07 24






1955/56 CENTRAL ALLIANCE FIRST DIVISION FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts
1 Ransome & Marles 40 31 3 6 134 71 65
2 ILKESTON TOWN 40 28 5 7 123 40 61
3 Clay Cross Miners Welfare 40 26 7 7 112 63 59
4 South Normanton Miners Welfare 40 24 6 10 113 66 54
5 Heanor Town 40 21 11 8 113 63 53
6 Belper Town 40 25 3 12 130 78 53
7 Creswell Colliery 40 20 7 13 116 93 47
8 Notts County 'A' 39 20 5 14 101 84 45
9 Sutton Town 40 18 6 16 128 105 42
10 Anstey Nomads 40 17 7 16 90 95 41
11 Langwith Miners Welfare 40 18 4 18 96 110 40
12 Stamford 40 14 8 18 92 100 36
13 Nottingham Forest 'A' 40 15 5 20 83 104 35
14 Shirebrook Miners Welfare 39 13 6 20 79 85 32
15 Linby Colliery 40 12 7 21 61 96 31
16 Brush Sports Reserves 40 12 6 22 77 99 30
17 Grantham Reserves 40 11 7 22 91 132 29
18 Long Eaton Town 40 13 3 24 83 126 29
19 Derby County 'A' 40 10 5 25 50 107 25
20 Retford British Ropes 40 7 2 31 64 135 16
21 Matlock Town 40 5 5 30 61 145 5

NB. Notts County 'A' and Shirebrook Miners Welfare failed to complete their fixtures. 


1955/56 CENTRAL ALLIANCE RESULTS

DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
20 AUG NOTTS COUNTY 'A' W3-1 BLOUNT, LEDGER, JOHNSON
24 AUG Clay Cross Miners Welfare D3-3 JOHNSON, MARSH 2
27 AUG South Normanton Miners Welfare W4-1 BLOUNT, JOHNSON, WARD, FAULCONBRIDGE
31 AUG LONG EATON TOWN W3-1 WARD, LEDGER, HACKLAND (PEN)
03 SEP Stamford W2-1 LEDGER, MARSH
07 SEP Long Eaton Town W3-0 JOHNSON, BLOUNT, FAULCONBRIDGE
10 SEP CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE W6-0 BLOUNT 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, MARSH, HACKLAND (PEN), LEDGER
17 SEP LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE W4-1 JOHNSON, FAULCONBRIDGE, LEGER, MARSH
24 SEP SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE W2-0 FAULCONBRIDGE, MARSH
01 OCT Retford British Ropes L0-1
15 OCT Nottingham Forest 'A' W3-0 FAULCONBRIDGE, BLOUNT 2
29 OCT Anstey Nomads W6-2 MARSH 3, FAULCONBRIDGE, HACKLAND (PEN), LEDGER
19 NOV RANSOME & MARLES W9-3 MARSH 2, WARD 2, DISNEY 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, JOHNSON, HACKLAND (PEN)
10 DEC Linby Colliery W4-0 HACKLAND (PEN), FAULCONBRIDGE, BLOUNT, COMMANDER
17 DEC Brush Sports Reserves D1-1 FAULCONBRIDGE
24 DEC HEANOR TOWN D1-1 HACKLAND (PEN)
26 DEC Heanor Town L0-2
31 DEC DERBY COUNTY 'A' L1-2 FAULCONBRIDGE
07 JAN GRANTHAM RESERVES W12-0 MARSH 4, GULSON (OG), JOHNSON 2, FAULCONBRIDGE 2, STOREY (OG), LEDGER 2
28 JAN ANSTEY NOMADS W3-1 MARSH, JOHNSON, WARD
18 FEB STAMFORD W5-0 LEDGER, BLOUNT, FAULCONBRIDGE, JOHNSON 2
03 MAR BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES W3-0 FAULCONBRIDGE, MARSH, BAKER (PEN)
10 MAR Belper Town W2-0 1500 FAULCONBRIDGE, LEDGER
17 MAR CRESWELL COLLIERY W8-1 FAULCONBRIDGE, LEDGER, BLOUNT 2, JOHNSON 2, FITCH, VINE
24 MAR Grantham Reserves W4-0 FAULCONBRIDGE 2, BLOUNT 2
31 MAR NOTTINGHAM FOREST 'A' L3-4 DISNEY 2, BAKER (PEN)
02 APR Creswell Colliery L1-2 BAKER (PEN)
04 APR Derby County 'A' W2-0 DISNEY 2
07 APR Langwith Miners Welfare W3-2 MARSH 2, BAKER
09 APR SUTTON TOWN D2-2 FAULCONBRIDGE, BLOUNT
14 APR Ransome & Marles L0-2
18 APR SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE D1-1 BAKER (PEN)
21 APR BELPER TOWN W2-0 FAULCONBRIDGE 2
23 APR Matlock Town W1-0 FAULCONBRIDGE
26 APR LINBY COLLIERY W2-1 FAULCONBRIDGE, BAKER (PEN)
28 APR Shirebrook Miners Welfare W1-0 LEDGER
02 MAY Notts County 'A' L1-2 BREEDON
04 MAY Sutton Town W4-1 FAULCONBRIDGE, VINE 2, BLOUNT
04 MAY MATLOCK TOWN W6-0 WARD, MARSH 3 (1PEN), BRADWELL, LEDGER
05 MAY RETFORD BRITISH ROPES W2-1 FAULCONBRIDGE, BLOUNT



1955/56 FA CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
2QR 08 OCT SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE W3-1 3000 MARSH 2, BLOUNT
3QR 22 OCT BOOTS ATHLETIC W9-0 JOHNSON 2, FAULCONBRIDGE 3, MARSH, LEDGER, HACKLAND 2 (1PEN)
4QR 05 NOV PETERBOROUGH UNITED L1-3 9592 MARSH



1955/56 DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
PR 12 NOV South Normanton Miners Welfare D1-1 JOHNSON
PRrep 26 NOV SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE W4-2 WARD, HACKLAND, JOHNSON, MARSH
1R 03 DEC NEW MILLS W3-0 FAULCONBRIDGE 2, BLOUNT
QF 14 JAN Long Eaton Town W6-1 WARD 2, FAULCONBRIDGE, MARSH 2, LEDGER
SF 11 FEB CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE W3-1 MARSH, JOHNSON, FAULCONBRIDGE
F 30 MAR Heanor Town W3-0 11912 BLOUNT, JOHNSON, FAULCONBRIDGE

NB. The Final was staged on the Baseball Ground.

CHAMPIONS WINNING START
20TH AUGUST 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 3 NOTTS COUNTY ‘A’ 1
Ilkeston got off to a good start and the result did not reflect their true superiority. Jack Marsh almost marked his debut with an early goal and later was unlucky to have an effort ruled out. However it was Notts who took the lead on 20 minutes when future Ilkeston player Tommy Asher scored from close range. Terry Blount wasted a good opportunity moments later when he chose to shoot instead of passing but he made amends when he scored the equaliser in the 23rd minute. The only time Town looked in danger of not winning came during a spell before half time when they looked vulnerable in defence.

Ilkeston took command after the break and they took the lead on 58 minutes when Blount picked out Ken Ledger who made no mistake. Ken Johnson made certain of the points with a late goal but Ilkeston should have been home and dry by then. Blount missed a great chance when he shot straight at Smith.

TOWN RECOVER FROM SHAKY START
24TH AUGUST 1955
CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 3 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Clay Cross outplayed Town during the first 20 minutes and flew into a two goal lead before Ilkeston clawed their way back to deservedly share the points. Lunn on 4 minutes and Dunn six minutes later appeared to put the hosts on course to a straightforward victory but Town gradually came back into the game. Ken Ledger’s cross was met by a fine Ken Johnson header on 28 minutes to reduce the arrears. Lunn restored Clay Cross’ two goal advantage ten minutes later but Town scored a crucial goal a minute before the break when Jack Marsh converted a Terry Blount corner.

Marsh scored his second in the 58th minute although his joy was shortlived as he pulled a muscle soon after and was a passenger for the rest of the game. Both teams had chances to win the game with Clay Cross’ White guilty of some poor finishing.

TOWN TOO STRONG FOR SOUTH NORMANTON
27TH AUGUST 1955
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 1 ILKESTON TOWN 4
South Normanton’s best spell came early in the game when they found Town ‘keeper Dennis Knibbs in fine form. Otherwise they were overpowered by a strong Ilkeston side and their only goal came two minutes from time when Berry was allowed too much time and space. Town went ahead in the 18th minute when Ken Faulconbridge’s short pass set up Terry Blount and they scored again before half time when Dave Baker’s free kick found Ken Johnson who scored with a simple header.

Ilkeston were in complete control during the second half and added further goals from Jackie Ward on 63 minutes and Faulconbridge nine minutes from the end.

ILKESTON FAIL TO SHINE BUT WON THE POINTS
31ST AUGUST 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 3 LONG EATON TOWN 1
Ilkeston looked ponderous in defence and frequently tried one pass too many up front but despite their lacklustre display they deserved their victory. However it took Long Eaton’s 35th minute opener to sting them into life. The goal was superbly worked. Long Eaton ‘keeper Jackson threw the ball out to Davison who played the ball on to Jepson before receiving a return pass. Johnson then took possession and he played a long crossfield pass to Spiby who controlled the ball before shooting past the advancing Dennis Knibbs. Ilkeston should have had a penalty when former player Eddie Rogers handled after a Jackie Ward header came back off the bar.

Ilkeston equalised ten minutes after the break following a lovely move involving Ken Johnson, Ken Faulconbridge and Ken Ledger whose cross was snapped up by Ward. They took the lead in the 62nd minute when Ledger’s delightful curling shot beat Jackson and Horace Hackland made certain of victory with a well taken penalty in the 79th minute.

MARSH LATE GOAL KILLS STAMFORD CHALLENGE
3RD SEPTEMBER 1955
STAMFORD 1 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Previously unbeaten Stamford enjoyed the better of the first half and were particularly lively in attack but failed to make the most of their chances. However they did take the lead on 10 minutes when Sharpe converted a hotly disputed penalty. Ilkeston equalised in the 25th minute when Jack Marsh’s superb pass released Ken Ledger to score. Marsh was unlucky before half time when his first time shot struck the post.

Ilkeston improved greatly after the break but the game appeared to be heading for a draw due to a series of near misses and wasted opportunites. Then, on 87 minutes, Hall failed to deal with a cross and Marsh took full advantage to win the points. John Commander, on his 150th appearance, and his team mates were able to celebrate a win that their overall performance just about merited.

STEADY ILKESTON DERBY BOOST
7TH SEPTEMBER 1955
LONG EATON TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston began slowly and then had to withstand plenty of Long Eaton pressure for a spell after half time but were still worthy winners. Ilkeston took a first half lead when Ken Johnson nipped onto Jack Marsh’s neat header.

Once Long Eaton ran out of steam in the second half Ilkeston were completely in control. Terry Blount scored a fine goal in the 79th minute when he beat Davison and Halton before lashing home from 16 yards. Their third arrived five minutes time when a lovely move involving Horace Hackland, Blount and Marsh ended with a square pass to Ken Faulconbridge who finished with a crisp shot.

CROSS OUTCLASSED
10TH SEPTEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 6 CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 0
A determined Ilkeston performance eased them to a convincing and well deserved victory. Ilkeston’s forwards worked the ball beautifully and seemingly opened up the Clay Cross defence at will from the moment Terry Blount put them ahead inside the first minute. Although there were no further goals during the first half there was a deluge after the break.

Blount scored again in the 56th minute and further goals came via Ken Faulconbridge and Jack Marsh. When Marsh was brought down Horace Hackland scored from the spot and Ken Ledger capped a fine Town display when he outpaced the defence before placing the ball past Holmes.

LETHAL LEDGER AS LANGWITH LOSE
17TH SEPTEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 4 LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 1
Ilkeston could have won more easily but were guilty of trying to walk the ball in at times and were somewhat unfortunate to strike the woodwork several times. Meanwhile Langwith, with their rough kick and rush style, unsettled Town during the first half before Ilkeston took control. Ilkeston missed three early chances prior to taking a 7th minute lead through Ken Johnson. Langwith equalised when Stocks shot through a crowded goalmouth but Town regained the lead before half time when Ken Faulconbridge linked with Ken Ledger, making his 250th appearance, before cracking home an explosive shot.

Ledger added a third a minute after half time before Jack Marsh concluded the scoring.

DISJOINTED TOWN EDGE TO VICTORY
24TH SEPTEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 2 SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 0
Ilkeston won despite a lack of coherency against a weak Shirebrook team who contributed little apart from their kick and rush tactics. When the visitors got forward Town occasionally looked jittery at the back but the calming influence of ‘keeper Dennis Knibbs meant that they seldom looked like scoring. Ilkeston took an 11th minute lead when Jack Marsh fed Ken Faulconbridge whilst Marsh scored himself after the break when he arrived late into the box before firing into the roof of the net.

TOWN FALL TO FIRST DEFEAT
1ST OCTOBER 1955
RETFORD BRITISH ROPES 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston, with Dave Baker making his 100th appearance, ran out of luck against a Retford team who were in the bottom two of the Central Alliance. Town played some good football and totally dominated the first fifteen minutes. Ropes went close when Dennis Knibbs produced a smart save to turn Dexter’s shot over the bar but Ilkeston went closer still when a Terry Blount shot struck the bar. Jackie Ward was also inches away from scoring with a first half header.

Retford’s goal led a charmed life throughout the second half and they were forced to defend desperately. However they scored the all important goal in the 53rd minute when Fagan headed past Knibbs.

CONVINCING CUP WIN IN CLASH OF GIANTS
8TH OCTOBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 3 SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 1 (FA CUP SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND)
South Normanton, top of the Central Alliance, visited second placed Ilkeston but went home a well beaten side in this FA Cup encounter played in front of a 3000 gate. But for the heroics of Hickman in the visiting goal Town would have won by a greater margin. Ilkeston dominated the first half although Ashcroft missed a great opportunity to put South Normanton ahead against the run of play. Town duly took the lead in the 42nd minute when Jack Marsh pounced after Ken Faulconbridge’s header came back off the bar. The outstanding Dave Baker almost scored with a spectacular 40 yard shot that flew over the bar.

Terry Blount added the second in the second half when he burst into the area and although he appeared to be fouled he retained his balance and composure to score with an angled drive. Marsh got the third when he beat the offside trap and lobbed over the advancing Hickman. The visitors scored a consolation goal through Percival.

FOREST CHOPPED DOWN
15TH OCTOBER 1955
NOTTINGHAM FOREST ‘A’ 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Forest were no match and were soundly beaten by Town. Future Ilkeston player John Bailey was their only threat going forward and they had to thank ‘keeper Sadler, whose sound positional play and three superb first half saves kept the score down even though he should have stopped the first goal. Ilkeston themselves should have scored more but were guilty of some wayward finishing. They were unlucky not to score when Jack Marsh’s shot struck Sadler on the knees and Ken Johnson put the rebound narrowly wide. Then Horace Hackland’s 30 yard strike was well saved. However Town went in front on 20 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge shot straight through Sadler’s arms. Terry Blount added the second ten minutes later when he cleverly lobbed the advancing ‘keeper.

Forest improved slightly in the second half but it was still no surprise when Blount added a third on 67 minutes.

FOOTBALL QUEEN BOOSTS ILKESTON
22ND OCTOBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 9 BOOTS ATHLETIC 0 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston Town’s first football queen, Miss Margaret Ellis, saw her team utterly destroy Boots and Ken Faulconbridge celebrated his 150th appearance by grabbing a hat-trick. Indeed, but for an effort dubiously ruled out for obstruction early on, he would have scored four. Ken Ledger was also unfortunate when his fierce left foot shot flew straight through the net only for the referee to award a goal kick. He ignored his linesman who flagged for a goal although he was forced to admit his mistake later on when he discovered a whole in the net, which was subsequently repaired, but by then it was too late. Boots actually caused Ilkeston a few problems during the opening twenty minutes but the game was killed off as a contest in the 21st minute when Dave Baker’s free kick provided Ken Johnson with a simple finish. The second goal came two minutes later when Jack Marsh tricked his way through the defence and left Faulconbridge with an easy finish. They scored again in the 40th minute when Terry Blount’s corner was slammed in on the turn by Marsh. Town’s fourth came just before half time after Marsh sent Ledger away to fire in a cross shot that deceived ‘keeper Camidge who appeared to be distracted by Faulconbridge’s presence.

It was one way traffic after the break. Marsh was the provider for two more Faulconbridge goals and Horace Hackland scored a penalty after a foul on Terry Blount. Hackland added another before Marsh turned provider again when Johnson concluded the scoring. Marsh, who had an exceptional game, was unlucky to see one shot strike the woodwork.

TOWN BURST NOMADS’ BUBBLE
29TH OCTOBER 1955
ANSTEY NOMADS 2 ILKESTON TOWN 6
Anstey, unbeaten at home, were no match for Ilkeston who took the lead in the 7th minute when Jack Marsh’s shot went into the net despite Freer’s attempt to clear off the line. Ken Faulconbridge added the second on 16 minutes and Marsh scored his second twenty minutes later. Horace Hackland scored the fourth from the penalty spot in the 38th minute. Anstey gave themselves a glimmer of hope before half time when Lowther shot through a crowded goalmouth and into the net.

Play was relatively quiet during the second half until Ken Ledger made it five on 72 minutes. Although Willett pulled a goal back for the home side three minutes later Marsh took centre stage and completed his hat-trick ten minutes from time. Further evidence that this was not Anstey’s day was a missed penalty by Preston.

POSH PROVIDE THE FIREWORKS
5TH NOVEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 1 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 3 (FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND)
A record home attendance of 9592, including over 2500 from Peterborough, saw a titanic struggle between Ilkeston and the best non-League team in the country. Gallant in defeat Town were victims of some dubious decisions by the referee, not least when he refused two clear cut penalties including a blatant foul on Ken Ledger. On the first occasion when Les Disney was brought down he ignored the linesman’s flag. Indeed Ilkeston provided most of the attacking play but their shooting lacked accuracy and when they did fire on target they found ‘keeper Lowery in fine form. Peterborough, on the other hand, were far more potent and it was Hails who gave them an 11th minute lead. United’s only other chance in the first half fell to Donaldson but Dennis Knibbs turned his shot away for a corner.

Two second half breakaway goals ensured there would be no upset. Emery made it two twenty minutes from time and Hails scored his second on 84 minutes. Within a minute Ilkeston scored a deserved consolation goal when Jack Marsh converted a Terry Blount corner.

LATE GOAL ROCKS TOWN
12TH NOVEMBER 1955
SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND)
An 89th minute goal scored by Dulson after former Town player Eddie Rogers had broke clear was totally unexpected in a desperately poor game. Lack of constructive football throughout and an Ilkeston side that played without any sparkle meant that there was little to cheer although Town did take the lead in the 28th minute with a goal of marked quality. Jack Marsh won a loose ball and tapped the ball to Ken Ledger who got round the back of the home defence before setting up Ken Johnson for a simple finish.

Ilkeston improved slightly during the remainder of the first half before losing their way again after the break. Nevertheless they never looked in danger of losing the lead until Dulson’s late equaliser.

RANSOME RAN RAGGED
19TH NOVEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 9 RANSOME & MARLES 3
Ransome & Marles, who had won their previous eleven games, were crushed by a superlative Ilkeston team. They played plenty of good football themselves but had no answers to Town’s devastating attacking play. Ransome ‘keeper Good failed to live up to his name as two errors during the opening five minutes led to Ilkeston goals. Jack Marsh and then Jackie Ward from a Les Disney cross sent Town on their way. The third goal came when Disney took Marsh’s astute pass in his stride and outpaced the defence to score. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 34th minute when Parsons provided Puplett with the chance. Two minutes later Ken Faulconbridge extended Town’s lead before future Ilkeston player Ernie Williamson scored Ransome’s second on the stroke of half time.

Ken Johnson scored Ilkeston’s fifth in the 47th minute and twelve minutes later following a foul by Les Smith Ransome scored again through Parsons’ penalty. Any fears of a Ransome fightback were dispelled by Marsh’s 63rd minute goal and ten minutes later, after Williamson handled, Horace Hackland scored Town’s seventh from the spot. Disney added to the total on 83 minutes and Ward completed the scoring in the final minute.

TEN MAN ILKESTON LATE SHOW EARNS CUP PROGRESS
26TH NOVEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 4 SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 2 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND REPLAY)
A most unpleasant cup tie full of needle was settled by a dramatic Ilkeston comeback during the final fifteen minutes. South Normanton’s do or die attitude coupled with Town’s fighting spirit brought about by Les Disney’s broken leg after only 7 minutes plus a referee who lacked control contributed to the needle. By the time Disney left the pitch Ilkeston were already behind to a Rowlands’ goal in the 3rd minute. His cross completely deceived Dennis Knibbs and went directly into the net. Town had to wait until the 41st minute before they equalised through a Jackie Ward close range header from Ken Faulconbridge’s cross.

Ilkeston did most of the attacking during the second half but fell behind again on 61 minutes when Wheatley’s cross was converted by Dulson. However their fighting spirit pulled them through with three goals in the last 14 minutes. Ward’s cross was driven home by Horace Hackland for the equaliser and, on 78 minutes, Ken Johnson put Town ahead for the first time. Jack Marsh made certain of victory eight minutes from time.

FINALISTS SENT PACKING
3RD DECEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 3 NEW MILLS 0 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP FIRST ROUND)
Last season’s Derbyshire Senior Cup finalists were no match for Ilkeston even though they played some attractive football and Town were guilty of being too casual at times. New Mills of the Manchester League and beaten only once arrived late and the kick off was delayed by 30 minutes. They should have taken the lead when Les Smith handled and Simms shot wide from the spot. Instead it was Ilkeston who went in front on 25 minutes when Terry Blount’s perfect cross was converted by Ken Faulconbridge. New Mills continued to play some nice football but their forwards lacked the cutting edge required and eventually Ilkeston took control.

On 53 minutes Ken Ledger raced down the wing and crossed for Faulconbridge’s second. Blount made it three in the 62nd minute and only lax finishing prevented Town from adding more.

TOWN MAKE LIGHT OF LINBY IN THE DARK
10TH DECEMBER 1955
LINBY COLLIERY 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Ilkeston made light of their opponents and won comfortably despite Ken Johnson, Horace Hackland, Jack Marsh and Dennis Knibbs picking up knocks during the game. The game was a scrappy affair but Town were undoubtedly superior in every department. Despite this Linby had a glorious opportunity to go in front in the 42nd minute but former Town player George Jones struck his penalty straight at Knibbs. Two minutes later Ilkeston were awarded a penalty and Hackland showed Linby how it should be done.

In the gathering gloom Town scored three times in the second half. Ken Faulconbridge made it two on 59 minutes, Terry Blount added another in the 75th minute and John Commander scored a rare goal four minutes later.

ILKESTON HOLD ON FOR POINT
17TH DECEMBER 1955
BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston returned home having done well to earn a point following a difficult final 15 minutes. Town were hampered by the loss of Jack Marsh with a head injury after 35 minutes following a clash of heads with Sinclair. Sinclair also required hospital treatment but, unlike Marsh, was able to return to action for the last ten minutes. Ilkeston were just getting on top prior to the incident but Brush were lively throughout. Fortunately Town’s offside trap limited Brush scoring opportunities although Dennis Knibbs was the busier of the two ‘keepers.

Ilkeston went in front on 49 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge headed home Dave Baker’s free kick. Brush equalised following a harsh penalty award for hands against Les Smith in the 72nd minute and Naylor made no mistake from the spot. The goal gave Brush a boost but Ilkeston were able to hold on for the remainder of the game.

HEANOR SPOIL CHRISTMAS PARTY
24TH DECEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 1 HEANOR TOWN 1
Tenacious Heanor thoroughly deserved their point and indeed could have won the game during the second half. Both teams missed chances early on including Reg France who failed to connect properly with Heanor’s goal at his mercy. However Heanor were the better side during the early exchanges and deservedly took the lead in the 20th minute when future Ilkeston forward Clive Burton scored from a corner taken by another future Town player Brian Hopkins after Dennis Knibbs had produced a full length save from Brady. Ilkeston enjoyed a good spell of pressure before the break but failed to take advantage.

Ilkeston had a chance to equalise early in the second half but Terry Blount slipped at the vital moment. Heanor could easily have doubled their lead when Burton pounced onto George Darwin’s poor backpass, his shot striking the post. Ilkeston’s equaliser came from a Horace Hackland penalty in the 58th minute and it appeared that the points were there for the taking. However the best two chances fell to Heanor. Hopkins was guilty of a bad miss from 12 yards whilst Brady, two minutes from time, shot wide of an open goal when he could have walked the ball into the net.

INJURIES COST TOWN DEAR
26TH DECEMBER 1955
HEANOR TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston’s cause was not helped by nasty injuries picked up by three players. Horace Hackland (thigh) and John Commander (broken nose) sustained their injuries inside the first twenty minutes and thereafter Heanor dominated the game. Commander spent half an hour off the pitch receiving treatment before being able to continue whilst Hackland, who continued as a passenger on the wing, suffered an injury so severe that he was unable to play again for four months. To make matters worse ‘keeper Dennis Knibbs injured his groin and although he bravely carried on he too was sidelined for a month. Future Ilkeston player Clive Burton deservedly put Heanor ahead in the 40th minute after he had squandered several earlier opportunities.

Ilkeston managed to hang on until the 86th minute when their misery was completed by Jack Marsh’s own goal following future Ilkeston player Brian Hopkins’ corner.

DERBY CAPITALISE ON TOWN INEXPERIENCE
31ST DECEMBER 1955
ILKESTON TOWN 1 DERBY COUNTY ‘A’ 2
Injuries from the previous game plus a couple of unnecessary team changes left Ilkeston with a relatively inexperienced side and this ultimately cost them the game. Matters on the injury front grew worse when Terry Blount injured an ankle during the game, an injury that became more complicated by a broken blood vessel. Ilkeston took time to settle yet they should have been in front at half time. Brian Walker twice misdirected headers from close range whilst Stuart Bradwell was too slow to take advantage of a couple of openings presented to him. Town fell behind in the 24th minute when Chapman broke through and crashed the ball past the shaky Jim Mitchell. Ken Faulconbridge equalised seven minutes later with a moment of typical brilliance when he jinked past three defenders before shooting past Adlington. Yet The Rams were back in front four minutes later when future Ilkeston player and local born Charlie Place slipped past George Darwin and crossed for Millin to score.

Derby took control after the break but found Mitchell in a much more confident mood. He made good saves to deny Chapman and Place although Derby would have added to their score but for some wasted chances.

TOWN GOAL RIOT
7TH JANUARY 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 12 GRANTHAM RESERVES 0
Speed of thought, guile and craft were the essential ingredients in Town’s total destruction of Grantham. Remarkably the first 15 minutes were quite even and Ilkeston had to wait 32 minutes before opening the scoring. They came close three times beforehand on each occasion it was a Grantham defender who almost put into his own net. Storey twice and Haynes, who cleared against his own post, breathed huge sighs of relief. However, Ilkeston went ahead without the aid of a visiting defender when Jackie Ward broke away and crossed for Jack Marsh to apply the finishing touch. The seemingly inevitable happened four minutes later when Ken Ledger’s corner was sliced by Coulson into his own net. Ilkeston’s third came on 40 minutes, Marsh converting a Ward cross, and two minutes later Ken Johnson beat Clay and Storey before shooting past Shaw.

Within a minute of the restart Ken Faulconbridge nodded in Johnson’s pass and on 57 minutes Grantham scored their second own goal of the game when Storey turned the ball past Shaw for Town’s sixth. Ilkeston scored again on the hour when Ledger fired the ball off the underside of the bar. Shaw made a fine save from a Marsh header but on 74 minutes Marsh completed his hat-trick. Town went on a remarkable spree when they scored four times in three minutes starting in the 82nd minute with Johnson. Marsh, Faulconbridge and Ledger, with his 100th Ilkeston goal, took Town’s tally to twelve.

TOWN TOO STRONG FOR LONG EATON
14TH JANUARY 1956
LONG EATON TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 6 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP QUARTER-FINAL)
Ilkeston, for whom George Darwin made his 150th appearance, stunned Long Eaton with a goal inside two minutes. Ken Ledger’s cross fell to Jack Marsh and although he miskicked Jackie Ward was on hand to slam the ball in. This setback provoked a strong response from Long Eaton. Bennett firstly had a goal disallowed and then he shot high and wide. Ilkeston doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Ken Johnson took the ball forward and supplied Ken Faulconbridge with the perfect pass. Long Eaton refused to cave in and kept trying to find a way back before half time but Ilkeston’s solid defence held firm.

Ilkeston’s third goal arrived in the 53rd minute. Ward hit the bar following a Faulconbridge cross and when the latter knocked the rebound back into the danger area Marsh made no mistake. He scored again thitreen minutes later following Ward’s cross and Ward added the fifth on 73 minutes. Long Eaton scored a consolation goal inside a minute when Sayers’ cross was headed in by Johnston only for Ilkeston to add another six minutes from time, Ward’s cross being converted by Ledger.

INJURIES SPOIL ILKESTON VICTORY
28TH JANUARY 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 3 ANSTEY NOMADS 1
Ilkeston won this entertaining game but ‘keeper Dennis Knibbs broke a finger and Jackie Ward suffered a knee injury to put a dampener on the celebrations. Town looked like they were going to overwhelm the visitors but the visitors settled down to play some great football before Ilkeston finally took control late in the game. The fog that was threatening to cause the match to be abandoned led to the teams changing straight round at half time. Anstey’s Ellis had a great early chance after a misunderstanding between Dave Baker and Les Smith but he wasted the opportunity. Ilkeston soon got into their stride, however, and after a Jackie Ward header was well saved by Weston and Ken Ledger fired into the side net they took a 5th minute lead when Jack Marsh cracked in Ledger’s cross from 15 yards. Ellis and Bullock had shots that were easily dealt with by Knibbs before Town doubled their lead on 9 minutes. Ledger made a great burst down the right and Ken Johnson met his cross with a fine header. Anstey began to make their mark on the game with Richards forcing Knibbs into a save and they pulled a goal back on 24 minutes when Ellis went past Smith and shot beyond Knibbs. Knibbs needed two attempts to keep out a Muncie shot as both teams attacked strongly before the break.

Play continued to be of an end to end nature until Town scored their third goal on the hour. Marsh took the ball forward from his area before finding Ken Faulconbridge who released Ledger. Weston misjudged the winger’s cross and Ward was left with a simple finish. The goal appeared to deflate Anstey and the game ended with Ilkeston constantly attacking.

CLAY CROSS FREEZE AFTER BREAK
11TH FEBRUARY 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 3 CLAY CROSS MINERS WELFARE 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SEMI FINAL)
The match was in doubt until shortly before kick off and with large areas of the pitch still frozen and bumpy several Ilkeston players chose to wear gloves to protect their hands in the event of a fall. Clay Cross, third in the Central Alliance, adapted very well to the conditions during the first half and were quicker to the ball. Ilkeston, on the other hand, were indecisive and had some anxious moments at the back whilst their forwards had no time to settle. Ilkeston’s only two efforts of note before half time were a Ken Faulconbridge effort that was ruled out for offside and a long range Dave Baker free kick that was saved by Holmes. Clay Cross deservedly went in front on the stroke of half time and came about as a result of a mistake by George Darwin. He missed his kick and the ball ran to Millward who then picked up a return from Lunn to score with a simple finish.

Clay Cross began the second half on the attack and Jim Mitchell saved a long shot by White. Ilkeston gradually got to grips with the conditions and the equaliser came in the 51st minute. Holmes could only half stop a Ken Ledger shot and Jack Marsh was left with an easy chance. Three minutes later Town were in front for the first time. Marsh knocked the ball back to Ledger and his short cross was spectacularly hooked into the net by Ken Johnson. Holmes had to produce a brilliant save from Marsh to prevent a third but he was beaten four minutes from time. Marsh sent Ledger away down the wing and he cut inside before unleashing a powerful shot that Holmes could only parry. Faulconbridge was waiting to nod home the loose ball and book Ilkeston a place in the Final.

STAMFORD HAMMERED
18TH FEBRUARY 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 5 STAMFORD 0
Ilkeston coasted to victory on a thin carpet of snow despite losing Jack Marsh, who pulled a thigh muscle when shaping to shoot early on, at half time. Town ‘keeper Reg Ball made a stylish save to keep out a Beck shot and then produced a one handed save to deny Goodwin but Ilkeston put Stamford under plenty of pressure after the opening 15 minutes. Ken Ledger went close when he latched onto Mike Fitch’s through ball but Taylor managed to get his fingers to his attempted lob. Ledger had more joy in the 39th minute, however, when Taylor made an error. Coming out of his goal to try to clear Ken Faulconbridge’s through pass he missed it completely and Ledger was able to walk the ball into the net.

Ten man Town scored their second a minute after the restart when Ken Johnson touched the ball through to Terry Blount who made no mistake. Within three minutes they scored again with a fine goal. Faulconbridge beat two men along the dead ball line, cut back inside and screwed the ball past Taylor. On 54 minutes Johnson burst through to make it four and to cap a fine afternoon he added another six minutes from time.

TOWN BRUSHED SPORTS ASIDE
3RD MARCH 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 3 BRUSH SPORTS RESERVES 0
Ilkeston won comfortably and the margin would have been much greater but for some excellent goalkeeping by Scotchbrook and some over confident play. It was an unhappy afternoon for Brush and their former Ilkeston player Frank Bell in particular. He was booked for a foul on Mike Fitch. Ken Ledger nearly scored a fine goal early on when he beat two defenders by sheer pace but he sliced his shot off target. Ken Faulconbridge also had a good chance when he was put clear but his shot was deflected away from the goal by Scotchbrook. The ‘keeper then made fine saves from Jack Marsh (who was clearly still injured from the previous week), Ken Johnson and Ledger. Then when the ball came back off the Brush crossbar Marsh missed the rebound. Town took the lead with a great goal on 23 minutes, however. Ledger found Johnson who wormed his way along the by line before passing the ball perfectly to Faulconbridge who tapped the ball into the net. Faulconbridge almost scored a second before the break when he whisked the ball off the foot of the struggling Marsh but his powerful shot was well held by Scotchbrook.

Town went further ahead within a minute of the restart. Johnson ran through before supplying Marsh with a simple finish. Play became quite robust for a time and Town’s third came from the penalty spot in the 76th minute. Ledger had been fouled by Matts and Dave Baker did the necessary.

ILKESTON KEEP COOL IN FACE OF HOSTILITY
10TH MARCH 1956
BELPER TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
This scrappy game, watched by 1500 who hoped to see a classic encounter between the second and fifth placed clubs, was marred by numerous fouls and an unpleasant atmosphere off the pitch. Belper’s former Ilkeston player, Phil Bibby, received a lecture from the referee following a verbal confrontation with an Ilkeston supporter and at the final whistle a Belper fan ran onto the pitch and managed to kick Dave Baker. Ilkeston began the game strongly but Ken Johnson, Ken Faulconbridge and Ken Ledger each wasted good chances and John Vine’s backheader just cleared the bar. They deservedly went in front in the 15th minute when Faulconbridge headed in Terry Blount’s cross. Ledger then tested Radford with a shot before Dennis Knibbs had to make his first save of the afternoon in keeping out Astle’s cross shot. Ilkeston doubled their lead three minutes before half time when Vine evaded Butler before putting the ball through to Ledger for a simple finish.

Belper were more positive after the break but rued two missed chances by Page and Warrington. Astle blazed another opportunity high and wide. Ilkeston also spurned a great chance to increase their lead when Johnson lifted the ball over from six yards.

TOWN CRUISE AGAINST CRESWELL
17TH MARCH 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 8 CRESWELL COLLIERY 1
Town crushed Creswell and moved up to third place. Eleven points behind leaders Ransome & Marles Ilkeston had six games in hand. It took only two minutes for them to take the lead. Varley headed out Ken Ledger’s corner straight to Ken Faulconbridge who volleyed into the net. The second goal came in the 20th minute when Ledger scored after John Vine’s clever header came back off the bar. Two minutes later Vine split the Creswell defence open and Terry Blount cut inside to shoot past Trolley. Incredibly Ilkeston scored again within a minute when Storey’s poor clearance was lobbed into the net from 18 yards by Ken Johnson. Another defensive error enabled Blount to intercept and make it five in the 34th minute. Town had a big penalty appeal turned down before half time when Vine was brought down in the box.

Ilkeston took just three minutes after the break to score again through a long range dipping shot by Mike Fitch. Creswell scored a bizarre consolation in the 58th minute when Dennis Knibbs comfortably caught a Staniforth shot but his instant attempted clearance bounced off the Creswell player and went into the net. Ilkeston added a seventh two minutes later when Ledger raced past Taylor and crossed to Vine who controlled the ball, evaded Storey and shot beyond Trolley. Town played a bit sloppily during the final half hour but were still able to score an eighth through Johnson.

BLOUNT DOUBLE CELEBRATION
24TH MARCH 1956
GRANTHAM RESERVES 0 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Two Terry Blount second half goals, on his 100th appearance, ensured that Town saw off the challenge of a Grantham Reserves side that was previously unbeaten at home. It was an excellent victory for Ilkeston, especially as the home side contained several first teamers, and the win moved them up to second in the table. Ilkeston had the first effort on goal when Dave Baker’s free kick was palmed away by Shaw but they had to spend considerable time on the defensive. A Kirk shot was headed clear by Baker, Wright shot over when in the clear and Dennis Knibbs made a fine save from Coulson. The game turned when Ilkeston took the lead through Ken Faulconbridge who converted a Ken Ledger cross following a burst down the right. Their second goal arrived on 30 minutes when indecisiveness between Storey and Reeves allowed Faulconbridge to nip in and force the ball past Shaw.

Grantham began the second half brightly and Baker had to head Kirk’s shot off the line but with Knibbs in commanding form the home side eventually ran out of steam. Blount made it three in the 75th minute and he scored again seven minutes later following an excellent cross by Faulconbridge. John Vine should have added his name to the scorers but he missed an easy chance.

ILKESTON SHINE UNDER LIGHTS TO WIN CUP
30TH MARCH 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 3 HEANOR TOWN 0 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP FINAL @ BASEBALL GROUND)
Ilkeston deserved to win the Derbyshire Senior Cup for the third time against a nervy Heanor side that shared the possession but frequently failed to shoot when opportunities arose. Ilkeston, on the other hand, were more than happy to have a go and they were duly rewarded. The closest Heanor came to scoring was when the off balance Dennis Knibbs appeared to be falling back over the line but the alert Dave Baker kicked the ball out of his hands to safety. Heanor ‘keeper Lynch made the save of the match when he fingertip saved a hook shot by John Vine who took plenty of stick during the game and required three stitches under his chin after the final whistle following a collision with Rawson. It was a typical cup tie and a memorable occasion under the Derby County floodlights watched by a massive 11912 attendance, the biggest crowd ever to attend an Ilkeston Town match.

Ilkeston took the lead in the 11th minute when Heanor failed to clear a corner and Terry Blount made no mistake. Ken Johnson lobbed over with the goal at his mercy but made amends on 53 minutes with a well taken goal. Ilkeston made certain of victory in the 64th minute when Vine’s dummy run left space for Ken Faulconbridge to exploit and score a delightful goal.

FOREST FIRE LEAVES HOPES UP IN SMOKE
31ST MARCH 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 3 NOTTINGHAM FOREST ‘A’ 4
Just 24 hours after winning the Derbyshire Senior Cup Ilkeston’s title hopes suffered a real blow. Forest got off to a sensational start by scoring twice in the first 58 seconds. Greasley beat George Darwin and crossed for Cluroe to scramble home within 30 seconds and the same player scored again when he found himself clean through after Dave Baker missed his kick. From then on Town held their own but the damage had been done. Nevertheless they did most of the attacking during the first half and were rewarded when Les Disney, who began the move, scored in the 41st minute by converting a Ken Ledger cross. Terry Blount then had a chance to equalise before the break but he took too long to get a shot in.

Town continued to attack after half time but were struck by a sucker punch in the 53rd minute when Burton scored after Ilkeston could only half clear a corner. Undaunted they pulled a goal back within a minute thanks to a Baker penalty after Tom Cooper (later an Ilkeston player) handled. However they were unable to find an equaliser and began to look sluggish in defence and Fryer added Forest’s fourth with a 79th minute free kick. Town threw everything at Forest during the last ten minutes. Blount had a header cleared off the line by Butler and a Ledger shot skimmed the bar. Excitement mounted when Disney nipped in to score Ilkeston’s third three minutes from time but there was insufficient time to score an unlikely equaliser.

TOWN DREAM TURNING INTO A NIGHTMARE
2ND APRIL 1956
CRESWELL COLLIERY 2 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston’s chances of clinching a fifth successive Central Alliance title reduced further as a result of this second successive defeat. The return of Horace Hackland to the team as the result of an injury crisis did not help because it was soon clear that he was not fully recovered himself. Despite this Town looked confident after surviving early Creswell pressure and they took the lead in the 22nd minute after Grant handled, Dave Baker striking home a hard, low penalty. They were well on top until a horrendous mix up allowed Freeman to equalise on 37 minutes. Dennis Knibbs did well to save from Beech while Coupland tipped over a Baker shot at the other end.

Disaster struck in the 55th minute when a deep corner was driven home by Beresford to give Creswell the lead and the setback seemed to knock the stuffing out of Ilkeston. They managed to stage a late rally but were frustrated by some blatant Creswell time wasting and an excellent Coupland save from Ken Faulconbridge.

DISNEY TIME
4TH APRIL 1956
DERBY COUNTY ‘A’ 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Les Disney was the Ilkeston hero with both goals as they were involved in their very first floodlight league match and their fading title hopes received a much needed boost. The home side played fast, clever football during the opening stages and Newbury shot over. However once they began to fade Town took control. Ken Faulconbridge overran a great chance before the break.

Ilkeston were the better side after half time and Derby had Smith to thank for clearing Terry Blount’s shot off the line. Disney headed over and a fine shot by John Commander was tipped over by Jackson as the pressure mounted. Town were not to be denied and finally went in front in the 75th minute when Jackson failed to deal with Dave Baker’s free kick and Disney pounced to score. Disney scored the crucial second with another opportunist goal five minutes later when he took full advantage of Blount’s cross.

BAKER BLASTS LATE WARNING TO TITLE CHALLENGERS
7TH APRIL 1956
LANGWITH MINERS WELFARE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston overcame adversity and showed that they were not going to give up the Central Alliance championship without a fight. Langwith’s aggressive kick and rush style was always going to test Ilkeston and it looked like the game was going to end in a draw before Dave Baker scored a dramatic winner three minutes from time. The game began at a fast pace and Dennis Knibbs was quickly brought into action when he caught a Charlesworth header. Nevertheless Ilkeston had some attacking ideas of their own. Ken Faulconbridge shot just too high, Ken Johnson shot straight at Errington who then turned the follow up over the bar, and Baker’s long range drive was off target. The pressure paid off in the 21st minute when Baker’s long free kick was backheaded into the net by Jack Marsh. They didn’t hold the lead for long, however, as Langwith equalised on 29 minutes. Knibbs was to blame when he misjudged the flight of Watts’ dipping header from Parrott’s free kick. Worse was to follow when Langwith went in front five minutes before half time with another Watts header from a Parrott cross.

The home side continued to pose problems after the break but Ilkeston defended stoutly whilst enjoying some good fortune when Doyle’s effort was ruled out for offside. Town hauled themselves back into the game in the 62nd minute. Johnson sent Ken Ledger away down the right and his cross was deflected by Errington straight to Marsh who was left with a simple finish. The winner came in the 87th minute when the referee awarded Ilkeston an indirect free kick six yards out. Town’s dismay at the absence of the expected penalty award turned to joy when Marsh touched the ball to Baker who blasted the ball through the eleven man wall into the net.

POINT SQUANDERED AGAINST SUTTON
9TH APRIL 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 2 SUTTON TOWN 2
Late Sutton pressure resulted in an inevitable equaliser three minutes from time when Staples headed in Praksi’s free kick. Ilkeston rarely produced their best football in a match that both teams justifiably felt they could have won. Town’s afternoon began badly when John Vine collided with Russell Smith which resulted in stitches close to his left eye, and he was off the field for 18 minutes for treatment. Undeterred Ilkeston attacked and Ken Faulconbridge forced Goodwin into a smart save whilst Les Disney went inches too high. Sutton began to make the most of their numerical advantage and Mortimer shot wide with Dennis Knibbs unsighted and then he forced Ilkeston’s ‘keeper into a save. The return of Vine failed to restrain Sutton. Knibbs made a point blank range save to keep out Praksi before Sutton took a deserved 25th minute lead. The Town defence managed to block several shots but could do nothing about Robinson’s finish. The closest Ilkeston came to a first half equaliser was when Goodwin saved Vine’s hook shot.

Sutton could easily have gone further ahead early in the second half but Staples unwisely chose to pull the ball back when a better option would have been to shoot, and George Darwin cleared. Both teams went close as Brown headed a Faulconbridge effort off the line whilst Darwin cleared a Mortimer header off the line at the other end. Goodwin produced two saves to keep out Faulconbridge and John Commander before Ilkeston equalised in the 68th minute. Les Disney’s cross picked out Faulconbridge who fired home his 100th goal. Suddenly Ilkeston were on top and Alwyn Booth headed just wide. Then, on 75 minutes, they surged ahead when Dave Baker sent Terry Blount away and he held off a challenge before shooting hard and low past Goodwin. But they were unable to keep up the pressure and allowed Sutton to take the initiative in the latter stages which resulted in Staples’ late leveller.

RANSOME MOVE EVER CLOSER
14TH APRIL 1956
RANSOME & MARLES 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston had to win this clash of the titans to stand any realistic chance of keeping onto the Central Alliance championship. As it was they frequently had the home side’s defence in trouble but failed to capitalize. Ransome, rarely seen as an attacking force, failed to threaten too greatly until they scored twice in three minutes during the second half. The home side launched an early attack when Bean beat three defenders but Dennis Knibbs saved his shot. Ransome ‘keeper Moss just won a race for a through ball ahead of John Vine and he was called in action again to save from Ken Johnson. Bean fired a 25 yard drive inches over but Ransome’s biggest threat was aerial. Ilkeston combated this effectively, however, and they came closest to breaking the deadlock when Ken Faulconbridge’s shot skimmed the bar. Town had an anxious moment when Ernie Williamson (later an Ilkeston player) beat Knibbs to a corner but Mike Fitch was on hand to clear. Sustained Ilkeston pressure before half time brought no reward. Ken Johnson struck a weak free kick wide of the post, Ken Ledger’s cross flew across the face of the goal and Ledger, Johnson, Faulconbridge and Vine each had shots saved by Moss. Johnson then fired into the side net.

Ransome fired a warning early in the second half when the well placed Parsons shot wide when well placed, as did Terry Blount at the other end. The all important first goal came in the 58th minute. Although Les Smith was able to clear McColl’s cross Williamson returned the ball into the danger area and Parsons breasted the ball in. Three minutes later Ransome scored again thanks to a cheeky Puplett backheel following another McColl cross. The goal seemed to knock the heart of the Ilkeston players who perhaps had come to realise that Town’s time as the dominant force of the Central Alliance was coming to a close.

LISTLESS ILKESTON SCRAPE A POINT
18TH APRIL 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 1 SOUTH NORMANTON MINERS WELFARE 1
Second place South Normanton left the Manor Ground with only a point despite dominating a listless under par Ilkeston team. Goalkeeper Hickman had precious little to do except tipping over a sliced clearance by Smith and a save from a Ken Faulconbridge. When he was beaten it was from the penalty spot in the 67th minute by Dave Baker. South Normanton went close to scoring on several occasions and deservedly took the lead in the 47th minute when Dulson converted a right wing cross.

BIBBY OFF IN BELPER BATTLE
21ST APRIL 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BELPER TOWN 0
Former Ilkeston player Phil Bibby was sent off an hour into the game following repeated warnings by the referee. He had been guilty of charging Ilkeston players on several occasions and had also shown dissent towards the referee. Fortunately the official was strong throughout a game during which tempers threatened to boil over. Ilkeston deserved their victory, although the first half was fairly even despite Belper’s Hudson’s departure from the pitch after being struck in the face by the ball. He was able to resume in time for the second half. Both sides missed opportunities to go into the break with a lead.

Ilkeston gained the upper hand after half time and former player Alan Cleveley had to make two important clearances. Future Ilkeston manager Ken Rawson had a chance to put Belper ahead but his hesitation allowed John Commander to dispossess him. The game erupted into violence when Ken Faulconbridge was obstructed by Belper. Faulconbridge pushed Butler away as he tried to take a quick free kick and the pair began fighting as other players threatened to join in. The referee managed to break it up and the players escaped with a lecture. Cleveley then charged Jackie Ward as the match turned even more nasty. A game of football broke out in the 55th minute and Ilkeston took the lead. Faulconbridge was in an offside position but a Belper defender played him on by touching the ball into his path and the Ilkeston player made certain. Minutes later came Bibby’s sending off yet ten man Belper could easily have scored when Cleveley misdirected his effort from Rawson’s cross. Generally though, Ilkeston were on top and they made certain of victory when Faulconbridge added his and Town’s second.

ILKESTON EDGE IT AT MATLOCK
23RD APRIL 1956
MATLOCK TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Matlock’s do or die style plus their refusal to give up after falling behind posed problems for Ilkeston. However The Gladiators’ lack of penetration up front was a decisive factor. Ilkeston meanwhile had much less of the ball but looked more dangerous and should have made the game safe long before the end. They forced plenty of corners but only made one of them count. That was in the 31st minute when Ken Faulconbridge headed home Ken Johnson’s flag kick.

SPOT ON BAKER CRACKS STUBBORN LINBY
26TH APRIL 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 2 LINBY COLLIERY 1
The smallest Manor Ground crowd for several years were frustrated as Linby’s stubborn and sometimes desperate defending held Ilkeston at bay. Town finally broke through on 72 minutes with a Dave Baker penalty after Linby had scored an unlikely equaliser a minute into the second half. Their goal was scored by Wallhead who guided the ball past Dennis Knibbs following a goalmouth scramble.

Town, who were superior in every department throughout the game, had taken a 35th minute lead through Ken Faulconbridge.

COOL TOWN EARN DESERVED VICTORY
28TH APRIL 1956
SHIREBROOK MINERS WELFARE 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Shirebrook’s kick and rush style mixed with a helping of the rough stuff failed to intimidate a cool and constructive Ilkeston team that came away with a deserved victory. The winning goal, in the 28th minute, came when a free kick into the box was headed in from close range by Ken Ledger. Dennis Knibbs produced a brilliant save to deny Lack an equaliser but his opposite number was the busier of the two ‘keepers. Emptage somehow managed to scoop out a goalbound John Vine effort and he later robbed Ken Faulconbridge who had delayed his shot too long. Knibbs was in the wars after half time as he received some rough treatment and he was knocked out cold at one stage. The game was halted for several minutes as the magic sponge brought him back to the land of the living. Terry Blount wasted a golden opportunity to make the game safe and this could have been costly. Late in the game Dave Baker made an error but his superb recovery thwarted Lack in his attempt to equalise.

TITLE DREAM OVER
2ND MAY 1956
NOTTS COUNTY ‘A’ 2 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston’s slender hopes of a fifth successive Central Alliance title finally disappeared when they were beaten by a splendid Notts side. Yet the match began well for Ilkeston and they deservedly went in front on 11 minutes when Terry Blount’s corner was met by a Dennis Breedon header. Breedon’s joy was short lived as he was hit in the face soon after and he required an eye patch. Notts settled down after and played some polished, fluent football. They equalised in the 35th minute when John Commander handled and Brunt converted the resultant penalty.

Notts’ winner came on 65 minutes when Bircumshaw’s excellent free kick went into the net via the post. Ilkeston attacked strongly during the latter stages but Notts ‘keeper Smith was in fine form and Town couldn’t find an equaliser.

TOWN WIN TWO MATCHES IN ONE DAY
4TH MAY 1956
SUTTON TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 4
ILKESTON TOWN 6 MATLOCK TOWN 0
Ilkeston’s huge backlog of fixtures during the final weeks of the season left them with no alternative but to play two matches simultaneously. The eleven who travelled to Sutton were mainly first team players whilst those who played in the home match with Matlock were predominantly reserves with a couple of first team regulars thrown in. Remarkably Ilkeston won both matches in style.

Ilkeston dominated the game at Sutton and scored 3 goals in the opening 17 minutes. They took the lead in the 6th minute when the unmarked Ken Faulconbridge converted a Horace Hackland cross. John Vine quickly added a second and they added a third when Terry Blount latched onto an overhit Dennis Breedon pass intended for Vine. Vine scored his second and Town’s fourth during the second half before Robinson broke through and blasted a 77th minute consolation goal for the home side.

Meanwhile at the Manor Ground Town’s inexperienced side produced a delightful display against bottom club Matlock. They took the lead in the 28th minute when ‘keeper Wildgoose could only punch Jackie Ward’s excellent free kick into the net. This was Ward’s final first team game for Ilkeston and the free kick set a club record of 139 career goals. Jack Marsh’s 36th minute penalty doubled their lead and they scored a third a minute before half time when good work between Marsh and Malcolm Chambers ended with a beautiful cross shot by Stuart Bradwell. A fine angled drive by Ken Ledger from a Ward cross made it four and when Wildgoose couldn’t hold a Tom Birks shot Marsh was on hand to score another. Marsh completed his hat-trick after Roy Buck cleverly dummied Ward’s cross. ‘Keeper Jim Mitchell only had two saves to make and both were from Middleton.

SEASON ENDS ON WINNING NOTE
5TH MAY 1956
ILKESTON TOWN 2 RETFORD TOWN 1
To prevent a clash with the FA Cup Final it was decided to make this game an evening kick off and the match was delayed by 30 minutes due to the late arrival of the Retford team. The lack of preparation didn’t disturb the visitors and they fought for everything but their lack of finishing skills meant they left Ilkeston empty handed. All three goals came during a frantic nine minute spell midway through the second half. Ilkeston took the lead on 63 minutes when Ken Faulconbridge met a Terry Blount cross but the lead lasted for just six minutes. Dennis Knibbs wrestled Hunt to the ground and Gardner scored from the spot. Blount ensured Town’s season ended on a winning note when he scored following a goalmouth scramble in the 72nd minute.


1955/56 CENTRAL ALLIANCE DIVISION TWO FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts H A
1 Creswell Colliery Reserves 34 23 6 5 127 53 52
2 ILKESTON TOWN RESERVES 34 19 9 6 101 44 47 X X
3 Wilmorton & Alvaston 34 22 3 9 121 59 47
4 Arnold St Marys 34 21 4 9 102 74 46 7-1 1-1
5 Ollerton Colliery 34 21 3 10 122 59 45
6 Arnold Rovers 34 20 4 10 109 83 44 3-3 3-0
7 Kimberley YMCA 34 16 7 11 109 83 39
8 Belper Town Reserves 34 16 5 13 95 86 37
9 Long Eaton Zingari 34 15 5 14 83 85 35
10 Stanton Ironworks 34 12 6 16 76 85 30
11 Ironville Amateurs 34 13 4 17 103 127 30
12 Heanor Town Reserves 34 12 6 16 80 101 30
13 Shirebrook Miners Welfare Reserves 34 12 5 17 90 104 29
14 Sutton Town Reserves 34 12 3 19 80 104 27
15 Linby Colliery Reserves 34 11 3 20 79 105 25
16 Retford British Ropes Reserves 33 7 4 22 75 158 18
17 Loscoe Miners Welfare 34 7 3 24 52 121 17
18 Awsworth Villa 33 5 2 26 50 123 12  

NB. Retford British Ropes Reserves and Awsworth Villa did not complete their fixtures.

DERBYSHIRE DIVISIONAL CUP FINAL @ GRESLEY ROVERS
NEWHALL UNITED 1 ILKESTON TOWN RESERVES 5