Gathercole asks for fans’ forgiveness

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Ben Gathercole has issued a sincere apology for the moment of madness that led to his injury-time dismissal against Quorn on Saturday.

The 18-year-old goalkeeper was given his marching orders when he retaliated after being fouled by Kris Nurse in the final minutes, and then threw his gloves and shirt to the ground en-route to the dressing room.

He said: “I have already apologised to the manager and players and I really want to say sorry to the supporters.

“They were not happy about the way I reacted and rightly so. I was 100 per cent in the wrong and I honestly don’t know what came over me.

“It was a stupid over-reaction to the challenge and I would like to make it very clear that in no way did I intend to disrespect the Ilkeston FC shirt. This club have been fantastic to me, giving me an opportunity to progress my career, and I will be forever grateful.”

Gathercole, who is on work experience with the Robins, has already been disciplined by parent club Nottingham Forest for his indiscretion and also faces an automatic three-game ban.

But Kevin Wilson hinted there could still be a place for him at the New Manor Ground.

He said: “My instant reaction on Saturday was to say that he would never play for our club again. But you can never say never in football and I accept that he is genuinely sorry for what he did.

“There’s no doubt that we have benefited as a club from having Ben with us for the past month or so and we need to think rationally about what is right for all concerned.

“We have developed an excellent relationship with Forest and have talked things through in great detail with their people.

“They are keen for Ben to continue here because they know how much his game has come on since he joined us.

“Hopefully he has learned a massive lesson in life over the past few days - and I’m sure he has.

“We all make mistakes. He is still very young and maybe it is right and proper for us to stand by him.”