Joy followed by despair for Ilkeston Town as season starts

Ilkeston Town’s NPL Midlands campaign got off and running with mixed fortunes this week.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 8:01 am
Charlie Wakefield on the ball at Stamford. Photo: Lee Prewett.

An impressive 3-1 win away at much-fancied Stamford on Saturday got things off to a good start, but a disappointing performance at home to Sporting Khalsa on Tuesday night ended in a 3-2 defeat, despite Ilkeston having taken the lead inside the first minute through Remaye Campbell and again led through Zak Goodson on the half-hour mark.

Three poor goals from a defensive point of view proved key but Carruthers felt his side still didn’t deserve anything from the game.

He said: “It was a bit of a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show really. We knew what to expect – it’s a cup final for any team that comes here given the facilities, the pitch and so on and Khalsa were very good.

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"At times it was men against boys and some of the football they played was really good and we huffed and puffed but we were terrible, both defensively given we gifted them three goals and on the ball in possession where we’re usually so strong.

"So I’m very disappointed and we’re back to the drawing board.”

Contrastingly, speaking after Saturday’s win against another side tipped to go well, Carruthers couldn't hide his delight.

He said: “We said before the game that we didn’t want to get beaten and would take a draw because we know what a good outfit Stamford are.

"It was another outstanding performance. Our shape and organisation and things we’ve been working on all pre-season came together and we took our chances at the right time so I’m absolutely delighted.

"The first six games of any season are a bit of a leveller as teams are finding their feet and are at different fitness levels, so it’s a great result but even if we’d beaten it wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Ilkeston now go to Quorn on Saturday in the FA Cup preliminary round before an away game at Daventry Town on Tuesday night.

Carruthers said: “We now need to pick ourselves up again. It sometimes takes five or six games for things to really settle down. We’ll assess things on Thursday as to whether we need to make any changes to the side.”