MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Ilkeston Town 2 (Reeves 76, T Marshall 90+4) Worcester City 1 (Harrison 58)

TOM Marshall’s curling cross-shot consigned a youthful Worcester City line-up to a cruel 2-1 defeat at Ilkeston Town.

There were close shaves aplenty in a goalless first half with Jordan Harrison breaking the deadlock on 58 minutes, scrambling in following a delightful move involving Josh Willis and Liam Lockett.

Ilkeston fought back and levelled with 14 minutes to play when Elliott Reeves held up, took a touch around the retreating Mat Birley and fired low across Sam Gilder.

The Robins upped the ante from there and City’s task was made harder by the 90th-minute dismissal of Josh Willis for fouling Reeves when clean through.

Town’s pressure paid off when Marshall received back his short corner and swirled inside the far post from the left wing in the fourth minute of added time.

Sports reporter Andy Mitchell takes us through the talking points.


.. and in fairness to the hosts a telling advantage might have gone either way.

In an open game City had three glorious openings created through some incisive play, all involving Lockett.

His heavy touch gifted keeper Liam Mitchell the advantage in a one-on-one before seeing his nemesis get a vital touch on a stroked finish from eight yards.

Ethan Moran’s parried shot then hit Harrison as he chased it in and bobbled wide.

That said, having escaped being three down Ilkeston hit the crossbar and missed a sitter from six yards – 2-0 at the interval would have made for a very different second half.


The trio supporting Harrison in attack came through the youth ranks together and the understanding they had was a menace for the hosts.

Not only that, all three showed maturity in the heat of battle and picked out passes like they were playing for fun.

The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow but even the heaviest of hearts had to be warmed by the potential showcased by Lockett, Willis and Moran.

A quick mention for star performer Grant Horton, too. The Cheltenham Town teenager was immense at the back.


With Ilkeston having all of the momentum and one of the league’s top scorers racing towards goal, Willis had no option but to foul Reeves in the 90th minute.

It would have been a masterstroke had City held on to the point.


City deserved more, no question, but there are lessons to learn from this setback.

Ilkeston did not play well but mixed it up and played on the edge.

The Robins got exposed by sheer quality at times but when going forward speed of thought was their greatest weapon.

It was not the first time Tom Marshall had tried that corner routine and whether or not the referee should have stopped for the substitution in the build up to the opening goal, that also showcased Town’s willingness to get on with things and force a breakthrough.

That belligerence probably plays a big part in where they are.


Whatever happened in the build-up to the crowd skirmish, the incident would not have boiled over had everyone else stayed out of it.

Huge credit to Worcester City chairman Steve Goode for stepping in and defusing the situation. Ilkeston’s stewards deserve credit for acting swiftly as well.

There have been claims of provocation but any City fan involved should remember the club is trying desperately to find a permanent home in Worcester. Problems like these hardly helps that case.

Ilkeston: Mitchell 8, Bennett 6, T Marshall 7, Shaw 6, Baker 6, Meikle 7, White 7 (Dixon, 59, 7), Hollis 6 (Rickford, 90, 6), Reeves 8, A Marshall 6 (Fyfe, 59, 8), Walker 7.

Subs: Dixon, Smith, Fyfe, Wheatley, Rickford.

City: Gilder 8, English 7, McFarlane 7, Forsyth 8, HORTON 9*, Withington 6, Moran 7 (Lemon, 81, 6), Birley 6 (Attoumani, 77, 7), Harrison 7 (Evans, 63, 6), Lockett 8, Willis 7. Unused subs: Fishwick, Lawrence.

Referee: Peter Woodfield, 5.

Match rating: 8.

Attendance: 716.