09 21






2009/10 CONFERENCE NORTH FINAL TABLE

  P W D L F A Pts
1 Southport 40 25 11 4 91 45 86
2 Fleetwood Town 40 26 7 7 86 44 85
3 Alfreton Town 40 21 11 8 77 45 74
4 Workington 40 20 10 10 46 37 70
5 Droylsen 40 18 10 12 82 62 64
6 Corby Town 40 18 9 13 73 62 63
7 Hinckley United 40 16 14 10 60 52 62
8 ILKESTON TOWN 40 16 13 11 53 45 61
9 Stalybridge Celtic 40 16 7 17 71 64 55
10 Eastwood Town 40 15 9 16 50 55 54
11 AFC Telford United 40 14 9 17 52 55 51
12 Northwich Victoria 40 15 13 12 62 55 48
13 Blyth Spartans 40 13 9 18 67 72 48
14 Gainsborough Trinity 40 12 11 17 50 57 47
15 Hyde United 40 11 12 17 45 72 45
16 Stafford Rangers 40 10 14 16 59 70 44
17 Solihull Moors 40 11 9 20 47 58 42
18 Gloucester City 40 12 6 22 47 59 42
19 Redditch United 40 10 8 22 49 83 38
20 Vauxhall Motors 40 7 14 19 45 81 35
21 Harrogate Town 40 8 6 26 41 80 30

NB. Northwich Victoria had 10 points deducted.



2009/10 CONFERENCE NORTH RESULTS

DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
08 AUG Droylsden L0-2 420
11 AUG REDDITCH UNITED W3-2 310 MORGAN-SMITH 2(2PENS), BONNER
15 AUG SOUTHPORT W3-2 452 RICKETTS 2, HOLMES
19 AUG Corby Town D2-2 787 GRAHAM, MORGAN-SMITH
22 AUG HYDE UNITED D1-1 408 MORGAN-SMITH (PEN)
29 AUG AFC Telford United D0-0 1682
05 SEP Workington D0-0 355
08 SEP Solihull Moors W3-0 246 MORGAN-SMITH 2, RICKETTS
12 SEP VAUXHALL MOTORS W4-0 429 DUNCUM 2, MORGAN-SMITH, WHITE
19 SEP Hinckley United L0-1 530
03 OCT GLOUCESTER CITY D0-0 437
17 OCT NORTHWICH VICTORIA D1-1 547 MORGAN-SMITH (PEN)
27 OCT STAFFORD RANGERS L2-3 395 GRAHAM, MORGAN-SMITH (PEN)
31 OCT Blyth Spartans W4-1 562 MORGAN-SMITH 3, GRAHAM
10 NOV Alfreton Town L0-2 792
14 NOV Southport D1-1 904 HOLMES
28 NOV Harrogate Town W1-0 328 O'LOUGHLIN
05 DEC Stalybridge Celtic L0-1 474
16 JAN Fleetwood Town L0-1 1009
25 JAN Hyde United D1-1 269 WATERFALL
30 JAN DROYLSDEN W1-0 366 MORGAN-SMITH
06 FEB Gainsborough Trinity D0-0 337
09 FEB Vauxhall Motors L2-4 184 GODDEN, DEMPSEY
13 FEB STALYBRIDGE CELTIC W3-2 435 RICKETTS, DEMPSEY, WATTS
20 FEB Northwich Victoria L1-4 476 DEMPSEY
27 FEB HINCKLEY UNITED L0-1 362
02 MAR CORBY TOWN W3-2 212 MORGAN-SMITH 2 (2PENS), BURGE
06 MAR Redditch United D2-2 316 O'LOUGHLIN, RICKETTS
13 MAR BLYTH SPARTANS W2-1 360 MORGAN-SMITH 2
16 MAR GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY D0-0 262
20 MAR Stafford Rangers W1-0 434 GHAICHEM
23 MAR EASTWOOD TOWN W1-0 597 WATERFALL
27 MAR HARROGATE TOWN D3-3 304 MORGAN-SMITH 2, WATTS
03 APR AFC TELFORD UNITED W2-1 548 WATTS, LEE
07 APR WORKINGTON L1-3 316 MORGAN-SMITH
10 APR FLEETWOOD TOWN L0-1 411
13 APR SOLIHULL MOORS W1-0 251 RODNEY
17 APR ALFRETON TOWN D0-0 584
20 APR Eastwood Town W3-0 754 RODNEY, MORGAN-SMITH (PEN), RICKETTS
24 APR Gloucester City W1-0 350 MORGAN-SMITH



2009/10 FA CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
2QR 26 SEP MILDENHALL TOWN W4-1 321 DEMPSEY 2, O'LOUGHLIN, WATERFALL
3QR 10 OCT EASTWOOD TOWN D1-1 1128 MORGAN-SMITH (PEN)
3QRrep 13 OCT Eastwood Town W3-1 1208 MORGAN-SMITH 2, RICKETTS
4QR 24 OCT TAMWORTH W2-0 699 BURGE, GRAHAM
1R 07 NOV Cambridge United L0-4 2395  



2009/10 FA TROPHY RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
3QR 21 NOV MOSSLEY D1-1 271 DUNCUM
3QRrep 24 NOV Mossley W2-0 183 RICKETTS 2
1R 12 DEC Blyth Spartans L0-1 419



2009/10 DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP RESULTS

ROUND DATE OPPONENTS RESULT ATT SCORERS
2R 01 DEC PINXTON W3-1 180 SHORT, WATTS, PALMER
QF 14 DEC Buxton D1-1a 148 RICKETTS
QFrep 19 JAN BUXTON W3-1aet 121 HOLMES, WATTS, HOOKS
SF 16 FEB BELPER TOWN L0-1 172

NB. The quarter final tie at Buxton on 14 Dec was abandoned upon the completion of 90 minutes. The result was allowed to stand and a replay was necessary.

DROYLSDEN DRAW FIRST BLOOD
8TH AUGUST 2009
DROYLSDEN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston's historic first match in the Conference North ended in defeat against a strong Droylsden team but there were positives to come out of the game. The Robins were the better team in the first half and looked comfortable, winning several corners. From one of them taken by Dan Holmes Gary Ricketts met the ball on the volley and Bloods' 'keeper Mawson made a comfortable save. When Sam Duncum got clear on the left his low cross was touched by Ricketts but the ball went just wide. Another Ilkeston corner shortly before the break almost saw Charlie O'Loughlin put The Robins in front.

Droylsden improved significantly after half time and Town were forced on the defensive. The home side's pressure paid off in the 62nd minute when Meachan, in space on the right, found Brown who volleyed past David Bevan. Bevan came to Ilkeston's rescue with a fine save from a well struck shot by Beck but he was beaten with five minutes remaining as Droylsden made certain of victory. Lloyd scored through a crowded area when a move down the right created problems for Town's defence. Ilkeston's hopes of a late consolation goal were denied by Mawson whose dive kept out Tom Bonner's shot following nods on by Ricketts and substitute Jon Douglas.  

AMARI SPOT ON AS ROBINS PICK UP FIRST WIN
11TH AUGUST 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 3 REDDITCH UNITED 2
Ilkeston picked themselves up after falling behind to an early goal with a strong second half display. Redditch took the lead on 8 minutes with a Francis header from Bridgewater but they offered little else thereafter. However, The Robins were below par during the first half and failed to take advantage. The closest they came to an equaliser were headers by Gary Ricketts and Charlie O'Loughlin, the first of which came from a cross by in form Sam Duncum.

It was a different story after the break as The Robins stepped up several gears. In the 54th minute Duncum cut in from the left and his shot struck a defender's arm. The referee awarded a penalty that was duly despatched by Amari Morgan-Smith. Town went in front four minutes later after a Dan Holmes free kick caused confusion. A couple of attempts were blocked before Tom Bonner hooked the ball past 'keeper Lewis. Ricketts wasn't far off target after another fine run by Duncum, and another Duncum cross was met by Morgan-Smith but his shot went just wide. When Holmes sent over a left wing free kick Ricketts was adjudged to have been fouled and this gave Morgan-Smith the opportunity to give Ilkeston a two goal lead from the spot on 75 minutes. He took the chance and The Robins looked home and dry. However, Byrne's heavily deflected 89th minute consolation goal for Redditch ensured that Town had to survive a few nervy final moments.

GARY'S GOALS GIVE ROBINS THE EDGE
15TH AUGUST 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 3 SOUTHPORT 2
The Robins almost lost a three goal lead but their overall play deserved the victory. Former League club Southport were disjointed before their desperate late rally whereas Town looked the sharper of the teams. McGinn shot wide for the visitors early on before Paul Dempsey's shot was saved by McMillan for Town's first serious attempt. Southport had several attempts such as Flynn's shot that went well over, a Kilheeney header that cleared the bar and two efforts by McGinn that were well off target but they rarely looked dangerous. A minute before the break Ilkeston took the lead through Gary Ricketts who had earlier been booked for a foul on McMillan. Danny Holmes' shot was too hot for McMillan to hold and Ricketts pounced. McGinn was then booked for a foul on Ricketts and in time added on Sam Duncum fired over following indecision in the Southport defence.

Town doubled their lead on 50 minutes when Ricketts scored his second, converting Duncum's low cross. Barnes scooped over at the other end but Ilkeston were now well in control. McMillan saved a Duncum shot but he was beaten on the hour by Holmes' deflected effort following good work by Duncum. Winn shot well wide as Southport tried to find a way back and Town responded with an Alex White free kick that was saved. However, on 67 minutes, Southport grabbed a lifeline. Winn's mishit shot found its way to Kilheeney who netted from close range. Suddenly the balance of the game swung as Southport poured forward. Powell headed over and Ricketts headed against his own bar before they scored again with seven minutes remaining. The assistant referee spotted a foul on Simm as he went for a high cross and Daly put away the penalty. Ilkeston were now hanging on. Simm fired a good chance over, Kilheeney's low drive was saved by David Bevan, and Flynn's header flashed wide but time ran out for the visitors and The Robins claimed three hard earned points.  

AMARI LATE STRIKE BRINGS BACK POINT
19TH AUGUST 2009
CORBY TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Corby, previously the only team in the Conference North with maximum points, were held to a draw by Ilkeston although it needed a late equaliser by Amari Morgan-Smith to give The Robins the point they deserved. Corby looked to be on their way to another victory when they led at half time but Ilkeston came back strongly and could even have snatched a victory at the death. Ilkeston began quite well but the home side gradually gained the initiative. When Stallard met a Mayo free kick on the volley it needed a fine save by David Bevan to keep The Robins on equal terms. However, Ilkeston fell behind on 32 minutes when a sliced clearance was forced home by former Robins player Leon Mettam from close range. Corby's direct attacking put Ilkeston's shaky defence under plenty of pressure as the half wore on although David Graham's long range strike with 'keeper Osborn out of his goal came close to giving The Robins a surprise equaliser on the stroke of half time.

Ilkeston regrouped and came back strongly after the break and they drew level in the 51st minute. Danny Holmes' corner was flicked on by Gary Ricketts and Graham nodded home. The Robins grew in confidence but were stunned when Corby regained the lead on 72 minutes. Lee's shot was stopped by Tom Bonner on the line and Mayo was first to react to crash the ball home. Ilkeston refused to lie down and they got the equaliser their overall play deserved three minutes from time. Ricketts' excellent through ball put substitute Amari Morgan-Smith in the clear and he coolly slipped the ball past Osborn. Ilkeston went in search of a last gasp winner but were denied by an Osborn save from Ricketts' shot. 

MORGAN-SMITH REFUSES TO HYDE
22ND AUGUST 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 1 HYDE UNITED 1
Ilkeston earned the point they deserved with a stoppage time equaliser from the penalty spot from Amari Morgan-Smith. Until that point they had most of the chances and possession after falling behind to an early goal against unbeaten Hyde United. Nevertheless The Robins lacked fluency throughout and promising opportunities were wasted too frequently by a poor final ball. Hyde took the lead inside 2 minutes when Arnold went on a long run and found Smith on the right. His intended cross curled and dipped over stranded 'keeper Dan Lowson and ended in the corner of the net. Town settled down after the setback but grew more frustrated as the half wore on as they were unable to break through. The closest they came to an equaliser was when Sam Duncum went on a fine run down the left and ran along the by line but his low cross just eluded Gary Ricketts' outstretched foot. Kieran Murphy also had a towering header comfortably saved by Jones. Hyde looked lively on the break but their final ball also left something to be desired.

Ilkeston began the second half strongly when Duncum cut inside from the left and he was desperately unlucky to see his fierce right foot drive bounce off the foot of the far post. Hyde continued to threaten on the break and Arnold should have done better when he was put in the clear but he chose to shoot from range and Lowson made a straightforward save. Ricketts came close to an equaliser when he firmly headed a Danny Holmes' corner against the bar whilst at the other end David McNiven's dipping 25 yard free kick clipped the top of the bar. It seemed as if it was going to be Ilkeston's day when Ricketts toe poked a loose ball past Jones but wide of the post. However, in stoppage time, Tom Bonner flicked the ball past Lynch and ran unchallenged into the area before he was adjudged to have been brought down by 'keeper Jones. Amari Morgan-Smith, on as substitute for David Graham, sent Jones the wrong way from the spot to preserve Ilkeston's unbeaten home record. 

RICKETTS OFF AS TOWN BRING HOME POINT
AUGUST 29TH 2009
AFC TELFORD UNITED 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0
A well organised Ilkeston team dug deep and showed great character during the final 33 minutes when Gary Ricketts was shown the red card for a second bookable offence. There were few clear cut chances for either side throughout but The Robins thoroughly deserved their point against a highly rated but strangely off colour Telford team. Honours were even in the first half. The first serious goal attempt fell Ilkeston's way when Ricketts headed wide. Telford responded with a Rodgers header from Torpey's corner that was cleared off the line by Danny Holmes. Ilkeston were denied a goal by a fine reaction save by Young that kept out a well struck shot by Amari Morgan-Smith. Ricketts was booked for a foul on Carey-Bertram shortly before the break and the resultant free kick by Newton clipped the top of the bar.

The second half began with Torpey blasting well over the bar. Ilkeston were reduced to ten men on 57 minutes when Ricketts received his second yellow following a tangle with Whitehead. Telford still lacked potency and Town went close to scoring with a Luke Waterfall header that landed on the roof of the net. As to be expected the home side put on some late pressure. When Torpey saw his shot blocked by 'keeper Dan Lowson Carey-Bertram and Rodgers both had efforts cleared in the ensuing scramble. Lowson then saved an angled drive by Brown, Whitehead's free header from Edwards' cross missed the target, and Lowson produced a fine save to keep out Trainer's low shot. The final chance fell to Nolan who glanced Torpey's cross wide of the post as Ilkeston successfully held out.  

GOALLESS AGAIN
5TH SEPTEMBER 2009
WORKINGTON 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston returned with a second successive nil nil draw away from home. The result was a fair one with both teams cancelling each other out in a game of few chances although The Robins probably felt that the win was there for the taking. Ilkeston were the better team in the first half from the moment Caig saved bravely at Amari Morgan-Smith's feet early in the game. Morgan-Smith then went close to connecting with a Sam Duncum cross, and Gary Ricketts headed over from Jake Beecroft's centre. A Duncum run down the middle ended with a 20 yard shot that went just wide. Workington's only effort of the first half was a Wright shot that Dan Lowson dealt with comfortably.

Workington showed more ambition after the break but Ilkeston defended successfully with few alarms. Arnison fired just over, and Wright should have done better than firing well off target after being set up by Arnison. Ricketts had Ilkeston's best attempt of the second half when he shot over from 18 yards and Liam Green's free kick was off target but it was Workington who almost grabbed a last gasp winner when Cooke shot narrowly over from outside the area.

MOORS NOT THE MERRIER
8TH SEPTEMBER 2009
SOLIHULL MOORS 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
Ilkeston stretched their unbeaten run to eight games thanks to an excellent performance. The game was effectively won inside the first twenty minutes when Gary Ricketts fired them into a two goal lead. The first came on 12 minutes when Alex White made a good run down the left and his cross to the near post was volleyed home in style into the roof of the net. Jake Beecroft's surge forward and shot led to a corner that brought about Ricketts' second in the 18th minute, a fine header from Paul Dempsey's flag kick. Now in total control Town had a great chance to score again when Amari Morgan-Smith played in Sam Duncum made 'keeper Crane made a fine save. The only downside of an excellent first half for Ilkeston was when Ricketts was booked for a high challenge. Solihull barely posed a threat before the break, the only shot of note being one from Johnson that was blocked by Charlie O'Loughlin.

Unsurprisingly the home side came out fighting in the second half but Ilkeston defended well. When an Edwards shot went behind for a corner he met the resultant flag kick with a neat header but White cleared by the post. Ilkeston always looked to counter attack and Street was given a yellow card for a foul on Morgan-Smith as The Robins pushed forward. Edwards shot wide for Solihull as they continued to test Ilkeston's resolve but it was Town who scored the killer goal on 71 minutes. Duncum swerved past two defenders on the right and aimed his drive perfectly into the far corner for a lovely goal. Ilkeston held on comfortably for a thoroughly deserved three points with arguably their most complete performance of the season to date. 

MOTORS CRASH AS ROBINS PILE UP GOALS
12TH SEPTEMBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 4 VAUXHALL MOTORS 0
Ilkeston produced their most accomplished display of the season to date and moved within two points of the leaders. Irrestible in the first half they were two goals to the good at the break. Sam Duncum opened the scoring on 20 minutes when he intercepted the ball close to the halfway line and ran fifty yards, holding off a challenge, before cutting inside to drive low past  'keeper St Louis-Hamilton. Left back Alex White doubled the score in the 36th minute with a remarkable effort. Speeding down the left but with no one in support his speculative lob dropped over the keeper's head and into the far corner. St Louis-Hamilton made amends with a fine save before the break from Amari Morgan-Smith who had been released by Liam Green's clever pass, with David Graham's effort from the rebound hitting a defender and bouncing to safety.

Vauxhall enjoyed greater possession for a spell in the second half but their clever approach play rarely troubled Ilkeston's well organised defence. And it was Ilkeston who scored again in the 73rd minute through a Morgan-Smith penalty after Duncum was brought down by St Louis-Hamilton following Graham's astute pass. Duncum scored his second and Town's fourth four minutes later. Paul Dempsey put him clear and although St-Louis Hamilton got a hand to the ball as Duncum rounded him the winger recovered possession to slide the ball home from a difficult angle to cap an excellent display.

DAN BREAKS RECORD BUT ROBINS BROKEN TOO
19TH SEPTEMBER 2009
HINCKLEY UNITED 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Goalkeeper Dan Lowson broke a club record that stood for 55 years by going 608 minutes without conceding a goal but when he was finally beaten Ilkeston were beaten too, for the first time in ten games. The game was a tight affair between two well matched sides. Hinckley probably shaded the first half but Ilkeston responded positively after the break and should have been in front by the time Hinckley got the winning goal. Defences dominated a scrappy first half and the better chances fell Hinckley's way. Ebrienne's neat pass put Webster clear but his chip went well over the bar, and a header by Webster from a Gidding's free kick dipped wide of the post. Ilkeston's best effort came from Sam Duncum who went on a fine run but his finish didn't trouble 'keeper MacKenzie too greatly.

The Robins seized the initiative after the break. Liam Green's excellent pass found Duncum who beat a defender only to drag his shot wide with only MacKenzie to beat. Duncum injured his hamstring in trying to score and couldn't carry on, David Graham taking his place from the bench. Ilkeston then appealed for a penalty when Luke Waterfall's shot appeared to strike a Hinckley hand after Jake Beecroft's corner had been headed back by Gary Ricketts. Graham soon took advantage of a defensive mix up but was thwarted by MacKenzie as he went through, and the same player cleverly created an opening for himself but volleyed over from a tight angle. Hinckley took the lead on 70 minutes against the run of play. Ilkeston's defence failed to clear Taylor's cross and Dillon drove the ball through a crowded area into the net to end Lowson's ten hour stint without letting in a goal. The setback deflated The Robins and Lowson needed lengthy treatment for a head wound when he saved bravely from Webster. Hinckley could have scored a second when Hall found space and shot wide but it would have been rough justice for an Ilkeston team that deserved something from the game. 

ILKESTON THROUGH TO THE NEXT STAGE
26TH SEPTEMBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 4 MILDENHALL TOWN 1 (FA CUP SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston always had plenty in reserve as they rarely hit top gear in overcoming their Eastern Counties League opponents. Nevertheless, Mildenhall gave a good account of themselves and were a credit to their league. When Mildenhall threatened to come back into the game The Robins' made certain of victory as their extra class told. Sands almost put the visitors ahead early on with a turn and shot that hit the woodwork but it was Ilkeston who took the lead on 17 minutes. Kieran Murphy's deep free kick was headed down by Gary Ricketts and Paul Dempsey drove into the corner past 'keeper Pope. The Robins could have been two up when Amari Morgan-Smith was brought down by Clarke but his penalty bounced to safety off the post. Sands threatened again with a header that forced Dan Lowson into a save before Ricketts' header at the other end went wide.

Ilkeston extended their lead eight minutes into the second half with a low angled drive from the edge of the box into the far corner by Dempsey for his second. But Mildenhall were not ready to give up and they shocked The Robins with a 61st minute goal by Barrett who broke clear to shoot past Lowson. Sands then drove a cross shot across the face of Lowson's goal as Ilkeston suddenly looked vulnerable. However, The Robins scored the killer goal that made the game safe on 75 minutes. Pope couldn't reach Jake Beecroft's deep corner and Charlie O'Loughlin powered in a far post header. Three minutes later an inviting cross from the left dipped invitingly for Luke Waterfall to volley firmly into the net off the post with David Graham in close attendance for the fourth.   

ROBINS BLOW COLD IN WIND
3RD OCTOBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 0 GLOUCESTER CITY 0
Ilkeston, with a strong wind behind them in the first half that made constructive football difficult, dominated but Gloucester came back strongly after the break and Town were happy to collect a point. It was a tale of missed chances for both teams. Early in the game Amari Morgan-Smith cut inside and shot for goal, 'keeper Green got his hand to it, and as the ball bounced awkwardly to the far post Jake Beecroft was unable to direct his diving header into the unguarded net. When Gary Ricketts attempted a scissor kick from a Beecroft cross he only succeeded in connecting with Baldwin's head and received a yellow card for dangerous play. Ricketts was injured soon after and was replaced by David Graham who glanced a free header just wide from a high cross with Green caught in two minds. Green had made a brave save earlier when Morgan-Smith burst into the box.

Gloucester were more adventurous after the break and Ilkeston had to thank Dan Lowson for keeping them on level terms. He produced a brilliant one handed save to keep out Pitcher's shot that was curling towards the top corner. Then he made a low save to keep out a firm drive by the same player, Smith firing the loose ball across the face of the goal from a narrow angle. Richards then went close to giving Gloucester the lead with a header that clipped the bar. Ilkeston eventually settled and Charlie O'Loughlin's downward header from point blank range from Beecroft's corner was somehow kept out by Green. Sam Duncum then pulled the ball back for Morgan-Smith and his miscue fell to Beecroft who shot wide under pressure from 8 yards. Morgan-Smith then fired wide another chance after Duncum crossed but Gloucester came back strongly during the closing stages. A Richards header flashed wide, and when Lowson tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick close to the corner flag he was robbed by Sykes whose curling effort from the tightest of angles landed on the roof of the open net. 

TWO SEE RED AS ROBINS LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY
10TH OCTOBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 1 EASTWOOD TOWN 1 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND)
A highly competitive incident packed local derby in which both teams were committed to attacking football ended in a draw. Blue Square North rivals Ilkeston and Eastwood both enjoyed periods of dominance that could have ended in victory but the result was a fair one. Although the game was fiercely fought it was generally played in the right spirit, despite a player from each side receiving a red card. Ilkeston dominated the first 20 minutes of the game. Amari Morgan-Smith and Paul Dempsey both shot narrowly over but the best chance fell to Charlie O'Loughlin who put his free header from Jake Beecroft's free kick wide of the post. Eastwood stunned The Robins by going in front against the run of play in the 21st minute when Brown cut in from the left and found former Ilkeston player Emeka Nwadike who scored with a firm low shot from 12 yards. Suddenly Ilkeston looked shaky at the back and they were relieved when Ian Holmes' effort was ruled out for offside after Brown's shot came back off the post. Worse was to follow for The Robins when Gary Ricketts' elbow appeared to catch James Turner who went down clutching his face. The referee didn't hesitate in issuing a straight red card although the irate Ricketts clearly felt that Turner had conned the official. With Eastwood in control Holmes shot wide before Ilkeston came back well just before half time. Sam Duncum was brought down by former Ilkeston defender Paul Robinson as he looked set to burst through on goal and the Eastwood player was booked. Morgan-Smith's resultant free kick from 25 yards curled into the side net.

Ilkeston, despite their numerical disadvantage, came out positively after the break. Morgan-Smith and Beecroft both saw shots miss the target and a decent strike by Alex White went over the top. Eastwood tried to make the extra man count and former Robin Anton Foster set up substitute Knox for a header that Dan Lowson did well to stop. They had a great chance to make the game safe but Whitehurst put his free header over from 10 yards. Ilkeston came back again and Luke Waterfall's header from a Danny Holmes' corner was blocked. Then came the turning point. Morgan-Smith twisted inside the area and was felled by Robinson who was duly sent off for his second bookable offence. Morgan-Smith coolly thumped the spot kick inside the post to equalise on 71 minutes. Eastwood suddenly looked shaky and when Morgan-Smith charged down a clearance he slipped the ball through to Duncum who forced the ball past former Ilkeston 'keeper Ross Turner only to see Russell Cooke, another former Ilkeston man, clear the ball before it crossed the line. As the game headed towards its close both teams appeared to settle for a replay.  

AMARI MAGIC CROWNS ROBINS CUP SUPER SHOW
13TH OCTOBER 2009
EASTWOOD TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 3 (FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY)
Ilkeston blended fine attacking play with brave defending to deservedly book their place in the Fourth Qualifying Round at the expense of local rivals Eastwood. Most of the first half saw both teams anxious to give nothing away and chances were few and far between. Meikle, following a good run, dragged his shot wide as Eastwood fired the first serious goal attempt. At the other end Sam Duncum created himself a chance when he cut in from the left but he failed to connect properly with his right foot and former Ilkeston 'keeper Ross Turner wasn't troubled. However, on 41 minutes, Turner was very much troubled when he raced out of his area to clear only to see the ball rebound off Amari Morgan-Smith and roll 30 yards into the empty net. Boosted by the goal Ilkeston looked for a second goal before the break and Gary Ricketts headed wide from a Dan Holmes corner.

Two minutes into the second half Ilkeston scored again when Ricketts met Holmes' near post corner with a first time volley into the roof of the net from 6 yards. The Robins were now in control and Duncum cut in and shot only to see James Turner clear the ball as it was heading inside the far post. Paul Dempsey then shot over before Eastwood threw everything at Ilkeston. The Robins stood firm under the bombardment with Eastwood's best efforts coming from Brown who lobbed over and Knox whose near post header from Meikle's cross grazed the upright. And it was Knox who ensured a tense finale when he shot home from the tightest of angles from the left with ten minutes to go. Knox then saw another goal attempt fly well off target but as Eastwood pressed they left gaps at the back. Morgan-Smith did all the hard work with a fine run but his final shot went high and wide from 15 yards. But he amends with a tremendous finish on 88 minutes when he scored his second and Ilkeston's third. Picking up the ball inside his own half wide on the right he raced into the area, cut inside, and beat Turner with a low left foot shot. The Robins were home and dry but there was still time for Dan Lowson to make two smart saves to keep out strikes from Brown and former Robins defender Paul Robinson.

SLICK VICS STUMPED BY HERO LOWSON
17TH OCTOBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 1 NORTHWICH VICTORIA 1
Northwich Victoria demonstrated why they would have been in second place in the table but for a ten point deduction with a feast of attacking football that mustered twenty goal attempts. They did not win because Ilkeston refused to lie down, despite Charlie O'Loughlin being sent off for an alleged head butt seven minutes before half time. More importantly, Robins 'keeper Dan Lowson had a memorable game producing a string of excellent saves, the best of which was a diving stop to deny Allan moments before O'Loughlin's red card. He had made superb saves early on to keep out Elam, Connor and Danks and although David Graham missed a half chance for Ilkeston The Vics continued to press with Danks volleying over Brown's cross. Northwich should have scored shortly before the break but Danks dragged a good chance wide.

The Robins came close to stunning the visitors with a goal early in the second half when Neal Hooks took advantage of an error by Elam but his shot was well saved by Aspden. It was no surprise when The Vics went ahead in the 52nd minute although there was controversy about the decision that led to Danks putting away the penalty high into the net. Jake Beecroft got in the way of a shot, the ball appearing to strike his shoulder but the referee, who handed out seven cards in a competitive but clean game, ruled the ball had been handled. Ilkeston, who attacked when they could, were not rattled by this setback and they won a penalty of their own seven minutes later after Sam Duncum's tricky run was halted by Aspin's foul. Amari Morgan-Smith equalised from the spot to set up a tense finale. Northwich continued to look threatening but couldn't find a way past Town's defiant defence. Lowson made fine saves from an Allan header, Newley and Riley. Another attempt was blocked well by Alex White and Kieran Murphy was well positioned to clear Allan's header off the line. Lowson's fine display was appreciated by former Ilkeston star 'keeper of the 1950s, Joe Sharman, who was guest of honour at the game.    

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
24TH OCTOBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 2 TAMWORTH 0 (FA CUP FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston progressed to the First Round of the FA Cup for the sixth time in their history and the first time in nine years with this deserved victory. Heavy rain before the game and a strong wind throughout made conditions difficult and Ilkeston, despite not being at their best, adapted better than a Tamworth side who rarely demonstrated their Conference credentials. The visitors created the first opportunity as Russell found Pritchard whose shot was stopped by Dan Lowson and Wylde fired the rebound over but Ilkeston responded positively. Amari Morgan-Smith raced into the area and his shot was parried to safety by Alcock. Paul Dempsey headed over a Tom Bonner cross from 8 yards before Tamworth hit back. Blackwood's cross found Russell whose shot was saved by Lowson and Wylde headed over the top. However, it was The Robins who opened the scoring on 31 minutes. Jake Beecroft's cross was headed against the post by Josh Burge and the ball went into the net off Alcock as he tried to prevent the ball from crossing the line. As Ilkeston continued to control the game the unmarked David Graham headed high and wide from a corner and then had a penalty appeal turned down when Morgan-Smith rounded Alcock and appeared to be impeded by Briscoe. When Graham had a shot blocked Morgan-Smith's 25 yard shot flashed wide. Shortly before half time the game turned ugly and Danny Holmes, Bonner, Pritchard and Blackwood were shown yellow cards following a dust up.

The referee handed out another booking early in the second half when Gaughan fouled Morgan-Smith. Tamworth were trying to get back on level terms and on the hour Pritchard's flick on was converted by Blackwood from close range but he had strayed offside and the goal didn't stand. Three minutes later Ilkeston went further ahead. Morgan-Smith robbed Lyttle and found Graham on the edge of the area and he worked himself into a position to shoot past Alcock. Tamworth's response was a Shaw effort that was deflected over and a late challenge by Sheridan on Luke Waterfall that earned another booking. Graham became the next player to pick up a yellow card when he kicked the ball away. As the game entered the closing stages Alcock could only push out Morgan-Smith's cross but Burge was unable to direct his snap shot under the bar. At the other end Wylde's cross was headed over by Briscoe and when Sheridan chased Mills' forward pass Lowson was able to block the shot. Graham's snap shot forced a decent save from Alcock as Town looked for a third and with time running out Tamworth's hopes of a consolation ended when Sheridan shot into the side net after being fed by Tait.  

RANGERS CAUSE DANGERS TOO GREAT FOR TOWN
27TH OCTOBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 2 STAFFORD RANGERS 3
Ilkeston fell to their first home defeat of the season against a Stafford team that came to attack at every opportunity. With both defences looking shaky, Ilkeston's cause not being helped by Alex White limping off early on with a suspected broken foot, there was always the threat of goals in an exciting and often frantic game but the visitors' lively and speedy forwards always looked the more dangerous. Nevertheless Ilkeston created enough chances of their own to have got something from the game, albeit undeservedly. Stafford took the lead inside 2 minutes when Josh Burge's error allowed Wellecome to flick the ball through for Mills to score with a fierce shot from inside the area. Moult then tested Dan Lowson with a well struck low drive before Ilkeston responded with a Burge free kick that former Ilkeston 'keeper Lee Evans failed to gather but Charlie O'Loughlin headed over. Wellecome forced Lowson into a fingertip save from the edge of the box as Stafford came again but Evans saved them at the other end when he somehow blocked the unmarked David Graham's volley from close range. However, Graham had more luck in the 34th minute when O'Loughlin's long diagonal ball was cushion headed by Wooliscroft towards Evans but straight into Graham's path and he coolly lobbed the stranded 'keeper from the edge of the area for the equaliser. Stafford regained the initiative straight from the restart when Kasiama's through ball was cleverly back heeled by Wellecome to Moult and his shot took a deflection off O'Loughlin to give Lowson no chance. Ilkeston pressed for an equaliser before half time and Sam Duncum's fine run ended with a low cross that Graham fired wide under pressure but it was Stafford who came closest to scoring again. Wooliscroft's free kick caused chaos in the goalmouth and Wellecome crashed a shot against the bar from 8 yards.

Ilkeston got off to the best possible start to the second half when they were awarded a hotly disputed penalty seconds after the restart. Amari Morgan-Smith was adjudged to have been clipped by Udoji on the corner of the area and he picked himself up to score from the spot. Town were then awarded an indirect free kick just 8 yards out when Evans picked up Kasiama's back pass. Graham's shot was blocked and as the ball spun upwards and down under the bar Franics headed off the line. Udoji twice bravely blocked Graham shots before Stafford began to create more chances. Lowson saved a Moult shot by the foot of the post before pulling off a spectacular diving catch as Wooliscroft's curling free kick headed for the top corner. Stafford's pressure paid off on 71 minutes when Thornley's free kick down the middle was back headed by the unmarked Wilson over the stranded Lowson into the unguarded net for a soft goal. Wilson almost turned villain when his header back needed a full length save by Evans to prevent an own goal. Ilkeston created two late chances in their search for an equaliser. In the last minute Duncum went on an electrifying run and crossed low to the far post where Burge could only fire over from 6 yards. Deep into stoppage time a corner was headed back across goal to Graham but he was unable to direct his close range header on target.  

AMARI MAGIC CONJURES UP FINE VICTORY
31 OCTOBER 2009
BLYTH SPARTANS 1 ILKESTON TOWN 4
Ilkeston destroyed Blyth with a ruthless display of attacking football that saw them go three goals up in 30 minutes. But their performance had its gloss removed from it by a reckless 43rd minute challenge by Boyle that left David Graham with a leg broken in two places. The Robins attacked from the word go, and Amari Morgan-Smith shot over and Graham stabbed wide following good work by Sam Duncum before they took the lead on 7 minutes. Duncum's ball found Graham whose shot was heading wide before Morgan-Smith redirected it into the net at the far post. The lead was doubled in the 15th minute when Tom Bonner's deep cross was turned back into the danger area for Morgan-Smith to tap home his second. Blyth's first threatening moment was thwarted by Dan Lowson who denied Brayson but Ilkeston continued to look dangerous with Morgan-Smith twice going close including a shot from the edge of the box that flashed narrowly wide. However, on 30 minutes they made it three when Neal Hooks' wayward shot was turned in by Graham. Boyle's 25 yard shot was confidently held by Lowson as Blyth tried to repair the damage but before long he was shown the red card for his clattering challenge on Graham.

Despite the obvious distress that Ilkeston felt following the loss of Graham they remained the better side after half time. Aaron Mitchell headed a decent chance wide and Hooks' corner was met by a Morgan-Smith header that was cleared off the line by Williams. Morgan-Smith was not to be denied his hat-trick, however, when he was left with a simple finish on 58 minutes after Duncum outpaced Harrison. Hooks shot just over as The Robins went in search of more goals before, in a rare Blyth attack, Harrison shot across the face of Lowson's goal. Morgan-Smith came close to scoring his fourth when he was left with only Bell to beat but the 'keeper blocked with his legs and substitute Jermaine Palmer later fired against the bar. The home side scored a consolation goal with six minutes remaining when Brayson's cross was headed in by Webster at the far post.  

U'S CRUISE AS ROBINS LOSE
7TH NOVEMBER 2009
CAMBRIDGE UNITED 4 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (FA CUP FIRST ROUND)
Ilkeston held their own for an hour after falling behind to an early goal but Cambridge turned on the style late on to give the score a slightly misleading look. The Robins were up against it after 4 minutes when Pitt's cross was only partly cleared by Aaron Mitchell and when the ball came back into the box it fell kindly to the unmarked Holroyd who shot confidently past the stranded Dan Lowson. Lowson then did well to turn away Willmott's low shot but despite the home side's threatening attacks Ilkeston came more into the game. Amari Morgan-Smith's looping header cleared the bar before Sam Duncum's fine run took him round 'keeper Potter but tha angle was too tight and Cambridge were able to clear. Cambridge were always dangerous going forward and Saah headed a Crow cross wide, Crow shot off target himself, and when McAuley's cross was only partly cleared Pitt blasted well wide. Ilkeston pressure late in the first half ended with a Morgan-Smith shot being well stopped by Potter.

Cambridge began the second half well with Crow's long range shot forcing Lowson to save at full stretch but soon The Robins had their most dangerous spell in the game. Duncum's run and cross caused chaos but somehow Junior Mendes and Morgan-Smith were unable to profit. Then, soon after Reason was booked for holding back Duncum, Paul Dempsey fired a terrific shot from 25 yards that clipped the bar. But, on 64 minutes, a wonderful goal by Reason, who fired Pitt's pass into the top corner from 25 yards changed the complexion of the game. Ilkeston were forced to press forward in greater numbers and although Mendes appeared to be tripped no penalty was given, Neal Hooks' firing the loose ball to bring a fine one handed stop by Potter as the referee allowed play to continue. Gaps in Town's defence were beginning to appear and when Dempsey was adjudged to have handled just outside the area Pitt curled a beautiful 71st minute free kick over the wall for Cambridge's third. Willmott's free kick caused problems in The Robins' defence that were only alleviated by a good smothering save by Lowson, and then Holroyd was presented with an open goal but he could only turn and volley over from point blank range. Substitute Josh Burge tried his luck with a 25 yard shot that went wide before Cambridge got a fourth four minutes from time. Challinor and Marriott opened up the defence for Crow to make room and fire past Lowson from the edge of the area. Town were now well beaten but Burge wasn't far off with a shot from 20 yards that cleared the bar.

HANDY ANDY SENDS REDS TO VICTORY
10TH NOVEMBER 2009
ALFRETON TOWN 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0
After shading a first half when they restricted Ilkeston to a few half chances Alfreton took full control after the break to defeat a disappointing Robins team. Ilkeston began well enough and when Amari Morgan-Smith supplied Sam Duncum he cut into the area but his shot was blocked as was another Duncum effort following a Neal Hooks' free kick. In between Morgan-Smith found himself being given a yellow card for retalliation after a challenge by Flint who received a similar punishment from the referee. Alfreton's first moment of real note came from Reeves who beat two men before forcing Dan Lowson into an excellent save and as they continued to press Flint had a header blocked. Kerry then put Reeves through but Lowson denied him again before, at the other end, Paul Dempsey's superb pass played Duncum in but his shot was scrambled to safety.

Alfreton began the second half strongly. Lowson turned a Reeves shot away for a corner that was met by Clayton at the near post but his header cleared the bar. When Ross' free kick was only partly cleared Flint fired in a terrific low shot that just missed the target. Finally, on 56 minutes, The Reds took a deserved lead although the goal had an element of good fortune about it. Former Ilkeston player Andy Todd's low shot took a deflection and beat the wrong footed Lowson. Clayton's diving header went close to doubling Alfreton's lead and substitute Hall forced Lowson into another good stop. The longer the half went on the more in control Alfreton became until a late Ilkeston rally. Substitutes Danny Holmes and Jermaine Palmer combined when the latter headed over a free kick from the former, and Tom Bonner twice had shots blocked. But Alfreton ensured the points were safe when on a counter attack Hall broke clear to score with a firm low shot on 89 minutes. 

LEADERS HELD BY RESOLUTE ROBINS
14TH NOVEMBER 2009
SOUTHPORT 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Two strong defences kept chances to a minimum in a game that improved the longer it went on. Ilkeston edged the first half and probably deserved their lead but prolonged Southport pressure after half time brought them a goal and ensured the result was a fair one. The Robins defended comfortably during the opening period and looked purposeful without really threatening the leaders. Southport managed a few shots, mainly from long range, such as McGinn's 30 yard free kick that went straight into Dan Lowson's arms and a Gray strike from 25 yards that went wide. The closest they came to scoring was an angled drive by Booth that Lowson parried to safety. It was Ilkeston who went ahead on 41 minutes, however. Sam Duncum's cross was only partly cleared and Amari Morgan-Smith set up for Danny Holmes to score with a lovely looping header from 15 yards.

Southport came out on the attack after the break. Lowson did well to parry Moogan's 25 yard drive, Aley clipped the bar with a cross shot, and Lowson saved another effort from Aley. Just when it seemed that Southport were running out of ideas, with Moogan getting a yellow card for a foul on Luke Waterfall as their frustration grew, Daly delivered an excellent crossfield ball to the onrushing Booth who took the ball forward and tucked the ball under Lowson for a 66th minute equaliser. The leaders went in search of a winner but Ilkeston looked capable of scoring on the break themselves, Duncum going on a mazy run before firing in a shot that McMillan somehow kept out. Substitute Simm headed wide from a Booth cross at the other end before the unmarked Charlie O'Loughlin had a chance to snatch an Ilkeston victory but he headed over Tom Bonner's cross. Southport almost won it at the death when Simm's cross gave Kilheeney a great chance but he headed over the top.

MOSSLEY EARN REPLAY AS ROBINS FLOUNDER
21ST NOVEMBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 1 MOSSLEY 1 (FA TROPHY THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND)
Ilkeston struggled to impose their authority against an impressive Mossley team placed two steps below The Robins. The Unibond First Division North team looked the better side until Ilkeston took the lead and although The Robins appeared to be on course for victory Mossley came back to score a deserved equaliser. Town began well enough and Jake Beecroft put Gary Ricketts through but Collinge saved his shot and Beecroft couldn't convert the rebound. Mossley's first chance fell to Brown who shot wide before Collinge saved Amari Morgan-Smith's low shot at the other end. Mossley began to take control and Settle got free to fire a well struck shot that 'keeper Dan Lowson did well to tip over. Brown's resultant corner was then hooked off the line by Paul Dempsey. Kay shot wide as Mossley continued to dictate before, in a rare Ilkeston attack before half time, Ricketts shot wide from Morgan-Smith's pass.

Ilkeston began the second half well with a clever Dan Holmes free kick that released Sam Duncum whose cross was partly cleared only as far as Holmes but his shot went just wide. Town went in front on 55 minutes when a poor clearance fell to Morgan-Smith who lost control in a good position but the ball fell nicely to Duncum who cut inside to plant the ball in the corner of the net. They went close to a second when Holmes' cross eluded Ricketts and clipped the far post, and Holmes then fired well wide after a forward burst. Suddenly, Mossley drew level on 79 minutes. Ilkeston failed to deal with a high ball and Moore shot low past Lowson. Gaining confidence Mossley almost grabbed a winner late on when Brown's corner was headed powerfully by Russell but Lowson made the save. 

RICKETTS AT THE DOUBLE AS TOWN HIT BACK
24TH NOVEMBER 2009
MOSSLEY 0 ILKESTON TOWN 2 (FA TROPHY THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY)
Ilkeston responded positively to their disappointing home draw with Mossley and their higher status showed. They were the better team throughout in a match played in driving rain but Mossley, to their credit, limited Ilkeston's scoring opportunities. The first chance fell to Town but Sam Duncum shot straight at 'keeper Collinge. It took a long time for the home side to create anything of note but they went close to taking the lead with a low Settle shot that forced Dan Lowson into an important save.

With the wind behind them Ilkeston dominated the second half. Neal Hooks shot narrowly over before they took the lead in the 59th minute, Gary Ricketts forcing home a Dan Holmes corner from close range. Ricketts was on target again four minutes later with a header to put the tie beyond Mossley's reach. Town had a penalty appeal turned down late on when Rory Prendergrast took a tumble in the area. 

CHARLIE HEADS ROBINS IN RIGHT DIRECTION
28TH NOVEMBER 2009
HARROGATE TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston came away with the points although bottom club Harrogate didn't give up without a fight. The Robins dominated the first half but Harrogate came back strongly after the break and it needed some resolute defending to keep them at bay. Ilkeston created chances before they took the lead. Gary Ricketts screwed a shot wide from Rory Prendergast's cross, and when Amari Morgan-Smith got past two defenders down the left his cross was headed by Sam Duncum but 'keeper Ratchford made the save. The Robins went ahead on 34 minutes when Dan Holmes' corner was collected by Prendergrast and his cross was headed home by Charlie O'Loughlin. Minutes later he almost scored again. Prendergrast's cross was punched out by Ratchford to Duncum and his cross was played on by Ricketts to O'Loughlin but this time his header hit the post.

The second half saw Harrogate apply some heavy pressure as they went in search of an equaliser. Nowakowski and substitute Dutton went close before Ilkeston created their only real opportunity of the half, Prendergrast shooting just off target after being set up by Duncum. The closing stages belonged to Harrogate but they couldn't find a way through. The closest they came to a goal was when substitute and future Ilkeston player Jimmy Ghaichem's shot was well tipped over the bar by 'keeper Dan Lowson, and a free kick by former Ilkeston player Simon Harrison whose free kick went just wide.  

TOWN TAKE SHORT ROUTE TO SUCCESS
1ST DECEMBER 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 3 PINXTON 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SECOND ROUND)
Fielding a relatively inexperienced side Ilkeston did enough to book a place in the last 8. Pinxton were lively, enthusiastic opponents who played the game in the right spirit but they didn't quite possess enough quality to seriously trouble The Robins. Nevertheless, Ilkeston were never really in complete command until the final 20 minutes. Pinxton's positive approach paid dividends on 17 minutes when Debrewer cut in from the right past Liam Green to score with a well struck left foot shot from 12 yards, giving David Coombes little chance. Bellison then shot tamely as Pinxton looked to double their advantage but Ilkeston drew level ten minutes later with a delightful individual goal. Oscar Short made room for himself on the edge of the area and curled a beautiful left foot shot beyond 'keeper McCarthy into the far top corner. Then, in the 34th minute, a corner ran loose to Jack Watts who shot through a crowded goalmouth to score from 8 yards, giving Ilkeston the lead.

Pinxton continued to show commendable spirit after the break, Debrewer having a header saved by Coombes and they hit the woodwork but they rarely posed a threat to Coombes. Ilkeston, on the other hand, began to look more dangerous but too often the final ball was wasted. Finally they made the game safe in the 67th minute. Short made a great burst into the box to draw the 'keeper before cleverly squaring the ball to Jermaine Palmer who was left with a simple finish. Town began to play with greater freedom in the closing stages but a lack of killer instinct prevented them from adding to the score. Substitute Amari Morgan-Smith had the pick of the chances but his low shot was blocked by substitute 'keeper Renshaw's legs.

TOWN CAN'T BRIDGE THE GAP
5TH DECEMBER 2009
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston fell behind to an early goal against a Stalybridge team unbeaten in almost four months and took time to settle. Once they did they created enough opportunities to secure at least a point but they failed to take them. Stalybridge scored on 4 minutes when Ilkeston failed to clear an attack and Carr linked with Barlow to cross for Briggs to apply a neat finish. Hankin's bicycle kick went wide before Ilkeston's first real attempt on goal, an Aaron Mitchell header that went just over from Dan Holmes' corner. Dan Lowson came to Ilkeston's rescue with a good save from O'Neill who had come inside from the right but soon The Robins began to take a grip. Jack Watts made himself space but his shot was saved comfortably by Carnell. Sam Duncum then found Gary Ricketts in space but his shot was kept out by Carnell's legs.

Town enjoyed the better of the second half but their finishing let them down. Sam Duncum lashed over the angle of the woodwork, and when he cut inside to strike a fierce volley Carnell did well to tip it over. Celtic were reduced to occasional breaks and could have scored when Hankin screwed a shot across the face of goal but Ilkeston remained the dominant force. Rory Prendergrast's cross wasn't punched out cleanly by Carnell and the loose ball ran to Duncum who shot wide. After Carnell managed to keep out a Ricketts header substitute Amari Morgan-Smith miskicked a golden chance. Their last chance came when a Duncum cross was headed back by Ricketts but Morgan-Smith couldn't force the ball home leaving Ilkeston to regret a game they should have drawn at least. 

TOWN TROPHY HOPES DEAD AS BLYTH COME ALIVE
12TH DECEMBER 2009
BLYTH SPARTANS 2 ILKESTON TOWN 0 (FA TROPHY FIRST ROUND)
Any hopes Ilkeston had of repeating their 4-1 scoreline from the league encounter were quashed midway through the first half. They started brightly enough but were distinctly second best by half time and although there was an improvement after the break they were unable to find the goals to force a replay. Ilkeston's best spell came during the first twenty minutes. Gary Ricketts shot off target, 'keeper Norton couldn't hold a Rory Prendergrast free kick with Amari Morgan-Smith unable to turn home the loose ball, and Sam Duncum shot over following a Morgan-Smith lay off. At the other end Graham shot wide as did Duncum for Ilkeston. Graham then saw a 25 yard shot deflected over the bar before Blyth went in front against the run of play on 22 minutes. A corner fell to Turnbull whose low cross went through a crowd of players and crept in at the far post. The goal gave Blyth a huge boost and Ilkeston struggled to cope. Graham miskicked from 12 yards but his miss wasn't costly as the home side surged further ahead in the 27th minute, Tait heading home Turnbull's corner. Ilkeston responded with a Charlie O'Loughlin header that was tipped over by Norton but Blyth were looking for more goals and almost got them. Williams' 25 yard free kick just cleared the bar and then, in a remarkable incident, Graham and Tait had shots cleared off the line before future Ilkeston player Rikki Bains crashed a shot against the bar. Ilkeston reminded Blyth that they were not out of the game completely when shortly before half time Duncum went on a fine run but his shot clipped the post.

The Robins pushed forward looking for a way back after half time. A corner reached Prendergast in space and his shot from 20 yards hit the post but this was the closest Town came to scoring. Blyth were much less of a force although they did threaten occasionally. Dan Lowson made good saves to deny Doninger and Brayson whilst Graham's shot from 12 yards lacked power. Ilkeston continued to press to no avail. Prendergast's shot from the edge of the area was deflected wide, substitute Josh Burge fired narrowly off target, and Morgan-Smith was denied by Norton's fingertips in the dying moments as Blyth hung on to claim a well deserved victory.

WET WET WET
14TH DECEMBER 2009
BUXTON 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL)
Referee Rob Shoebridge abandoned the game upon completion of 90 minutes as the players were preparing for extra time and a possible penalty shoot out. The pitch had deteriorated during the game after several hours of heavy rain. The Derbyshire FA ruled that as normal time had been completed the result would stand and that a replay at Ilkeston would be necessary. The Robins struggled during the first half once an early long range strike by Josh Burge was tipped over by 'keeper Hartley. It was no surprise when Buxton took an 18th minute lead through Reid from close range after Anderson headed down Black's corner. Buxton came close to scoring on several other occasions in the first half. Former Ilkeston striker Gavin Knight shot straight at David Coombes and another Knight effort, after he had been played in by Reid, flew over the bar. A shot by Stevens from the edge of the area went past Coombes' post.

Ilkeston were much improved in the second half. They thought they had scored when Paul Dempsey scored from a Burge free kick but the effort was ruled out for offside. Then Jack Watts was denied by Harltley after he was put through by Amari Morgan-Smith. The equaliser finally arrived in the 75th minute when substitute Gary Ricketts fired into the corner following Sam Duncum's through ball. Ilkeston came close to a winner when Ricketts sent Duncum away but he put the ball wide of the post. 

FLEETWOOD MAINTAIN RECORD AS CAHILL STRIKES
16TH JANUARY 2010
FLEETWOOD TOWN 1 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Former Ilkeston hero Tom Cahill scored the goal to see off his old club and kept second place Fleetwood's title ambitions well and truly alive. Ilkeston, playing their first game for over a month, began enthusiastically and Neal Hooks' header deflected off Taylor and just cleared the bar. Solid at the back, The Robins matched Fleetwood in the first half despite the home side having the territorial advantage. Cahill had a header turned to safety by 'keeper Dan Lowson who was well positioned to save a powerful McNulty header after Tom Bonner blocked a Clancy snap shot at the expense of a corner. Mullin then shot over for Fleetwood but The Robins looked comfortable and had two goal attempts of their own through Rory Coleman, the first of which was a low shot that went wide, the second effort bringing a straightforward save from Hurst. Pond and Cahill saw their shots blocked at the other end as both teams struggled to take control.

However, after halftime, Ilkeston's lack of match practise became evident and Fleetwood gradually took hold of the game. Cahill had a shot blocked, Clancy's header from a Mullan cross was well saved by Lowson, and Cahill headed narrowly off target from Wright's cross. The Robins' only effort of note during this spell was when Paul Dempsey played Coleman in but he shot wide. Fleetwood finally got the goal that ensured their unbeaten home record would remain intact. On 56 minutes Clancy brilliantly worked his way in from the left to set up a straightforward chance for Cahill six yards out. With Ilkeston looking deflated Fleetwood stepped up a gear and Lowson had to produce a magnificent save, turning over Mullan's fiercely struck shot. Mullan then created a chance for Pond whose header was saved. Ilkeston tried to find a way back but rarely threatened although Gary Ricketts had a shot blocked and Josh Burge headed wide from a Matt Godden cross. However, Fleetwood were never in real danger of losing their advantage. 

ROBINS EDGE THROUGH TO SEMIS
19TH JANUARY 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 3 BUXTON 1 - AFTER EXTRA TIME - (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL REPLAY)
Ilkeston made it through to the final four but were far from convincing as they were pushed all the way by the visitors. The Robins got off to a great start when Dan Holmes' 35 yard screamer found the target after just 9 minutes. Buxton had the chance to equalise four minutes later when Ilkeston 'keeper Dan Lowson conceded a penalty but he redeemed himself by saving Agus' spot kick. The visitors gradually assumed control although Ilkeston came close to a second goal when Alex White forced Hartley into a save.

Buxton had to wait until the 62nd minute for the equaliser, courtesy of former Ilkeston striker Gavin Knight from close range, that took the tie into extra time. However, The Robins came close to a late winner when another well struck shot by Holmes hit the bar. Ilkeston regained the initiative on 95 minutes when Jack Watts shot through a crowded area. Buxton tried to find a way back and Lowson saved a Knight shot and a header by Reed. But Ilkeston made certain of victory five minutes from time when Neal Hooks' intended cross deceived everyone and ended up in the net.

HYDE PUSH ROBINS HARD
25TH JANUARY 2010
HYDE UNITED 1 ILKESTON TOWN 1
The game was by no means a classic and on balance of play Ilkeston were perhaps a shade lucky to come away with a point. Hyde had the better of the early exchanges but Ilkeston came much more into the match midway through the first half. Alex White's good pass was well laid off by Josh Burge to Matt Godden who shot high and wide for Ilkeston's first serious attempt. Then, when Dan Holmes sent over a corner, Gary Ricketts nodded the ball down and Charlie O'Loughlin just failed to force the ball home. Ilkeston's pressure paid off in the 36th minute when another Holmes corner was headed firmly by O'Loughlin and Luke Waterfall was on hand to finish. The Robins ended the half well on top as Waterfall had a shot blocked following a Holmes free kick.

Ilkeston had plenty of defending to do as Hyde came out after the break with renewed vigour. A Lees header landed on the roof of the net whilst at the other end Rory Coleman's effort went wide. But Hyde continued to press and Holsgrove shot wide after coming in from the right. They got their reward with a goal on 76 minutes when substitute Mooney had time to turn and shoot past Dan Lowson. Ilkeston had a lucky escape when Holsgrove broke through and was brought down, the referee indicating that the offence took place on the edge of the area. From Holsgrove's free kick McNiven fired over. Both teams went looking for a winner during the dying minutes and Ilkeston came closest to getting it when Burge's delightful lob brought an important save from Jones. Paul Dempsey also had a shot blocked but Ilkeston spent a tense period of injury time defending their point. 

TOWN FOIL DROYLSDEN
30TH JANUARY 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 1 DROYLSDEN 0
Ilkeston's excellent second half display was enough to see off promotion chasing Droylsden. The first half was a scrappy one that Droylsden edged. Prince got free on the left and cut inside to shoot narrowly past the far post from a tight angle. The Robins had a huge let off when Charlie O'Loughlin stumbled and Gray was able to break clean through the middle but he rolled the ball past both the advancing Dan Lowson and the post. Ilkeston finally got moving and 'keeper Mawson did well to tip over Luke Waterfall's powerful header from a Dan Holmes corner. Another Waterfall effort from another Holmes corner took a slight deflection and was hacked off the line amid appeals for a handling offence. Then Amari Morgan-Smith won possession 30 yards out and fed Rory Coleman with the Droylsden defence in disarray but he shot wide. Droylsden's last effort of the half was a Whalley shot that Lowson dealt with comfortably.

Ilkeston began the second half strongly and when Holmes crossed from the left to the far post Gary Ricketts shot powerfully from close range and was denied by a superb save by the diving Mawson. Mawson saved another Ricketts effort soon after, and a low Morgan-Smith cross shot also brought the 'keeper into play. Droylsden then had a good spell as Whalley's shot just cleared the bar and Beck had an effort ruled out for offside on 61 minutes. Ilkeston had a narrow escape when Lowson raced to the edge of his area to collect but mishandled and Brown, faced with an empty net but a narrow angle, could only put the ball across the face of goal. Ilkeston then stepped up a gear and were rewarded with the winner on 71 minutes. Matt Godden broke into the area from the left and although the advancing Mawson managed to block his shot the ball ran loose to the far post where Morgan-Smith crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar from point blank range. The closing stages were enthralling as an increasingly desperate Droylsden were repeatedly thwarted by Ilkeston's solid defence whilst The Robins counter attacked with verve. Three times Godden's skill took him through on goal and he was denied by the excellent Mawson on each occasion. Another Godden shot fizzed into the side net as Ilkeston enhanced their play off chances with a well earned victory. 

NO GAINS FOR ROBINS
6TH FEBRUARY 2010
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0 ILKESTON TOWN 0
Ilkeston were far from their best but ought to have beaten a disappointing and disjointed Gainsborough team struggling near the bottom. The Robins were comfortable in defence and created plenty of shooting chances but were not clinical in front of goal, so this scrappy game ended all square. They almost took a first half lead when a Charlie O'Loughlin header from a Dan Holmes corner was cleared off the line by Peat. Hall shot wide for Gainsborough after good play between Toulson and McMahon before Gary Ricketts headed wide from a Rory Coleman free kick. Later in the half an Alex White cross found Amari Morgan-Smith and his low shot caused 'keeper Barnes an anxious moment when he made a mess of the save.

Ilkeston continued to have the majority of the play after the break. Morgan-Smith headed over a Holmes cross, and Matt Godden saw his shot blocked after he was released by Coleman's clever free kick. Aiston had a chance to give Gainsborough a surprise lead when he broke through but his shot lacked the power and accuracy to beat Dan Lowson. Peat then saw a volley saved by Lowson after Peters' long throw was only partly cleared. As the game headed towards its conclusion Ricketts pounced on 'keeper Lowson's long punt and neatly pulled the ball back for Coleman who dragged his shot wide. Good play by Ricketts set up Morgan-Smith whose overhead kick cleared the bar before Town tried desperately to find a winner in the dying minutes. White's free kick found Ricketts but his shot was blocked, and a Godden shot was deflected off target as Ilkeston had to settle for a point.

MOTORS SPEED AHEAD
9TH FEBRUARY 2010
VAUXHALL MOTORS 4 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston's usually water tight defence was breached three times in a 20 minute spell before half time and it cost them the match. The Robins raced into a two goal lead as they outclassed the bottom club early on. The opener came on 17 minutes when Paul Dempsey's quickly taken free kick released Matt Godden who shot home. Two minutes later it was Dempsey's turn as he drove the ball home during a goalmouth scramble. The home side grabbed a lifeline in the 24th minute when Furlong broke through and although Dan Lowson made the save Furlong followed up to score from the rebound. Coates made a fine save to deny Dan Holmes as The Robins continued to look threatening but Vauxhall suddenly drew level on the half hour when Wilson converted Dodgson's cross. The goal gave Vauxhall a great boost and they took the lead a minute before half time with a ferocious shot by Furlong. Ilkeston tried to respond with an equalise before half time but Gary Ricketts' shot was saved by Coates.

The frantic pace continued in the second half and Furlong was sent off for a foul on Alex White in the 64th minute. Ilkeston built up some heavy pressure against the ten men and Godden headed just over before having a shot well saved by Coates. Charlie O'Loughlin just cleared the bar with a shot from distance as The Robins searched in vain for a goal. Vauxhall, who only threatened with the occasional break after the interval, got the killer fourth goal two minutes from time when Noon crashed the ball home to crush Town's hopes.

KILLER WATTS LANDS FATAL BLOW
13TH FEBRUARY 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 3 STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 2
Jack Watts' goal five minutes into stoppage time settled a thrilling encounter that skilful Stalybridge didn't deserve to lose. Nevertheless Ilkeston played well and exploited a vulnerable defence. The Robins began well with Gary Ricketts heading over from 6 yards and Luke Waterfall nodded over a Liam Green corner. Ilkeston deservedly went in front on 20 minutes with a Ricketts far post header from Dan Holmes' corner from the left. Stalybridge recovered from the setback well and began to impose themselves on the game. Peyton's shot from distance went wide whilst a powerful strike by Briggs was tipped over by Dan Lowson, but Ilkeston remained in front at half time.

Their lead disappeared two minutes into the second half when O'Neill's near post header from a Peyton free kick found the target. Stalybridge began to take control and Lowson did well to save an excellent long range lob by Banim. Banim also volleyed wide during a spell when Ilkeston offered little apart from a 25 yard shot by Matt Godden that Carnell saved easily. However, Ilkeston stunned the visitors by regaining the lead in the 74th minute. Amari Morgan-Smith caused confusion as a ball came in from out wide and Paul Dempsey was able to prod home from close range. The goal lifted Ilkeston and they had chances to make certain of victory, especially when Godden put Morgan-Smith in on goal only for him to blaze high over. Substitute Jack Watts also brought a fine save from Carnell. But with time running out Stalybridge pushed forward and during a scramble when Lowson made two good saves Rory Coleman handled. Coleman was given a red card before Smart's 87th minute penalty was parried by Lowson but the Stalybridge player reacted swiftly to hammer in the loose ball for the equaliser. A draw seemed to be the likely result until the 95th minute. Morgan-Smith broke into the area and found Watts whose shot on the turn from 8 yards found the corner of the net and gave Ilkeston all three points.

NAILERS' NAYLOR PROMPTS ROBINS FAILURE
16TH FEBRUARY 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 0 BELPER TOWN 1 (DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP SEMI FINAL)
A powerful headed goal by Naylor in the 40th minute from a Fedorenko cross settled the issue and it was the least Belper deserved. They controlled the first half and almost scored again shortly before half time when former Ilkeston defender James Colliver's header from Naylor's cross brought an excellent save from Dan Lowson.

Belper had a chance to go further ahead early in the second half but Stevenson shot wide after being released by Froggatt's pass. Ilkeston finally got going in the last third of the game. Josh Burge's free kick cleared the crossbar and Paul Dempsey forced Ogden into a save before Belper had a let off late in the game. Matt Godden cut inside from the left and his shot hit the bar, with Jack Watts' resulting follow up shot from close range being blocked on the line by Haigh. The last chance fell to Amari Morgan-Smith who headed wide from a Liam Green free kick. Despite this late flurry Ilkeston could have few complaints about the result.

VICS LEAVE ROBINS SICK
20TH FEBRUARY 2010
NORTHWICH VICTORIA 4 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Northwich ripped Ilkeston apart after a dreadful first half. There was a distinct lack of constructive football before the break and the best chance fell Ilkeston's way early on when Gary Ricketts shot wide from Jack Watts' pass.

It seemed as if it might have been Ilkeston's day after all, when they took a 50th minute lead. Ricketts' back header fell into Amari Morgan-Smith's pass and although he was unable to get in a shot the ball ran loose for Paul Dempsey to prod home from close range. Their joy was short lived, however, as Northwich equalised within a minute, the unmarked Kerr heading powerfully past Dan Lowson from Riley's corner. From then on there was only one team in it and they served up a moment of true quality when Vermiglio's stunning 25 yard volley gave Lowson no chance on 58 minutes. When substitute Elam tricked his way along the by line he was brought down by Alex White, who was booked for the challenge, and Herring stuck away the penalty in the 78th minute. Lowson made a save from Riley but he could only parry Herring's 84th minute shot and Riley followed up to score from close range to seal The Robins' fate.

ROBINS FALL AGAIN
27TH FEBRUARY 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 0 HINCKLEY UNITED 1
Ilkeston's poor run of form continued as they were deservedly beaten by Hinckley. Apart from early in the game and a late desperate search for an equaliser Ilkeston were second best. They began well enough and Matt Godden got free but his shot was tipped to safety by 'keeper MacKenzie. Hinckley responded with a Newton header that just missed the target from Hall's cross. Amari Morgan-Smith tested MacKenzie at the other end before Hinckley almost took the lead when Dillon hit the bar with a fine strike from 25 yards following a Taylor free kick, and then Dan Lowson made a good save to keep out West. Godden touched the ball over the bar after a Gary Ricketts flick on but that was the last Ilkeston were seen as an attacking force for some considerable time. And, two minutes before the end of an entertaining first half, Dillon had time to lash the ball home after Hall played Newton's cross back into the danger area to give Hinckley the lead.

Hinckley dominated the second half. West and Hall went close to extending the lead, Lowson made two fine saves to keep out separate Hall free kicks, and then a long range effort by Newton hit the bar. Somehow still in the game Ilkeston staged a late rally and could have snatched an unlikely point. Morgan-Smith's shot from a tight angle was saved by MacKenzie and Luke Waterfall had a shot blocked. Their best chance came in stoppage time when Josh Burge was put through by substitute Darren Caskey's clever pass but his shot was too close to the 'keeper and the chance was gone.

BISH BASH JOSH
2ND MARCH 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 3 CORBY TOWN 2
Ilkeston showed great character to end their losing run, twice coming from behind to win a thrilling game. The Robins almost scored in the opening minute when Liam Green hit the bar from a free kick. On top early on they had another chance but Gary Ricketts' shot was well saved by Osborne. But Corby hit back strongly and when Defty broke down the middle Dan Lowson had to make a fine save. Defty then went down the right and found Towers who shot wide. However, they took the lead soon after when Mayo's 35 yard free kick in the 17th minute was turned onto the bar by Lowson and the ball bounced behind the line. Without playing particularly well Ilkeston stuck to their task and they were rewarded in first half stoppage time. Rory Coleman's cross was nodded on by Matt Godden into the path of Amari Morgan-Smith who was bundled over. Morgan-Smith took the penalty himself and scored with a low well struck shot.

Ilkeston soon found themselves behind again. On 55 minutes a corner was headed on by Solkhon for Millar to nod home. The Robins' spirit wasn't dented and they began to build up a head of steam. Paul Dempsey had a shot blocked and Osborne saved a Ricketts header. The equaliser finally came in the 80th minute thanks to a disputed penalty. Ricketts' cross from the level struck Gulliver on the arm and the Corby player was booked for protesting against the award. Morgan-Smith fired in the spot kick off the underside of the bar. Suddenly Ilkeston were in the driving seat and the winner came five minutes from time. Morgan-Smith and Ricketts caused problems for the Corby defence and when the ball came out to substitute Josh Burge on the edge of the box he scored with a superb low strike to give Ilkeston a much needed confidence boost.

ROBINS DITCHED UP
6TH MARCH 2010
REDDITCH UNITED 2 ILKESTON TOWN 2
Ilkeston were seemingly on course for another three points but they allowed a disappointing Redditch side back into the game and could easily have lost. The Robins were clearly the better side in the first half and they roared into a second minute lead as if they were inspired by the minute silence held for former manager Keith Alexander before the kick off. Liam Green's free kick caused 'keeper Lewis problems and the ball fell to Charlie O'Loughlin at the far post who lashed the ball home. Gary Ricketts headed a Dan Holmes corner over the bar later in the half before Town went further ahead on 40 minutes. Josh Burge's ball into the area eventually reached Ricketts who headed in at the far post.

Ilkeston appeared to be well in control but Redditch were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a contentious penalty in the 52nd minute. O'Loughlin was adjudged to have brought down Blair and Benjamin scored from the spot. Suddenly Redditch were galvanised and Benjamin went close to a second when he put a close range header just wide. He was not to be denied, however, and his perfect lob on the hour beat the stranded Dan Lowson to level the scores. Lowson became by far the busier of the two 'keepers and he made fine saves from Clarke and substitute Scheppel. Despite being under pressure for much of the second half Ilkeston went close to regaining the lead with a Ricketts header from Green's corner. However, it needed a magnificent save from Lowson to deny Scheppel from grabbing a likely winner after some good work by Blair. With the game entering stoppage time Burge set up a great chance for Green to win it for Ilkeston but he shot well off target.  

TEN MAN TOWN HOLD ON
13TH MARCH 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 2 BLYTH SPARTANS 1
Amari Morgan-Smith's two first half goals paved the way for an unconvincing Ilkeston victory. They spent much of the second half on the defensive and Tom Bonner's 70th minute red card, for a second bookable offence, ensured that they had to fight hard to secure the three points. Morgan-Smith gave a taste of what was to follow when his low shot early on was blocked by 'keeper Norton's legs. Blyth then had a good spell that began with a Brayson free kick which Dan Lowson saved comfortably. Lowson did even better to block Brayson's 12 yard strike and then former Ilkeston player Neal Hooks headed over from a Graham cross. Ilkeston took the lead on 32 minutes with a strange goal. Morgan-Smith's 25 yard free kick hit the wall, his follow up was also blocked, but it was third time lucky when his final low shot found the corner. Morgan-Smith scored again five minutes later with another low shot after being fed by Gary Ricketts following Josh Burge's tackle in midfield.

Ilkeston were knocked out of their comfort zone when they failed to clear a 53rd minute corner and Brayson's fierce cross was headed home at point blank range by Dale. Blyth continued to press forward but created little, even after Bonner's departure, as Ilkeston defended strongly. They were denied an almost certain equaliser, however, when Hooks' cross found Brayson at the far post but Lowson somehow got across to block his close range shot. Ilkeston rarely got out of their own half but Blyth's lack of quality in the final third was typified by a late Graham shot from the edge of the area that went high and wide.

ROBINS RUN OUT OF STEAM
16TH MARCH 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 0 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0
There was no lack of effort from either side but quality football was sadly amiss for much of the game. Ilkeston created most of the chances but ran out of ideas as time went on with Gainsborough failing to take advantage of the situation. Trinity's best chance came early in the game when Beckett hooked the ball into Aiston's path but he scuffed his shot. Ilkeston then had the monopoly of the chances. Gary Ricketts had a shot blocked, and when Josh Burge's corner was cleared to the edge of the box Jimmy Graichem's shot was cleared off the line with Charlie O'Loughlin unable to capitalise on the loose ball. McMahon tried a shot at the other end that didn't trouble Dan Lowson before Ricketts saw his header saved by Barnes. An Amari-Morgan Smith header found Ricketts unmarked in the area but his goalbound shot was superbly saved by Barnes, and soon after Barnes saved again from a Morgan-Smith overhead kick. Ricketts then found Morgan-Smith who shot wide as Ilkeston continued to make the running.

The Robins continued on the attack after half time with Morgan-Smith bringing another good save from Barnes who also saved from Luke Waterfall following a corner. Ilkeston seemed to fade after Ricketts' far post header from a Liam Green corner was cleared off the line. But Gainsborough, despite becoming more adventurous, rarely posed any kind of threat against Ilkeston's solid defence. Ilkeston managed to create some half chances in the closing stages despite losing their rhythm. Ricketts shot over, Burge had one shot deflected over and another one blocked, and Morgan-Smith's last gasp 25 yard cracker flew wide of the post. 

DANTASTIC
20TH MARCH 2010
STAFFORD RANGERS 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ten man Ilkeston defended superbly to record a fine win but it needed a Dan Lowson penalty save late in the game to keep them in front. Gary Ricketts was booked for handling early in the game and the referee had little alternative than to show him a red card when he lunged at Kasiama. The first half had little to entertain until Town took the lead on 41 minutes. Liam Green's clever pass released Jimmy Ghaitchem who slipped past two challenges before finishing in style past former Ilkeston 'keeper Lee Evans.

Charlie O'Loughlin almost extended Ilkeston's lead early in the second half with a header that struck the bar, the rebound falling to Luke Waterfall who could only put his header straight at Evans. Stafford rarely broke through Ilkeston's solid defence although Lowson had to block a Thorley header with his legs. Four minutes from time O'Loughlin was adjudged to have handled and the referee awarded a penalty. Lowson kept out Dinning's kick and reacted swiftly to save McAughtrie's shot from the rebound. Ilkeston held on to record an important win, their first on their travels in four months.

COOL HEAD LUKE
23RD MARCH 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 1 EASTWOOD TOWN 0
Ilkeston survived a second half battering to record a fine win against their local rivals to boost their play off chances whilst giving Eastwood's hopes a real blow. Ilkeston took the lead on 13 minutes when Josh Burge's corner was met by a superb downward header by Luke Waterfall. After former Ilkeston player Anton Foster had a shot blocked Amari Morgan-Smith cut inside but fired wildly over the top for Ilkeston. Dan Lowson had to dive low to keep out Bailey's flick header as Eastwood gradually stepped up the pressure, and they were denied an equaliser by the assistant referee's flag for offside after Holland guided home a cross from deep past the wrong footed Lowson.

Eastwood piled on the pressure with a series of crosses and long balls after the break but Ilkeston's stubborn defence meant that Lowson was rarely extended. He held a shot from former Ilkeston midfielder Emeka Nwadike following good work by Holland, but the 'keeper was grateful to see Foster's long cross hit the angle of the woodwork before bouncing to safety. Tom Bonner then came to Ilkeston's rescue when he cleared a fierce Bailey shot off the line. Late in the game Eastwood seemed to run out of ideas and Ilkeston created chances of their own. Morgan-Smith saw a fierce shot blocked by 'keeper Danby and his follow up attempt hit a defender. Then in the dying seconds a fine run and cross by substitute Nialle Rodney was met by Gary Ricketts' far post header but his effort was cleared in front of goal. The tension was lifted moments later by the final whistle to ensure a memorable victory for The Robins. 

ROBINS LEAVE IT LATE
27TH MARCH 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 3 HARROGATE TOWN 3
Ilkeston scored a dramatic equaliser three minutes into stoppage time to earn a point and missed enough chances during the game to have picked up all three against the bottom club. The Robins began strongly with Josh Burge shooting wide and Gary Ricketts had a header blocked. Harrogate offered little apart from a Syers shot from 25 yards that went well wide but then they shocked Ilkeston with two goals in two minutes. On 23 minutes Stamer cut in from the right and although Dan Lowson got a hand to the shot he couldn't keep it out as it crept inside his near post. Then Stamer's poweful shot was too hot for Lowson and Ellington's effort from the rebound trickled over the line for the second. Sustained Ilkeston pressure before the break brought a catalog of near misses. The best chance fell to Amari Morgan-Smith on 36 minutes but his well struck penalty, given after Nialle Rodney had been brought down by Radcliffe following Jimmy Ghaichem's neat pass, was saved by Ratchford. Then a Burge corner led to both Ghaichem and Rodney having shots cleared off the line before a Burge free kick was headed against the bar by Charlie O'Loughlin. Finally, as half time neared, a Ricketts effort was turned away to safety.

The second half was not so intense until Ilkeston finally scored in the 67th minute. Burge released Ricketts into the area and when his shot was saved by Ratchford the ball fell kindly to Morgan-Smith who was left with a simple finish. However, the goal didn't bring the expected turnaround in fortunes. Harrogate substitute Knox beat O'Loughlin before striking a powerful shot that Lowson tipped over, and with 11 minutes remaining they regained their two goal lead. James' long ball sent Ellington clear down the middle and he slipped the ball past the advancing Lowson. The Robins then staged a grandstand finish. On 87 minutes substitute Darren Caskey's free kick wasn't cleared and fellow substitute Jack Watts fired home. Ricketts headed wide from Morgan-Smith's cross as Ilkeston sought a last gasp equaliser and it duly came on 93 minutes. Another Caskey free kick was headed back into the area by Dan Holmes and Morgan-Smith pounced with a fine finish to stun the visitors.  

TEL HELL AS TOWN STORM BACK
3RD APRIL 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 2 AFC TELFORD UNITED 1
Determined and resolute Ilkeston scored twice in the last 12 minutes against ten man Telford to keep their play off dreams alive and by doing so extended their unbeaten run to eight games. The even first half was a quiet affair with Town creating the better opportunities. Nialle Rodney cut in from the left to shoot hard from 25 yards and 'keeper Young had to dive to scramble the effort away. Josh Burge blasted into the side net from 8 yards after running on to Amari Morgan-Smith's pass, and Morgan-Smith had a shot from the edge of the area blocked.

Telford picked up the pace after half time and began to threaten. O'Connor volleyed wide from 20 yards before Ilkeston had a huge let off when Beesley somehow failed to turn in O'Connor's low cross from point blank range. Blair then headed over an empty net from 10 yards as he reached a high cross before Dan Lowson, but Lowson did better when he scrambled away Blair's awkward low shot. Sustained Telford pressure led to their 70th minute opener. Town failed to clear several times and when the ball spun high into the air off a defender Dugdale looped a header high into the net. The visitors looked to be well on top as Lowson did well to tip over Thompson's fierce shot from the edge of the box. But then came the turning point. Lowson, in the act of launching a clearance, appeared to be clipped accidentally by Dugdale who had already been booked. The referee decided that the offence was worthy of a second yellow card and Telford were left with ten men. Ilkeston soon got back on level terms when Jack Watts pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the area to curl a left foot sweet shot into the corner in the 78th minute. Telford tried valliantly to get back in front and Lowson did well to tip over another fine strike by Thompson before making a more straightforward stop from Brown's header. But it wasn't to be their day as Town grabbed a winner five minutes from time. Substitute Jimmy Ghaichem's pinpoint cross from the right was headed powerfully into the net off the underside of the bar by Jason Lee at the far post. Ilkeston hung on to record another impressive victory. 

ROBINS GIVEN A WORKING OVER
7TH APRIL 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 1 WORKINGTON 3
Town's play off hopes took a huge blow as they were decisively beaten by an impressive Workington team. The first half was evenly contested but the visitors took control after the break. Town's first serious attempt was a Jason Lee header from Dan Holmes' cross that was saved by Caig. Workington replied with a left foot shot by Arnison that Dan Lowson managed to get a hand to. Lee volleyed over the bar for The Robins and Vipend curled a shot wide at the other end. Ilkeston got their noses in front four minutes before half time. Kieran Murphy's cross into the area eventually fell to Amari Morgan-Smith whose shot beat Andrews' attempt to stop it on the line. However, Workington were quickly back on level terms when the unmarked McLuckie drove fiercely into the roof of the net from the edge of the box after Town failed to clear Vipend's 44th minute cross.

Dan Holmes shot wide for Ilkeston following good work by Nialle Rodney but soon Workington stepped up a gear. They were rewarded with a fine goal on 58 minutes when Arnison's run took him past two defenders before firing low into the corner. Wright then shot straight at Lowson as Ilkeston looked second best. Town did manage to get forward, however, and Rodney's misplaced cross was tipped over by Caig. Then substitute Jack Watts headed over a cross from fellow substitute Darren Caskey. Workington were reduced to ten men when Arnison left the pitch injured but they were undeterred and made the game safe with four minutes remaining. Blake sent over a cross from the left and Hopper was on hand to finish with a low shot.

CLANCY THAT
10TH APRIL 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 0 FLEETWOOD TOWN 1
Fleetwood kept themselves in contention for automatic promotion with a victory from an uninspiring game. Chances were few and far between but the visitors looked comfortable after taking the lead as Ilkeston rarely threatened. Ilkeston's best efforts of the first half came from Amari Morgan-Smith who was denied by 'keeper Hurst's save at his feet, and Nialle Rodney whose forward burst forward led to a powerful shot from 25 yards that flew over. The visiors lacked ideas up front but took the lead in first half stoppage time. Luke Waterfall conceded possession and the ball found its way to Clancy who cut in from the right to fire a low shot in off the post.

Fleetwood improved after the break and could have had a second when Warlow pounced on a loose ball but his shot was blocked by 'keeper David Coombes' legs. They comfortably held off The Robins who could only push forward periodically. Jason Lee managed to find Morgan-Smith who moved forward and shot over the top. Lee headed over from a corner during the closing stages but it was Fleetwood who came closest to scoring again. In stoppage time Milligan was put in the clear but his low shot hit Coombes' outstretched boot.

ROBINS DO IT NIALLE STYLE
13TH APRIL 2009
ILKESTON TOWN 1 SOLIHULL MOORS 0
Ilkeston won a tight and scrappy game to keep their diminishing play off hopes hanging by a thread. Solihull went close to taking an early lead when an Edwards header was cleared off the line. But it was The Robins who went in front on 14 minutes with their first serious goal attempt. Paul Dempsey curled over a cross from the left and Nialle Rodney glanced his header into the far corner. The goal gave Town a boost and Jack Watts was unlucky to see his shot blocked following Amari Morgan-Smith's cross. Price had a shot saved by David Coombes at the other end. Ilkeston continued to look the more dangerous without playing particularly well. Morgan-Smith made a smart turn and cut inside the area and his fierce cross shot was courageously blocked by a defender. Luke Waterfall then had a header blocked when a goal seemed a certainty before Morgan-Smith forced Crane into a good save following a Dan Holmes free kick. Solihull showed little going forward until shortly before half time. Beswick's corner ran loose to Miley whose shot was saved by Coombes at the second attempt.

Solihull looked lively at the start of the second half and Coombes was forced into a save by Price's shot. Then Ilkeston enjoyed their best spell of the game when they could have made it safe. Josh Burge released Watts whose fierce first time volley was well blocked by Crane, and good play by Watts then set up Dempsey for a shot from 20 yards but it lacked power. The best chance came when Holmes ran through the middle to put Rodney in the clear and his attempted shot through the 'keeper's legs just took a slight deflection and the ball went the wrong side of the post. Another well worked move involving Morgan-Smith and Alex White provided Liam Green with a shooting chance but his shot didn't trouble Crane. Town then began to lose their way and the visitors began to show more attacking intent. English forced Coombes into a save and although Waterfall headed over a Burge free kick at the other end most of the play was in the Ilkeston half. Solihull never seriously looked like scoring past Town's well organised defence, however, and their only two real efforts on target were long range efforts by Amoo and Midworth that Coombes dealt with comfortably.

HONOURS EVEN IN LOCAL DERBY
17TH APRIL 2010
ILKESTON TOWN 0 ALFRETON TOWN 0
Defences dominated a disappointing game with few clear cut chances. Alfreton, guaranteed a play off spot, comfortably came away with a point to finally kill off Ilkeston's hopes of joining them. The first shooting opportunity came well into the first half when Alfreton's Nightingale flicked the ball to North but he scuffed his shot and Dan Lowson saved with ease. Ilkeston's first serious attempt was better, a well hit shot by Joe Harris from outside the area that former Ilkeston 'keeper Ross Turner did well to save. Nialle Rodney then tried his luck but his shot went high and wide, and then his header from a Tom Bonner cross was caught by Turner.

With neither side giving an inch a draw seemed likely although 20 minutes from time Clayton headed in a Moult cross only for it to be ruled out for offside. Ilkeston replied with a Dan Holmes shot that was blocked and a well hit volley that struck a defender from Liam Green following a Jack Watts cross. Alfreton had a chance late on when Brown moved forward from the deep but his shot went astray.

CORONATION TREAT
20TH APRIL 2009
EASTWOOD TOWN 0 ILKESTON TOWN 3
The Robins turned on the style to destroy their local rivals at Coronation Park. Defending with great discipline and counter attacking with pace Ilkeston gave The Badgers a torrid time. They took the lead on 12 minutes when Amari Morgan-Smith broke down the left and although his run was halted Gary Ricketts regained possession and sent over a perfect cross that was met by a wonderful header by Nialle Rodney into the top corner. Soon after Eastwood managed their only worthwhile shot of the game. Meikle's perfectly placed curler seemed to be heading for the top corner but was kept out by a magnificent flying save by Dan Lowson. Ilkeston continued to threaten when they went forward and former Ilkeston defender Paul Riley was booked for a hefty challenge on Ricketts. A minute before half time Riley was lucky to stay on the pitch when he brought down Morgan-Smith as he raced into the area. A penalty was duly awarded and Morgan-Smith sent Danby the wrong way.

Eastwood came out after half time full of attacking intent and former Robins favourite Sam Duncum had a shot blocked before D'Laryea shot the rebound wide. But on 57 minutes Ilkeston killed off the game with another goal. Morgan-Smith and Jason Lee combined beautifully and the ball ran loose to Gary Ricketts who gleefully smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range. Ilkeston held on comfortably after that with Eastwood running out of ideas.

TOWN END SEASON ON HIGH NOTE
24TH APRIL 2010
GLOUCESTER CITY 0 ILKESTON TOWN 1
Ilkeston thoroughly deserved the three points after dominating from start to finish. Their first chance came when Dan Lowson's long clearance found Gary Ricketts. His well hit shot was blocked by 'keeper Green and the follow up shot from Jason Lee was cleared. Gloucester then had their only serious goal attempt, a header by Richards from a free kick by Molyneaux that went straight to Lowson. Ilkeston continued to press forward and Nialle Rodney had a shot saved after being played in by Amari Morgan-Smith. Ricketts then headed narrowly wide from Rodney's excellent cross, and Ricketts soon had another chance when he was freed by Paul Dempsey who had won the ball in midfield but his well struck shot was well saved by Green. As half time approached Dan Holmes' corner was met by a Lee header that Green just managed to keep out and Ricketts' follow up shot was blocked.

The Robins carried on from where they left off when they came out for the second half. Kieran Murphy's cross was headed just wide by Ricketts, Lee headed over, and Ricketts was unlucky not to fare better with a lob. Ricketts then had a shot cleared off the line by Mustoe. A goal had to come and it duly arrived in the 69th minute. A scramble ended with Lee nodding the ball back at the far post and Morgan-Smith stooped to head home.