This is the Wayne’s World article that I wrote for the Ilkeston v Salford programme (20/02/16):
Welcome to my first Wayne’s World article in the official Ilkeston FC programme. I now know how the likes of Che Adams, Ashley Hunter and Akil Wright must have felt when they moved up the leagues. Ok, maybe not quite but it still feels good and I’m very thankful to be given this chance.
Now, where to start? How about with a few comings and goings, well goings mostly. Firstly, a huge congratulations to a couple of our 17 year olds, Rhys Dolan and Lewis Walker who got moves to Barnsley and Derby County respectively. Rhys was an exceptional left-back who never failed to impress whether I saw him play for the Academy team or for the first team. Barnsley have got a real gem and I’m certain it won’t be long before he starts making a name for himself. Lewis is a goal-scorer who has had interest from numerous clubs, including a trial at Chelsea. I’m sure that his Dad is very proud, despite his choice of club! Who knows, maybe in a season or two the two Walker brothers will be lining up against each other in the great East Midlands derby (which Forest will win of course!)
Another player to leave the club was everyone’s favourite Brazilian goalkeeper, Evandro “Bob” Rachoni. Bob became a bit of a cult icon but he sure gave us some scary moments too! Maybe he won’t go down in Ilkeston history as the best goalkeeper we ever had but I think he was underrated by many. Good luck to you Bob wherever you move to next.
Two players returned to the NMG last month with Luke Shaw returning from Belper and Curtis Burrows from *cough* Grantham. Luke made an immediate impact at the game away at Sutton Coldfield where he tormented them in the first half. But more on that game later. Curtis has had to bide his time for 1st team action but hopefully it won’t be long before he’s back where he belongs and scoring goals for the Robins.
It’s been a very up and down month on the pitch. It started very promising with an easy win in the Doodson Cup against Lincoln United. The star that night was undoubtedly J J Blake who bagged a hat-trick (our first hat-trick of the season I believe), although he was lucky not to have seen the red card earlier on in the game. There were also goals from Lewis Walker and a first goal for another promising youngster, Jordan Wheatley. The 5-1 win was well deserved and we now host Daventry in the next round.
However, the good times feeling was short-lived. Five days later and Barwell brought us crashing back down to earth by giving us a 4-0 hammering. Things looked bleak in our next game too when we went 2-0 down away at Rushall. However, Mike Williams and Lee Ndlovu had other ideas with 2 goals inside six minutes. From that point on we looked the likely winners but we had to settle for the draw. Can’t really grumble at that though.
Another trip to the West Midlands followed and this time we managed to take away all three points, although we made bloody hard work of it! We coasted the first half with the aforementioned Shaw proving what a talent he is. However, Sutton Coldfield had a man sent half just before the break and it seemed to make all the difference, but not in a good way. I don’t know what it is but we always seem to struggle when playing against 10 men. There were times in the second half when it was hard to believe that we were the side with the man advantage. It wasn’t until Dexter Atkinson scored our second goal very late on that we could breathe a sigh of relief and relax.
Our Jekyll and Hyde of a team then showed their dark side again when we played Frickley. This was one of the poorest performances I’ve seen this season. We never looked like scoring and couldn’t pass the ball. In fact I remember tweeting at one point that we had passed to a yellow player more times than Frickley had themselves! Once again we found ourselves playing against 10 men and once again we struggled to make it count. Frickley punished us in the second half with two goals and they were worthy winners. Not a good way to spend a cold Monday evening.
I don’t want to finish on a low note however and thankfully neither did the players. Our final game in January was away at high-scoring Nantwich. I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this one. If we played as badly as we had been then we could have been in for another Barwell. With some trepidation I tuned into the live internet radio commentary that Nantwich provided. Jekyll or Hyde? It turned out that this time Dr Jekyll was in the ascendancy. A great goal from Ndlovu gave us the lead and hope of doing the double but Nantwich hit back in the second half and equalised to share the points. A win would have been better (obviously!) but we should be happy with the draw. Highlight of the game though was a very unfortunate typo from the Ilkeston Twitter team when they reported that Ndlovu had just had a shit at goal. I really, really, hope it was a typo anyway!
Until next time….COME ON ILSON!