11 24






1972/73 SOUTHERN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION (NORTH) FINAL TABLE

    P W D L F A Pts
1 Grantham 42 29 8 5 113 41 66
2 Atherstone Town 42 23 11 8 82 48 57
3 Cheltenham Town 42 24 8 10 87 47 56
4 Rugby Town 42 20 10 12 60 47 50
5 Kidderminster Harriers 42 19 12 11 67 56 50
6 Merthyr Tydfil 42 17 12 13 51 40 46
7 Corby Town 42 14 16 12 62 56 44
8 Stourbridge 42 16 11 15 70 64 43
9 Gloucester City 42 18 7 17 55 64 43
10 Bromsgrove Rovers 42 17 8 17 63 54 42
11 Redditch United 42 18 6 18 58 59 42
12 Banbury United 42 18 5 19 60 53 41
13 Wellingborough Town 42 17 7 18 58 71 41
14 Kings Lynn 42 14 12 16 45 49 40
15 Lockheed Leamington 42 13 12 17 51 58 38
16 Enderby Town 42 12 14 16 50 61 38
17 Stevenage Athletic 42 12 13 17 50 63 37
18 Tamworth 42 14 8 20 45 65 36
19 Bury Town 42 13 9 20 52 69 35
20 Barry Town 42 11 10 21 45 71 32
21 ILKESTON TOWN 42 9 6 27 35 68 24
22 Bedworth United 42 10 3 29 42 94 23


1972/73 SOUTHERN LEAGUE RESULTS

DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
12 AUG KINGS LYNN L1-2 407 STAINWRIGHT (PEN)
19 AUG Barry Town D2-2 BROWN, BATES
26 AUG BROMSGROVE ROVERS L0-1 367
02 SEP Atherstone Town L0-4
09 SEP CHELTENHAM TOWN L0-3 257
12 SEP Lockheed Leamington D1-1 BROWN
23 SEP KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS L0-2 261
30 SEP Bromsgrove Rovers L0-2
07 OCT LOCKHEED LEAMINGTON W3-1 260 BALL 2, RATCLIFFE
14 OCT Bury Town L0-1
21 OCT CORBY TOWN D0-0 227
28 OCT Wellingborough Town L0-1
04 NOV GLOUCESTER CITY L0-1 242
11 NOV Redditch United L1-3 BATES
18 NOV STOURBRIDGE W3-2 RAYMOND, GULSON 2
21 NOV Tamworth L0-1 413
09 DEC Rugby Town L0-2
23 DEC REDDITCH UNITED L0-1
06 JAN Kidderminster Harriers L1-3 480 WALLER
13 JAN Stevenage Athletic L0-1
27 JAN Cheltenham Town L0-2
03 FEB BANBURY UNITED W3-1 166 BATES, SCARFF, BALL (PEN)
10 FEB MERTHYR TYDFIL D1-1 310 BALL
17 FEB Banbury United L1-3 BATES
03 MAR Corby Town L0-3
10 MAR BURY TOWN W2-0 121 BUCKLEY, FAIRBROTHER
17 MAR Gloucester City L0-3
21 MAR Enderby Town W2-0 BROWN, BATES
24 MAR WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN W2-0 122 BATES, BALL (PEN)
26 MAR Bedworth United L1-2 G.RYE
31 MAR TAMWORTH W3-0 155 RATCLIFFE, BATES, ELLIS
07 APR BEDWORTH UNITED D1-1 ELLIS
09 APR Grantham L0-3
12 APR ATHERSTONE TOWN L1-3 BATES
14 APR RUGBY TOWN L1-2 BUCKLEY
17 APR Merthyr Tydfil L0-3
20 APR Kings Lynn L0-1 339
21 APR Stourbridge L1-3 RAYMOND
23 APR ENDERBY TOWN W1-0 64 RATCLIFFE
26 APR BARRY TOWN W2-1 BATES, RATCLIFFE
01 MAY GRANTHAM L1-2 300 BATES
03 MAY STEVENAGE ATHLETIC D0-0  

1972/73 FA CUP RESULTS
ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT
1QR 16 SEP Heanor Town D0-0
IQRrep 19 SEP HEANOR TOWN L0-2


1972/73 FA TROPHY RESULT
ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT
1R 02 DEC Bradford Park Avenue L0-2

1972/73 DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP RESULTS
ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1R 16 AUG NEWHALL UNITED W5-0 197 BROWN 3, PATRICK, BATES
QF 30 AUG GRESLEY ROVERS W5-0 RAYMOND 3, NAKUTIS, BROWN
SF 26 DEC Buxton D0-0
SFrep 24 FEB BUXTON L0-3 440  

1972/73 SOUTHERN LEAGUE CUP RESULTS
ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
1R1L 22 AUG GRANTHAM D0-0 536
1R2L 04 SEP Grantham D0-0 874
1Rrep 14 SEP Grantham W1-0 BROWN
2R 18 OCT BURTON ALBION W3-2 150 BROWN 2, GULSON
3R 12 DEC CORBY TOWN W1-0 GULSON
QF 30 JAN Cambridge City L0-2 796

LINNETS WIN IT
12TH AUGUST 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 1 KINGS LYNN 2
Ilkeston began well and went on to enjoy the majority of the play but they didn’t perform well as a unit. Consequently the visitors’ packed defence coped easily enough and they broke out dangerously regularly as Ilkeston began to lose their grip in midfield. Yet The Robins early dominance suggested that they would win the game. Winston Raymond scored with a brilliant effort only for play to be brought back for an Ilkeston free kick after he had been impeded in the build up. Raymond also went close with a spectacular overhead kick that went just wide. However, it was Kings Lynn who took the lead on 12 minutes when Mick Robertson could only direct his header into his own net following a corner. Ilkeston went close to an equaliser shortly before half time when Ralph Brown’s close range volley brought a fingertip save from Steel.

Kings Lynn’s dangerous counter attacking led to them doubling their lead in the second half when Clarke went past debutant Geoff Ball and ran in to shoot low past Graham Pigott. Dave Stainwright gave The Robins hope when he pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute but in truth they never looked like salvaging a point.

ROBINS CRUISE THROUGH
16TH AUGUST 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 5 NEWHALL UNITED 0 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP FIRST ROUND)
Ilkeston put Newhall to the sword and the damage was done during the first half. The second half was a poor one as Ilkeston rarely broke sweat, frustrated Newhall gave away countless free kicks, and The Robins allowed themselves to be drawn into some personal vendettas. Ralph Brown headed over within seconds of the start but he didn’t have to wait long to get on the scoresheet. A poor clearance fell to him and he beat the exposed ‘keeper Milligan with just a minute gone. Brown scored again with a well taken lob in the 22nd minute before Roger Patrick’s volley eluded Milligan to make it three.

Brown completed his hat-trick on 67 minutes when he pushed home after Brian Bates’ header hit the bar. Bates completed the scoring with a vicious drive two minutes from time.

ILKESTON BATTLE BACK AT BARRY
19TH AUGUST 1972
BARRY TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Two goals in the last twenty minutes saw Ilkeston pick up a well deserved point and they could easily have collected both as they piled on late pressure in search of an elusive winner. Ayres gave Barry the lead on 29 minutes during an even first half and when they extended their lead through Grotly in the 65th minute it looked as if Ilkeston were heading for defeat. Ilkeston fought back strongly with Ralph Brown heading home five minutes later and Brian Bates equalised with six minutes remaining.

STALEMATE AS WOODWORK SAVES ROBINS
22ND AUGUST 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 GRANTHAM 0 (LEAGUE CUP FIRST ROUND FIRST LEG)
Play fluctuated from end to end throughout but with both defences on top and the ‘keepers in fine form, particularly Grantham’s Gardiner who made several fine saves, the anticipated goals never came. The closest Ilkeston came was on the hour when Phil Waller supplied Winston Raymond who got to the by line and crossed to Ralph Brown who smashed his effort against the post. Grantham almost snatched a winner in the closing stages. With Ilkeston’s defence all at sea Chapman pounced on a loose ball and ran forward before squaring to former Robins’ striker Bob Norris who blasted a shot against the frame of the goal.

ROVERS RATTLE ROBINS IN BITTER BATTLE
26TH AUGUST 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 BROMSGROVE ROVERS 1
Two feuding teams and a referee that lacked control spoiled the game. From the moment that Phil Waller was chopped down in the first minute the trend was set and as a result the game lacked rhythm, particularly during the first half. Ironically Waller later found himself in the referee’s book later in the game although far worse fouls had been committed by players from both sides. Town began the stronger and Ralph Brown forced Hooper into a fine double save. But gradually Ilkeston lost their way and Bromsgrove improved sufficiently to take the lead before half time when John Gulson’s poor clearance allowed Craddock to fire home a hard shot from 8 yards. Nevertheless Ilkeston were unlucky to find themselves behind at this point.

Bromsgrove were the more positive side in the second half and they deserved both points in the end. As Ilkeston’s frustration grew Geoff Ball was booked for retalliation on Fleet late in the game. Ilkeston did create chances during the game, the best ones falling to Winston Raymond with a header and Brown who shot over when in the clear.

ILKESTON’S LATE SHOW EARNS SEMI FINAL PLACE
30TH AUGUST 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 5 GRESLEY ROVERS 0 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL)
The final score didn’t reflect the nature of the game as Gresley gave as good as they got for over an hour. Indeed they were the better side until Winston Raymond caught ‘keeper Slaney by surprise to give Ilkeston a 34th minute lead. Gresley had chances to equalise. Graham Pigott had to block a Liddle shot and Bennett missed his kick from the rebound with the goal at his mercy.

John Nakutis’ fine individual effort on 63 minutes gave The Robins some breathing space and they took control late in the game. Phil Waller and Nakutis combined to set up Ralph Brown for the third on 72 minutes and Town scored again a minute later when a clever move involving Brian Bates and Raymond ended with the latter finding the target. Raymond completed his hat-trick two minutes from time when he skilfully beat several defenders in the area before finishing.

ADDERS VENOM SLAYS ROBINS
2ND SEPTEMBER 1972
ATHERSTONE TOWN 4 ILKESTON TOWN 0
A dreadful first half showing by Ilkeston saw them lucky to be only two goals adrift at the break. They improved after half time but were unable to prevent Atherstone from adding further goals. Ilkeston created an early opportunity and David Stainwright saw his shot turned round the post by ‘keeper Withers but things quickly went downhill from there. Atherstone took the lead on 13 minutes when Mick Wyld headed Harper’s cross into his own net. Mansfield added a second with a fine shot two minutes later.

The Robins snapped out of their lethargy in the second half but Paul Bownes and Ralph Brown missed straightforward chances whilst the home side scored twice more.

GOALLESS AT GRANTHAM
4TH SEPTEMBER 1972
GRANTHAM 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (LEAGUE CUP FIRST ROUND SECOND LEG)
The teams played out their second successive nil nil draw to take the tie to a replay although both Grantham, who went on to win the title, and Ilkeston worked hard to break the deadlock. Ilkeston were under heavy pressure early on but gradually came more into the game during the first half. They came close to taking the lead when Geoff Ball pushed forward from deep and crossed to Paul Bownes whose header produced a good stop from Gardiner.

Grantham began the second half brightly but once again Ilkeston grew in stature and The Robins created the clearer opportunities but failed to make them count. The draw was a fair result of an entertaining game in which Ralph Brown was making his 250th appearance for Ilkeston.

WALLER UNDER FIRE AS ILKESTON CRASH
9TH SEPTEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 CHELTENHAM TOWN 3
Player manager Phil Waller came under fire from Ilkeston fans who demanded his departure after just nine games in charge. Ilkeston did not play badly but were outclassed by a vibrant, entertaining Cheltenham team. During a thrilling first half that Cheltenham dominated Ilkeston did have strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Roger Patrick appeared to have been brought down but almost all of the attacking came from the visitors. The unmarked Lewis shot hastily off target from just 8 yards but this miss was forgotten in the 42nd minute when Casey evaded Mick Wyld’s challenge and provided the chance for Evans to head home.

Ilkeston’s best spell came early in the second half and Ralph Brown went close to equalising but their challenge ended on 69 minutes when Lewis headed past Graham Pigott following a free kick. Cheltenham rounded off the game in style four minutes from time when Evans ran in unchallenged to score as Ilkeston appealed for a free kick.

BROWN BOOSTS ROBINS IN FIGHTBACK
12TH SEPTEMBER 1972
LOCKHEED LEAMINGTON 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Leamington controlled the first half and deservedly led at the break thanks to Shrimpton’s 25th minute goal. However, Ilkeston regrouped and a splendid second half recovery was complete nine minutes from time when Ralph Brown headed the equaliser.

GRANTHAM IN THE BROWN STUFF
14TH SEPTEMBER 1972
GRANTHAM 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (LEAGUE CUP FIRST ROUND REPLAY)
Prospective champions Grantham applied plenty of pressure during the first half of this entertaining game but failed to make their dominance count. Ilkeston responded positively after the break and were seen more as an attacking force. They were rewarded six minutes from time when Ralph Brown cracked home a shot from 26 yards.

ROBINS HOLD OFF HEANOR CHALLENGE
16TH SEPTEMBER 1972
HEANOR TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston had to endure a stiff test provided by their lower league local rivals who were members of the West Midlands Regional League. Heanor gave a fine account of themselves and were possibly unlucky not to progress into the next round although Ilkeston had a dazzling effort by Roger Patrick ruled out for reasons only known to the referee. The game was never rough although two players from each side were cautioned and Phil Waller’s shoulder, injured at Grantham a couple of days earlier, worsened and was to rule him out of action for two weeks.

TWO SENT OFF AS ROBINS LACK CUTTING EDGE
19TH SEPTEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 HEANOR TOWN 2 (FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY)
Ilkeston crashed out of the FA Cup in disappointing fashion. Despite dominating possession moves repeatedly broke down and they showed a marked reluctance to shoot. They created only one clear cut chance when Heanor lost possession and Ralph Brown broke clear and drew the ‘keeper only to roll his shot against the post. Their only other efforts on goal were long range efforts by Winston Raymond and Geoff Ball. Heanor packed their defence and rallied on the counter attack throughout and both of their goals came from quick breaks. They took the lead on 54 minutes when Sykes’ dangerous cross was headed in by Shelton, and Howard added the second seven minutes later when he nodded in Willey’s cross following a quickly taken free kick by Sykes. Things grew worse for Ilkeston two minutes from time when Mick Wyld was sent off for foul and abusive language and Ball followed him moments later for complaining.

UNLUCKY ROBINS HIT ROCK BOTTOM
23RD SEPTEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2
The Robins dropped to the bottom of the table following this defeat. They began shakily and Kidderminster took an early lead when following a well worked free kick Brendan Wassell passed to Peter Wassell who scored from two yards out. Yet The Robins proceded to take the game to the visitors and Brian Bates was unlucky when his corner was cleared off the line by Guest. Their misfortune continued when Geoff Ball ran forward and exchanged passes with John Gulson before firing against the bar. Kidderminster had a great chance to extend their lead shortly before half time when Peter Wassell broke through unchallenged to beat the offside trap and Graham Pigott had to make a smart save.

Ilkeston applied further pressure after the break but luck remained against them. Steve Buckley headed against the post and repeated the feat with a diving header from Bates’ cross. Then, with eight minutes to go, Kidderminster killed the game when they added a second, Peter Wassell heading in an Isherwood cross. Kevin Rawson came on as substitute for Ilkeston, his first appearance for the club.

ROVERS RATTLE ROBINS
30TH SEPTEMBER 1972
BROMSGROVE ROVERS 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Disappointing Ilkeston slipped to another defeat to leave them still awaiting their first league victory of the season. After Ralph Brown missed a good chance to put Ilkeston ahead early in the game Bromsgrove took control and took the lead themselves shortly before half time through a Foster free kick. Bell added the second on the hour as the home side won comfortably although John Gulson did have a goal ruled out for The Robins.

TOWN’S FIRST WIN AS GEOFF HAS A BALL
7TH OCTOBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 3 LOCKHEED LEAMINGTON 1
Ilkeston won in unconvincing style but their welcome first victory of the season failed to lift them off the foot of the table. The Robins were short of purpose and constructive ideas but two late goals swung the match in their favour when it appeared to be slipping away from them. They took a first half lead when Geoff Ball’s free kick deflected into the net off Roberts. Leamington’s best effort of the first half came from Sweenie whose fine shot was saved by Graham Pigott. Ilkeston came close to a second goal before half time when Paul Bownes pulled the ball back to John Gulson but his shot was deflected over the bar by Shrimpton.

It was no surprise when Leamington equalised on 53 minutes, Sweenie running forward to drive past Pigott. With Ilkeston looking increasingly nervous at the back a Jones shot skimmed the bar and Peter Atkinson headed off the line during a goalmouth scramble. But Kevin Ratcliffe restored Town’s advantage in the 77th minute with an excellent solo goal before victory was made certain ten minutes from time. Gulson touched a free kick to Ball who fired past the wall into the net.

ILKESTON BURIED AGAIN
14TH OCTOBER 1972
BURY TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
A scrappy, uninspiring game was won by Bury who deservedly picked up the points because they were the more adventurous of the teams. The winning goal came two minutes after half time and was the result of a defensive error. The Robins failed to clear as the ball bounced in the area and Boggis nipped in past the advancing Graham Pigott to put Bury ahead. Bury would have won by a greater margin but for missed chances late on.

BREWERS BITTER BATTLE
18TH OCTOBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 3 BURTON ALBION 2 (LEAGUE CUP SECOND ROUND)
Ilkeston belied their lowly league position by deservedly defeating their Premier Division opponents. In a tense, often over physical encounter, Ilkeston dominated the first half and held their own in an even second period. Former Ilkeston captain John Beresford was frequently involved in the more unsavoury moments and was booked for a head butt on Phil Ratcliffe. The Robins took the game to Burton from the off. Mick Robertson headed just wide from a John Gulson corner, Geoff Ball’s free kick went wide, and Gulson’s effort went into the side net. Ilkeston finally went in front on 20 minutes when Dave McVay broke down the left, beat a couple of defenders, and crossed to Ralph Brown who reached the ball ahead of ‘keeper Allsop to flick it into the net. The Robins doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when Ball’s hopeful punt forward caught Annable in two minds and Brown pounced to chip over Allsop from 18 yards.

Burton showed more intent after the break and Beresford hit the post following a corner. They pulled a goal back in the 54th minute when a corner caused a scramble in the box and Brown got the finishing touch. Beresford’s late tackle on Robertson caused tempers to fray as the game became tense and play switched from end to end. The all important next goal came Ilkeston’s way on 65 minutes. Phil Waller chased a lost cause and crossed from the by line, Brown headed down, and Gulson converted with a first time shot. As tackles came in thick and fast former Ilkeston player Bill Naylor went off injured as did Paul Bownes who had been caught in the stomach by Hickton’s studs. With both teams tiring Burton staged a late rally. Beresford’s shot was cleared off the line by Peter Atkinson before they pulled a goal back in the last minute when poor marking allowed Smith to score. But it was too little too late for Burton as Ilkeston held on.

STEELMEN STEAL A POINT
21ST OCTOBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 CORBY TOWN 0
Ilkeston were left to rue missed chances and ill luck as they were held to a draw by visiting Corby. Ilkeston dominated the first half but spurned gilt edged opportunities. Peter Atkinson’s good pass found Ralph Brown who lobbed the ball over the stranded ‘keeper Tennant but the ball cleared the bar. Phil Waller then found himself unmarked and with time but he blazed his first time shot over the top. Then John Gulson made a fine run into the box but his weak shot went wide with Brown and Paul Bownes completely unmarked crying out for a pass. Bownes was unlucky with a fierce drive that was turned away by Tennant and the ‘keeper made a fine save from Brown’s 18 yard strike. Corby’s best efforts of the first half came from Dawson who hooked just wide from 20 yards and from Clarke who went past Atkinson before hitting a tame shot from 8 yards.

Geoff Ball went off with a head injury after half time and was replaced by Steve Buckley. Buckley’s clever control and shot brought a save from Tennant, and when the ‘keeper was unable to hold John Gulson’s shot Brown was unable to force home the loose ball. As Ilkeston kept up the pressure Buckley’s cross was volleyed against the post by Bownes. Play went from end to end during the closing stages but Ilkeston continued to look the more dangerous and they almost won it when Brown laid the ball off to Buckley whose shot hit the post.

WELLINGBOROUGH PILE ON THE AGONY
28TH OCTOBER 1972
WELLINBOROUGH TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston created several early openings but Wellingborough then took control and should have won more comfortably. Ralph Brown twice and John Gulson missed clear cut chances as Ilkeston started impressively but the home side then dominated and it was no shock when they took the lead in the 43rd minute through a Bushell header following a goalmouth scramble.

Wellingborough continued to boss the game after the break but failed to find a killer second goal and they almost paid the penalty when Brown missed a late chance for Ilkeston.

TIGERS BARE THEIR TEETH
4TH NOVEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 GLOUCESTER CITY 1
Ilkeston had enough chances to have sewn the game up before Gloucester’s winner just before half time. Gloucester then grew in confidence and ended up worthy winners. Ilkeston were full of attacking intent early on. When ‘keeper Miles blocked Ralph Brown’s shot he recovered to save Geoff Ball’s follow up from 18 yards. Phil Waller’s clever back heel then set up Brown whose delayed shot was blocked and his second attempt was cleared off the line by Wikey. Waller then played a lovely through ball to Brian Bates who rolled his shot against the far post and when Bates, seemingly offside, was in the clear again from Peter Atkinson’s long ball he shot wide. Gloucester first showed signs of being a threat when Corr’s cross was headed over by Croft. Then Whitehouse’s fierce curling shot was tipped away by Graham Pigott before Ilkeston hit back with a lovely flowing move that ended with Ball’s cross almost being headed into his own net by Biggart, Miles making the save. Gloucester scored as half time approached when a quick throw led to Corr cutting across the face of the area to shoot past Pigott, the ball taking a deflection off Mick Wyld.

Ilkeston moves repeatedly broke down after the break and Gloucester comfortably dealt any threat. Both teams had chances to score during the closing stages. John Gulson side footed Brown’s pass over the bar and Whitehouse could have wrapped things up for Gloucester when he went clean through but he was denied by Pigott’s save.

REDDITCH CATCH ROBINS COLD
11TH NOVEMBER 1972
REDDITCH UNITED 3 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Two early goals by Redditch left The Robins with a mountain to climb and although Town fought well in the second half with both Steve Buckley and Ralph Brown having shots cleared off the line they were unable to salvage a point. Ingram headed Redditch in front in the 10th minute andHowell shot home from 20 yards ten minutes later. Ilkeston’s best attempt of the first half was from a move started and finished by John Gulson who shot just wide shortly before half time.

Brian Bates gave Ilkeston hope when he pulled a goal back in the 70th minute but Redditch made certain of victory with a late goal from Taylor.

GULSON SUPER STRIKES EARN ROBINS VICTORY
18TH NOVEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 3 STOURBRIDGE 2
Two long range goals by John Gulson on his 100th Ilkeston appearance, the last one coming just three minutes from time, gave Ilkeston their second league win of the season. After falling behind to Henderson’s 20th minute goal Ilkeston put up a terrific fight during the first half and they equalised ten minutes later when Ralph Brown’s chip into the area was converted by Winston Raymond.

Gulson put Ilkeston ahead for the first time on 56 minutes when he unleashed a 25 yard volley following Dave McVay’s run and cross from the left. Haywood appeared to have saved a point for the visitors with his 78th minute goal before Gulson wrapped things up with his late strike.

TAMWORTH TAME ILKESTON
21ST NOVEMBER 1972
TAMWORTH 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston had little to offer against a lively Tamworth team and they could have no complaints about the result. The deciding goal came on 42 minutes when Newton headed in Millard’s free kick. Frustrated Ilkeston had Ralph Brown and Brian Bates booked during the second half. Peter Atkinson made his 100th appearance for Ilkeston.

GOOD SHOW COUNTS FOR NOTHING
2ND DECEMBER 1972
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (FA TROPHY FIRST ROUND)
Ilkeston gave an excellent account of themselves at leading Northern Premier League outfit and former Football League members Bradford and were on top for most of the game only to concede two late goals. The Robins dominated the first half and their best efforts came from Alan Ellis whose fine shot was saved by Rose, and Dave McVay who went on a long run before shooting just wide.

Town were less of a threat but were solid in defence until a controversial penalty award went against them ten minutes from time. The referee initially awarded a free kick after Mick Robertson committed a foul but changed his mind and pointed to the spot after consulting a linesman. Walker converted the penalty and to further rub salt into Ilkeston’s wounds they scored again before the end when Mick Wyld, booked in the first half for a foul on Corner, lobbed the ball over Graham Pigott and into his own net.

RUGBY PUNISH POOR ROBINS
9TH DECEMBER 1972
RUGBY TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston made little impact on the game and were fortunate to get away with a two goal reverse. Their only worthwhile goal attempt came from Alan Ellis and they were on the back foot throughout. Cassidy gave Rugby the lead on 30 minutes with a shot from long range and Knox added the second on the hour. Mick Wyld received a booking for Ilkeston.

ILKESTON CUP RUN CONTINUES
12TH DECEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 1 CORBY TOWN 0 (LEAGUE CUP THIRD ROUND)
Fourth placed Corby provided strong opposition as expected but Ilkeston’s powerful performance deservedly booked a quarter final place. The game was decided on 50 minutes by John Gulson’s goal.

NO CHRISTMAS CHEER FOR ROBINS
23RD DECEMBER 1972
ILKESTON TOWN 0 REDDITCH UNITED 1
Redditch may have won this dull encounter but Ilkeston did enough to have taken something out of the game. The visitors began strongly but Ilkeston settled and began to create chances as Redditch failed to impress. Geoff Ball’s superb run from deep was wasted by a poor final shot but Ilkeston went close to taking a deserved first half lead when Phil Waller headed Alan Ellis’ cross against the bar.

Ilkeston continued to press after half time and John Gulson shot across the face of goal. But Redditch stunned The Robins on the hour by taking the lead against the run of play when Smart’s cross was met by Ingram’s diving header. Ilkeston pushed forward in search of an equaliser but were unable to score.

PIGOTT HEROICS SAVES ILKESTON
26TH DECEMBER 1972
BUXTON 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SEMI FINAL)
Ilkeston escaped a heavy defeat thanks to an outstanding display in goal by Graham Pigott who combined safe handling and sound judgement with incredible agility. Besieged Ilkeston only created one chance when Brian Bates’ shot was cleared off the line with ‘keeper Davies stranded on the deck.

NEW YEAR NO DIFFERENCE
6TH JANUARY 1973
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 3 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Third place Kidderminster’s controlled aggression proved to strong for Ilkeston yet it was The Robins who took the lead on 13 minutes. Player manager Phil Waller, in his last game before quitting the club, took advantage of a poor clearance to put them ahead. Ilkeston performed creditably throughout and always looked dangerous on the break, Phil Waller and Phil Ratcliffe having fine shots saved, but were forced on the defensive for much of the game. Kidderminster levelled on 27 minuted through Brendan Wassell.

Kidderminster took the lead on 70 minutes through a Jones header and Phil Wassell gave the score a flattering look for the home side when he netted two minutes from time. Both teams had a player booked, match winner Jones and Peter Atkinson.

DISPUTED PENALTY FOILS TOWN
13TH JANUARY 1973
STEVENAGE ATHLETIC 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
New caretaker manager Geoff Ball failed to end Ilkeston’s run of defeats but it needed a disputed penalty to break their resistence. Only then did Town begin to lose heart and Stevenage ended the game on top. Effective no frills defending kept the home side at bay and Ilkeston could have taken the lead with a John Gulson header but it was nodded to safety by Collins. Ralph Brown also saw an attempt hit Downes and his follow up lacked the power to beat the ‘keeper.

The turning point came in the 67th minute when Mick Wyld was adjudged to have fouled substitute Bannister and Downes made no mistake with his well struck penalty. Wyld then almost sliced Wihshaw’s cross into his own net and Reed scored from the resultant corner but it was disallowed. Ilkeston last attempt for an equaliser fell to Mick Robertson whose shot through a crowded area was saved by Gevoux.

ILKESTON UNLUCKY IN DEFEAT
27TH JANUARY 1973
CHELTENHAM TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston defended well and caused Cheltenham problems, particularly in the second half, despite losing John Gulson to a knee injury midway through the first half. Wilks put Cheltenham in front on 36 minutes.

Ilkeston pressed Cheltenham during the second half and Steve Buckley, Ralph Brown and Brian Bates each had shots saved but Evans broke their hearts by making the game safe for the home team four minutes from time.

ILKESTON TAUGHT A LESSON AT CAMBRIDGE
30TH JANUARY 1973
CAMBRIDGE CITY 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (LEAGUE CUP QUARTER FINAL)
Two goals in the first 20 minutes by the Southern League Premier Division side effectively settled the tie against Ilkeston, the sole remaining representatives from the First Division North. Jones gave Cambridge the lead with a rocket like angled drive from 30 yards in the 12th minute. Marshall then supplied Middlemass with the chance to volley home the second eight minutes later.

Ilkeston battled pluckily and pressed hard enthusiastically after the break but were only able to create half chances against a well organised defence.

BALL BRINGS VICTORY AT LAST
3RD FEBRUARY 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 3 BANBURY UNITED 1
Geoff Ball, celebrating landing the Ilkeston managers job on a permanent basis, settled the issue with an injury time penalty in an encounter spoiled by petty, niggling fouls. Ilkeston got off to the best possible start when Brian Bates side footed Ralph Brown’s square pass beyond ‘keeper Rennie after just 2 minutes. Banbury somehow survived intense Ilkeston pressure before firing a warning when Foster, chasing a long clearance, outpaced Mick Wyld but poked the ball wide. The warning went unheeded as Foster then outpaced Peter Atkinson to shoot home for the equaliser from an acute angle, an effort that Graham Pigott possibly should have kept out. Ilkeston, undaunted, regained the lead through Jack Scarff who limped off soon after in the 37th minute with a knee injury that was to require surgery.

Although Ilkeston were on top during the first half the game was more even after the break as it developed into a scrappy affair. Ilkeston were not certain of victory until two minutes into injury time when Steve Buckley was brought down after a long run from deep. Ball cracked home the penalty to register Ilkeston’s first league win since November.

MERTHYR WORTHY OF POINT
10TH FEBRUARY 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 1 MERTHYR TYDFIL 1
An entertaining and skilful game, despite the inconsistent bounce on a difficult surface, ended with honours even. Ilkeston were the better team in the first half but Merthyr came back strongly after the break to ensure the result was a fair one. Ilkeston took the lead after just 6 minutes when Geoff Ball took advantage of Rosser’s poor back pass and raced into the box to score from 12 yards. Ilkeston continued to dominate the first half and Ralph Brown was denied a goal by ‘keeper Jones’ reaction save from his shot on the turn from 5 yards.

Ilkeston managed three goal attempts early in the second half before Merthyr took control. As The Robins grew in frustration Brown was lucky not to be punished when he punched Slee in retaliation. Ilkeston looked like they may hold out to win until the 77th minute when Young’s cross picked out the unmarked Smith who fired home. With both teams tiring the game could have gone either way during the closing stages as they went in search of a winner.

BANBURY PUNISH ROBINS ERRORS
17TH FEBRUARY 1973
BANBURY UNITED 3 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Lack of concentration and mistakes at the back condemned Ilkeston to defeat in a game where they could have picked up at least a point. Banbury were contained comfortably by Town’s defence until the 44th minute when Sherrell regained possession of a ball he had lost in the area and passed to Jacques who slotted home.

Banbury extended their lead on 55 minutes when Graham Pigott couldn’t hold Foster’s shot and Duester pushed home the loose ball. The unmarked Brian Bates gave Ilkeston hope seven minutes later when he collected a free kick and scored but Banbury scored virtually straight from the kick off with a move that led to Mick Robertson putting the ball in his own net.

ILKESTON OUTPLAYED
24TH FEBRUARY 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 0 BUXTON 3 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SEMI FINAL REPLAY)
An inability to keep hold of the ball left Ilkeston chasing shadows as Buxton outplayed them to reach the final. The result was never in doubt once Buxton took the lead on 8 minutes. Rolland beat Mick Wyld’s challenge and his 10 yard shot struck ‘keeper Graham Pigott and bounced down off the bar for Pammenter to tuck away. With Ilkeston resorting to fouls to hold Buxton at bay they were undone again when Hutchinson’s square pass found Rolland who shot hard into the roof of the net. Buxton could have had a third before half time when Rolland found himself on the left side of the box but he put his shot wide.

Lacking in spirit Ilkeston continued to struggle after half time. Pigott turned a Pammenter header round the post before the visitors scored again on 59 minutes. Hutchinson played the ball across the face of goal, Pigott, Dave McVay and Steve Buckley were unable to cut it out, and Pammenter scored from a yard out. The game then ceased to be a contest as Buxton relaxed and Ilkeston lacked the fight to make any sort of comeback.

TEN MAN ROBINS NO MATCH FOR CORBY
3RD MARCH 1973
CORBY TOWN 3 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Injury plagued Ilkeston were well beaten by Corby and probably would have lost convincingly without such misfortune. The game began badly for Ilkeston when Corby took the lead after 6 minutes when Graham Pigott misjudged a corner and although he was able to push the ball out as it came off the bar it fell to Gully who made no mistake. Mick Wyld was carried off with a badly gashed shin two minutes later and things got worse for Ilkeston when Corby scored a bizarre goal in the 24th minute. Malcolm Rye and Mick Robertson both went for the same high ball and missed, Peter Atkinson failed to clear, Clarke’s shot was blocked on the line by Steve Buckley and his attempted clearance hit Rye and fell to Clarke who scored. Phil Ratcliffe then limped off with a pulled hamstring eleven minutes later leaving The Robins to put up a brave fight with only ten men.

Corby coasted to victory after Gully added the third on 52 minutes. Goalkeeper Pigott cracked a knuckle during the game, an injury that was to keep him out for the rest of the season, and it proved to be his final game for the club.

BURY BEATEN BY ROBINS LATE SHOW
10TH MARCH 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BURY TOWN 0
Negative football by both teams failed to impress the crowd but Ilkeston, showing courage up front and determination in midfield, deserved to win. Attacks by both sides were repeatedly broken up by well marshalled defences during the first half and scoring opportunities were few and far between. Alan Ellis’ shot was saved by Barter as Ilkeston launched early attacks before Bury’s only serious attempt of the half, a low cross by Pearce that skidded across the face of goal, went wide. Graham Rye went on a run that took him past three defenders and his shot was deflected for a corner that resulted in Brian Bates’ scissor kick going just wide as Ilkeston searched for a first half lead.

Fouls frequently broke up play after the break as both teams struggled to get on top. Geoff Ball cracked a free kick wide from the corner of the area whilst at the other end Pearce went down the wing and crossed to Rayson whose header cleared the bar. The Robins gradually took control. Rye volleyed wide, Barter made an impressive save from Malc Fairbrother’s 20 yard strike after he had linked well with Bates, Rye’s cross was palmed out to Bates who shot into the side net, and Dave McVay and Fairbrother had powerful shots blocked. Ilkeston’s frustration was finally lifted on 80 minutes. Ralph Brown’s cross ran free to Steve Buckley who shot high into the net from 15 yards. Bury came close to an undeserved equaliser when Heffer’s header struck the bar but Ilkeston finished the game strongly. Brown had a shot blocked before they made the game safe three minutes from time. Brown’s overhead cross was met by Fairbrother whose shot trickled over the line off the post.

STEPHENS HAT-TRICK ROCKS ROBINS
17TH MARCH 1973
GLOUCESTER CITY 3 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Gloucester won this scrappy, mediocre encounter thanks to the scoring talents off Stephens. Town began the game decently with Geoff Ball shooting just wide and Alan Ellis, booked during the game, slicing off target with only the ‘keeper to beat. However, Gloucester were two goals to the good by half time, Stephens twice converting crosses by Bird. Ilkeston also lost Graham Rye during the first half to a twisted ankle and he was replaced by Mick Robertson.

The Robins showed greater adventure after the break but were unable to get back into the game. The last word came from Stephens who completed his hat-trick in the last minute.

AWAY HOODOO ENDS AT ENDERBY
21ST MARCH 1973
ENDERBY TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston picked up their first away win in the league and were set on their way by Ralph Brown who opened the scoring on 10 minutes. Enderby improved as the half wore on and Squiggins hit the post. Squiggins was also unlucky when another effort brought a clever save from Paul Daley.

The Robins were given a terrific boost when Brian Bates increased their lead a minute into the second half and the result was never in doubt from then on.

ROBINS JUST S-WELL
24TH MARCH 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 2 WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN 0
Ilkeston coped better than the visitors in difficult conditions brought about by a swirling wind. Wellingborough, who did themselves no favours by their reliance on the long ball, looked threatening early on and Waite’s 25 yard shot was turned away by Paul Daley, Kreemer sweeping over the bar from the resultant corner. Ilkeston’s first effort of note came when Brian Bates went on a fine run and crossed to Alan Ellis whose powerful shot struck ‘keeper Knibbs and bounced clear. Ralph Brown then went on a lovely 40 yard run before his shot was scrambled clear, and as Ilkeston continued to get more into the game Geoff Ball made a long run from defence and crossed to Graham Rye whose header was saved under the bar by Knibbs.

The Robins improvement bore fruit in the second half. Ellis made a burst from midfield and his 20 yard shot flashed just wide before they finally took the lead in the 52nd minute. Ellis’ cross was headed back by Rye to Bates who shot on the turn from 15 yards to beat Knibbs. Six minutes later they scored again. Ellis’ persistence in chasing Ball’s long clearance was brought to an end as he attempted to round Knibbs and the referee awarded a penalty. Although Ball blasted his spot kick over a retake was given and this time he made no mistake. With Ilkeston solid at the back Wellingborough seldom looked like getting back into the game and The Robins were always on the lookout for more goals. Brown’s powerful run ended with his shot being saved by Knibbs, and he was denied again when he was put clear by fine work between Rye and Ellis, his shot being saved at the foot of the post.

BEDWORTH WIN BATTLE AT THE BOTTOM
26TH MARCH 1973
BEDWORTH UNITED 2 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston’s hopes of avoiding finishing in bottom place suffered a blow as they lost at fellow strugglers Bedworth. Ralph Brown missed two great chances to put Ilkeston in front before Bedworth went in front on the hour through Marcinski’s 20 yard strike. Substitute Eades scored three minutes later to put the match beyond The Robins although Bedworth had to withstand some pressure following Malcolm Rye’s consolation goal ten minutes from time.

ILKESTON POWER TO FINE VICTORY
31ST MARCH 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 3 TAMWORTH 0
A hard working Ilkeston team powered to a well earned win although it was not until late in the game that their superiority counted. Tamworth looked dangerous early in the game, Deakin’s 30 yard fee kick flying inches wide, but they were eventually rendered ineffective by Ilkeston’s enthusiasm in the swirling wind. Ralph Brown didn’t connect properly with his shot after playing a neat one two with Brian Bates as The Robins gradually assumed the upper hand.

Ilkeston continued to look lively after the break although they had a scare when Tamworth’s Brown headed narrowly over following a corner. Town’s persistence finally paid off in the 73rd minute when Bates beat two men and crossed from the by line for Phil Ratcliffe to send a powerful header into the roof of the net. Steve Buckley then set up Alan Ellis for a fierce shot that was turned round the post by ‘keeper Richards before Ilkeston scored again four minutes from time. Bates raced onto a long ball down the middle and although his first time shot hit Richards he was able to knock in the rebound from close range. Ilkeston wrapped things up a minute later when Brown’s pass sent Ellis away to beat the offside trap and score with a low shot.

ROBINS HELD BY RIVALS
7TH APRIL 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 1 BEDWORTH UNITED 1
Looking to catch their nearest rivals at the bottom Ilkeston were held at home. They gave themselves every chance when Alan Ellis scored following a good move between Ralph Brown and Brian Bates twenty minutes from time. Geoff Ball then went off with a groin injury and Bedworth’s response was immediate. Town failed to clear a Bedworth attack and Eadie pounced in the 72nd minute to keep Ilkeston at arms length at the foot of the table.

GRANTHAM SHOW CHAMPIONSHIP CLASS
9TH APRIL 1973
GRANTHAM 3 ILKESTON TOWN 0
The Robins, wearing an unfamiliar yellow strip, were torn apart by a Grantham team heading towards title glory. Grantham announced they were in the mood with early shots by Horobin and Benskin. Ilkeston responded with a fierce John Gulson shot that was tipped over by Gardiner before Grantham came back with a shot by former Ilkeston striker Bob Norris that was blocked by Mick Robertson. With the swirling snow making life difficult Ilkeston had an anxious moment when Benskin’s shot slipped under ‘keeper Paul Daley’s body but Mick Wyld was on hand to hack the ball clear. Grantham eventually took the lead in the 33rd minute when Benskin received a return pass from Norris and slammed the ball into the net. Three minutes later Geoff Ball punched out a Horobin shot destined for the top corner and received a booking before Harrison converted the resultant penalty.

Norris side footed the third two minutes into the second half and the cushion allowed Grantham to take it steady. Ilkeston missed out on a consolation goal when Graham Rye and Ralph Brown combined well to present a glorious chance for Brian Bates but he failed to take it. Gulson, struggling with a back problem, made his final appearance for Ilkeston.

ROBINS LACK ADDERS BITE
12TH APRIL 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 1 ATHERSTONE TOWN 3
A late consolation goal did little to help Ilkeston out of their predicament at the foot of the table as they were well beaten at home. Atherstone took the lead in the 24th minute when Jim Flanagan supplied the pass for John Flanagan to score with a spectacular shot.

Matters worsened for Ilkeston after the break. A mistake by Dave McVay led to Harper scoring Atherstone’s second on 56 minutes and they scored again on 68 minutes when a long cross was headed home by Miller. Three minutes from time Ilkeston managed to pull a goal back when substitute Malcolm Rye’s cross was converted by Brian Bates.

RUGBY ADD TO ILKESTON’S WOES
14TH APRIL 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 1 RUGBY TOWN 2
Ilkeston attacked and entertained during this fluent game but Rugby’s quicker and more incisive play, in contrast to The Robins’ long sweeping passing, proved to be more effective. Ilkeston suffered a blow early on when Ralph Brown, in heading Graham Rye’s cross just over the top, fractured his cheekbone. The injury ruled him out for the rest of the season and his days as an Ilkeston player had come to an end. Rugby’s first threatening moment came when Armstrong tricked his way past Mick Wyld and his cleverly placed cross was hammered just wide by Brady but they broke the deadlock on 32 minutes. Goodfellow’s perfect cross picked out Stewart who scored with a perfect header. However, Ilkeston equalised with a gem of a goal eight minutes later. Picking up a clearance out of defence Alan Ellis went on a 60 yard run and slipped the ball inside to Brian Bates who in turn found Steve Buckley who beat three men at the corner of the box before firing home into the far corner from 20 yards.

Rugby gradually gained the upper hand after half time and scored the winner in the 61st minute when Stewart outpaced Wyld in a chase for a long through ball to shoot past the advancing Paul Daley. Ilkeston tried their best to get back in the game but Rugby remained in control. The closest they got to an equaliser was when Geoff Ball went on a long run before shooting wide.

ROBINS NOT SINGING IN THE VALLEYS
17TH APRIL 1973
MERTHYR TYDFIL 3 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston’s trip to South Wales was not a happy one and they left as a well beaten side. First half goals by Young and legendary Welsh international John Charles put Merthyr firmly in the driving seat.

The Robins tried to hit back early in the second half and Winston Raymond fired a good chance wide before Merthyr regained control. Chapman added a third goal and but for some good saves by Paul Daley the defeat could have been much worse for Ilkeston.

TOWN SLIP TO ANOTHER DEFEAT
20TH APRIL 1973
KINGS LYNN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston defended with dour determination but offered little going forward. Once McCallum scored with a first time shot from Lindsaylow’s cross on 27 minutes there was lttle hope of them saving the game.

STOURBRIDGE STRIKES SEE OFF TOWN
21ST APRIL 1973
STOURBRIDGE 3 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Two first half goals by Haywood sent Ilkeston well on their way to a sixth successive defeat in a twelve day period. The Robins improved slightly in the second half but Winston Raymond’s consolation goal arrived after Bates had put the home side three goals up. Mick Wyld played his last game for the club.

HEAVY GOING BUT ILKESTON GRAB IMPORTANT WIN
23RD APRIL 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 1 ENDERBY TOWN 0
Ilkeston fought bravely to grab a crucial win in their bid to climb off the bottom of the table. Heavy rain left the pitch like a quagmire but Ilkeston were not undaunted and they were unlucky not to be well ahead by half time. Graham Rye’s one two with Brian Bates allowed him to lob over the stranded ‘keeper Satchwell but his effort was headed off the line as Ilkeston applied early pressure. Later in the half Alan Ellis collected a loose goal kick and ran forward before shooting just wide from 30 yards. Enderby offered little threat in the first half although Vernon fired a decent shot into Paul Daley’s arms shortly before half time.

The visitors showed much greater ambition after the break. After going close several times they put the ball in the net through Burton but the goal was ruled out for offside. Matthews then cracked a free kick through Ilkeston’s defensive wall and Daley did well to turn the ball over the bar. Steve Buckley offered some respite for The Robins when he went on a forward run before shooting into Satchwell’s arms. And, against the run of play, Ilkeston took the lead on 65 minutes. A long free kick was laid off by Bates and Phil Ratcliffe’s shot on the turn from 12 yards found the target. Enderby came desperately close to an equaliser when, with Daley stranded out of his goal, Haggarty’s shot was cleared off the line by Geoff Ball. Ball received a booking for arguing with the linesman as the tension mounted with Ilkeston pressing for a killer second goal. Ellis and Bates missed fair chances to put the game out of Enderby’s reach and Ilkeston had to survive a nervy final few minutes as the visitors twice went close to an equaliser. Ilkeston’s lowest ever crowd of 64 was no doubt happy when the final whistle blew.

ROBINS JOY AS THEY CLIMB OFF BOTTOM PLACE
26TH APRIL 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BARRY TOWN 1
Ilkeston climbed off the bottom place they had occupied for over seven months thanks to an excellent second half display. The Robins got a massive lift when Brian Bates shot home from 25 yards a minute after the break. All the good work appeared to have been wasted when a poor back pass gifted Ayres an equaliser but Ilkeston showed great character to go on and win the game. The winner came in the 68th minute when Bates’ run and cross was met on the volley by Phil Ratcliffe.

CHAMPIONS CLINCH IT AT THE DEATH
1ST MAY 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 1 GRANTHAM 2
The gulf in quality between champions Grantham and Ilkeston was clear to see but The Robins’ enthusiasm kept them in the game until very late on and at one stage they appeared to be heading towards an unlikely victory. Grantham’s sweeping moves kept Ilkeston’s defence at full stretch for most of the first half and Town had to rely on the occasional break to get even a sniff of a goal. Grantham’s early pressure amounted to little other than a tame 25 yard shot by Chambers that Paul Daley saved comfortably. Ilkeston’s best effort of the half was a powerful shot by Brian Bates that Gardiner saved at the second attempt. As the half wore on Grantham looked incresingly likely to score and they put the ball in the net seven minutes before half time when Thompson stabbed in Benskin’s cross but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Nixon headed just over as Grantham continued to pose problems but a poor goal kick by Gardiner raised Ilkeston’s hopes only for Geoff Ball to fire a first time shot inches wide. Then, on 71 minutes, Ilkeston shocked the champions by taking the lead. Harrison handled and Bates chipped a delightful curling free kick over the wall into the top corner from 20 yards. Ilkeston battled bravely under intense pressure before the almost inevitable equaliser came in the 78th minute. Bloomer’s low cross split open the defence and Nixon had time and space to pick his spot. Ilkeston desperately tried to hold out for a draw but with two minutes remaining their resistance was broken when Thompson stabbed home a Nixon cross.

EVEN STEVENS
3RD MAY 1973
ILKESTON TOWN 0 STEVENAGE ATHLETIC 0
Ilkeston knew that only a massive defeat would condemn them to bottom place and as a consequence two lethargic teams with nothing to play for played out an end of season game notable for its almost total lack of incident or anything constructive.

1972/73 EAST MIDLANDS REGIONAL LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts H A
1 Ripley Miners Welfare 34 23 7 4 64 25 53 0-1 1-5
2 Gresley Rovers 34 22 4 8 80 47 48 0-7 0-3
3 Borrowash Victoria 34 20 8 6 66 37 48 4-1 0-0
4 Graham Street Prims 34 18 10 6 74 46 46 1-1 2-4
5 Long Eaton Grange 34 17 8 9 60 33 42 0-3 2-0
6 Alvaston St Helens 34 18 6 10 60 35 42 1-0 0-1
7 Anstey Nomads 34 14 13 7 52 31 41 2-0
8 Enderby Town Reserves 34 13 2 13 52 52 34 1-2 1-1
9 Radcliffe Olympic 34 14 6 14 52 54 34 0-5 4-5
10 Clifton All Whites 34 12 7 15 53 43 31 2-0
11 Moorgreen Colliery 34 9 12 13 46 67 30 0-4 0-2
12 Chesterfield Tube Works 34 11 7 16 56 59 29 1-4 4-2
13 Roe Farm Athletic 34 12 4 18 52 67 28 0-3
14 Littleover British Legion 34 10 8 16 41 59 28 1-2
15 Rolls Royce Associates 34 11 6 17 56 79 28 0-1
16 Belper Town Reserves 34 9 3 22 36 72 21 3-2
17 ILKESTON TOWN RESERVES 34 9 3 22 39 77 21 X X
18 Grantham St Johns 34 3 4 27 37 116 10 2-0 4-1