Thursday, March 15, 2007
Ilkeston Town 1 Guiseley AFC 2
I take a friend tonight, he's a little down in the dumps, he supports Nottingham Forest! He's looking for entertainment value, where better than Ilkeston Town's New Manor Ground? It's a trip down memory lane for him; he's waxes lyrical of childhood memories, as we drive through Wollaton, where he was brought up. He is a lovely bloke.
I have an affinity with Ilkeston Town; they are my favourite non-league club. Tonight the pitch is like a bowling green. A pint of Kimberley Mild and Kimberley Bitter is less than £4 and is served by a feisty barmaid.
The Cricket World Cup's opening game is on the TV - West Indies v Pakistan. Over 100 people mill around the bar. Bernard Manning is on at the Social Club in May, that is if he can get his fat racist head through the door!
Ilkeston Town are on an unbeaten 11 match run, they fear no-one. Nigel Jemson, their manager is a cocky so and so but has done an admirable job since Christmas. They were calling for his head the last time I frequented these parts. He has played for 15 different clubs, including Nottingham Forest and Notts County. He once scored the winning goal in a League Cup Final, against a plucky Oldham Athletic, back in 1990. He has assembled an honest team here.
His assistant is Mark Smith, who was a brick outhouse of a centre half in his day. His Chief Scout, Bryan Chambers, is responsible for a lot of the shrewd signings Jemmo has made.
Ilkeston has a population of nearly 40,000. It’s old coal mining country but they have long gone.
The actor Robert Lindsay was born here, he is proud of his roots. On a lesser scale, William Roache, (aka Ken Barlow) was born up the road in Cossall. He has performed a minor miracle by retaining employment in the acting trade and boring the pants off us all for 40 years in Coronation Street. No wonder old turkey neck Deirdre keeps nipping out to Dev’s shop for dessert!
Ilkeston sometimes receives, in my opinion, an unfair press. There is a spirit here, the people are charming.
Guiseley is in West Yorkshire. Harry Ramsden started serving fish and chips in a shed in Guiseley, back in 1930. His daughter married the creator of Sooty and Sweep, Harry Corbett. Sooty and Sweep's Grandad is Harry Ramsden!! Yorkshire's most famous male model, Dean Windass, lives in Guiseley.
Both teams are pushing for a play-off spot. Smoke drifts in the air from a bonfire close by. Ex Forest star, Phil Starbuck, and John Ramshaw, the Hednesford Town management team, walk by and take their seats in the stand. They are here on a scouting mission.
Jemson starts with a 3-5-2 formation; there is no place in the side for enigmatic winger, Chris Adam. It’s disappointing; he has a sweet left foot and puts in dangerous crosses.
The first sign of movement for the Guiseley team is on 2 minutes when the public address announcer asks the Guiseley coach driver to move the team bus as he’s blocking someone in.
Ilson settle the quicker, their football is fluent. Adam Muller, the ex Wakefield and Emley forward, is a clever player, he has good movement, often dropping deep. He reminds me of Peter Beardsley, although not as ugly. When Peter Beardsley used to appear on television, Doctor Who’s daleks used to hide behind the settee.
Muller’s partner is Jamie Smith, who is on loan from Gainsborough Trinity. He looks cumbersome but is a powerhouse. He opens the scoring on 16 minutes charging down an attempted clearance and walks the ball into the back of the net.
An ambulance comes flying into the car park, lights flashing, a wag in the crowd shouts to Dickinson, the Guiseley goalkeeper: “keeper it’s for you, coz you’re an accident waiting to happen”.
Guiseley slowly make their mark and equalise on 25 minutes when recent signing and ex Mansfield Town player Scott McNiven smashes in a 25 yarder following a clearance from a corner. I’m pleased for the boy, he beat testicular cancer whilst at The Stags and it’s good to see him enjoying his football again. I saw his brother David play for Stafford Rangers last Saturday, ironically tonight he scores a hat trick against Gravesend.
Guiseley are having their best period of play before the break. Their No.9 Marc Smith, although not the most mobile, brings others into play. He is as strong as an ox.
Both teams play neat football in the second half, there is little to choose between them but Guiseley are dangerous on the counter-attack. Marc Smith misses a sitter, heading over following a great cross by Guiseley’s Mark Bett.
Ilkeston defend with a high line and are fortunate that a couple of offside decisions go their way. A neat passage of interplay finally springs the Ilson offside trap and Guiseley snatch a winner with a smart finish from ex Leeds United academy player Craig Hall.
Ilson are worth a point but they miss the promising Smith who limps off on the hour. Muller misses a glorious chance to restore parity, with the white-booted Dickinson quick off his line to save.
I wonder if the Guiseley coach driver nipped into Harry Ramsden’s at Derby on the way home for a fish and chip supper?
Ilkeston Town 1 Smith
Guiseley 2 McNiven and Hall
Man of the Match: Gareth Holmes, Ilkeston Town