KEPT WAITING
27TH APRIL 1955
BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Town travelled to Loughborough knowing that they only required a point to claim the title but returned home empty handed. The odds were against them from the moment Brush decided to field their first team and the task became even greater when Mike Fitch, due to deputise for the unavailable Ken Faulconbridge, was delayed. With only ten men available as kick off approached local newspaper reporter Peter Clark made up the numbers. Town were by no means outplayed and were denied a clear penalty during the second half when Holland handled a Ken Ledger shot. They had plenty of the play but Brush ‘keeper Hatfield was in fine form and when he was beaten by a Dave Baker shot Charles cleared off the line. Brush’s winner came in the 57th minute when Naylor’s corner was only half cleared and Charles crashed in the loose ball.

FOUR IN A ROW
30TH APRIL 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 8 LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 0
Town knew that a 0-0 draw would suffice if they were to win the Central Alliance for the fourth season running and they treated their supporters to a feast of attacking football that led to them scoring eight more times than was strictly necessary. Langwith arrived with a man short and football reporter Michael Carey was allowed to make up the numbers. Play was scrappy at the start and Langwith looked the more dangerous before Ilkeston got into their stride. Kirk made an easy save when Terry Blount just failed to connect properly with Ken Johnson’s superb pass but he was beaten in the 20th minute when Blount’s cross was angled in by Johnson from close range. Kirk then made great saves from a Jackie Ward shot and a close range effort from Johnson. Dunn and Hayles both came to Langwith’s rescue by heading off the line and Dunn cleared another Town effort that was heading for the net. Ilkeston’s pressure led to the inevitable second goal before the break when Johnson took full advantage of Horace Hackland’s through ball.

Ilkeston survived Langwith pressure at the start of the second half before delighting the crowd with a glut of goals. Johnson completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute when Grant handled and Kirk couldn’t keep out Ward’s header from Johnson’s cross seven minutes later. Within two minutes Town scored their fifth when fine play by Ken Faulconbridge enabled Ward to apply the finishing touch. On 70 minutes Johnson supplied Blount with a simple chance for the sixth and five minutes later Johnson turned in Ken Ledger’s cross for his fourth. Nine minutes from time Grant handled for a second time and this time Ward converted the penalty for his hat-trick.

CHAMPION FOOTBALL
2ND MAY 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 5 SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 0
Ilkeston, able to relax after winning the title, enjoyed themselves against Shirebrook and recorded another convincing victory. On top from the start they took the lead in the 10th minute when Terry Blount nodded in Jackie Ward’s cross. The second goal on 16 minutes was something of a fluke. Ken Johnson’s cross deceived Hunt and ended up in the net. Town’s third goal arrived in the 37th minute, Ward converting a Ken Ledger cross.

Ward went close several times during the second half. Twice he struck the foot of the post and on two other occasions he lobbed narrowly wide. Even the departure of Johnson through an ankle injury ten minutes into the second half failed to subdue Ilkeston and on 63 minutes they were awarded a penalty for handball. Goalkeeper Joe Sharman joined in the fun by striding up the pitch to place the spot kick into the net. Town’s final goal arrived in the final minute when following a corner from the left Ledger took time to pick his spot and finish in style.

RAMS TRIBUTE
4TH MAY 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 1 DERBY COUNTY ‘A’ 1
Derby provided the ultimate accolade by selecting a team crammed with Second Division experience for their visit to Ilkeston. Players in their side included George Hunter, Ray Patrick, Ken Oliver, Glyn Davies, Jack Parry and Stuart Imlach. Former Town full back and Rams’ regular Geoff Barrowcliffe also featured as did local born (and future Town player) Charlie Place as well as Benjamin Clark. Play was very even throughout. Joe Sharman had to save bravely at Parry’s feet and in an incredible scramble at the other end Ilkeston had five shots cleared off the line.

Town almost scored early in the second half but Ken Ledger’s shot hit the foot of the post. Imlach should have put Derby ahead but missed an open goal as The Rams enjoyed a spell of pressure although Hunter did well to hold Jackie Ward’s snap shot in one Ilkeston attack. Derby’s second half pressure bore fruit in the 71st minute when Sharman’s poor goal kick went straight to Imlach whose cross was tucked away by Parry. But Town were not finished and deservedly equalised three minutes from time when Ledger broke down the right and cut inside to fire in from a narrow angle.

TOWN END SEASON IN STYLE
7TH MAY 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 3 BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 0
Ilkeston won a one sided game to cap off another wonderful season. They attacked from the word go and went close several times. Ken Faulconbridge’s first time hook shot went into Wright’s grateful arms, Ken Ledger had a shot cleared by Oliver and Les Disney headed over the top. The first goal came on 21 minutes as a result of a foul on Ken Faulconbridge, Horace Hackland netting the resultant penalty. Jackie Ward then had a header pushed away by the impressive Wright but the chief reason why Town didn’t add to their tally before half time was sloppy finishing.

The second half continued in the same vein. Disney embarked on a glorious run until he shot over as did Faulconbridge after a wonderful piece of link up play with Ledger. However another goal had to come and so it did in the 56th minute. Terry Blount’s cross from the right was met by Disney who shot home from close range. Joe Sharman, making his final appearance for Ilkeston, made a diving save to keep out the ball and saved Dave Baker’s blushes but this was a rare piece of action involving the ‘keeper. Ward was unlucky to see his well struck shot cannon off Wright’s foot and bounce to safety and several other Ilkeston efforts were blocked by Brush defenders. Ilkeston’s third came six minutes from time when delightful play by Faulconbridge set up Disney. The visitors’ only spell of pressure came during the final five minutes when Sharman’s diving saves kept out headers from Fitchett and Jones and then he had to tip over a 40 yard free kick by Kent.

 

DERBY & DISTRICT LEAGUE CUP FINAL 
ILKESTON TOWN RESERVES 5, DERBY CORINTHIANS 0

DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP FINAL @ MATLOCK TOWN
BUXTON RESERVES 1, ILKESTON TOWN RESERVES 2