Chettle happy with progress

Steve Chettle
Steve Chettle

Two more wins left Steve Chettle a satisfied manager as Ilkeston Town went third in the Midland Football League Division One this week.

Their first away win of the season - 5-1 at Littleton on Saturday - was followed by a 2-0 victory over Stafford Town on Tuesday night, making it four in a row in all competitions.

And Chettle was keen to emphasise the importance of following the Littleton game up with another three points.

He said: “It was massive. We weren’t great against Stafford, particularly in the first-half, but we can’t be great and score five goals every week.

“But I’m proud of the players because earlier in the season we’d probably have lost that game so it shows how far we’ve come as a group and how resilient we’ve become.

“It was our first clean sheet in nine games which was important but we’ve been scoring freely at the other end so that’s been important.”

Speaking about Saturday’s win over Littleton, which finally saw Ilkeston’s away day duck broken, Chettle was delighted with what he’d seen.

He said: “The game was probably over after 40 minutes. Their goalkeeper had got injured early in the game which benefited us slightly, but the finishing was fantastic and lethal, as I’d asked for last week.

“At half-time I then told the lads to see the game out and to at least go home with a 5-1 win which is what we did. Their substitute keeper did well despite being an outfield playera nd a bit unorthodox, and they made it harder for us as they were trying to stop themselves getting beaten by an even worse scoreline.”

The Littleton game also saw the return of attacking player Ben Morris to the Ilkeston ranks.

Morris came through the Ilkeston FC academy and was a regular in the first team last season before the club’s liquidation, and has now joined on a dual registration basis from Evo-Stik Premier side Mickleover Sports.

Chettle said: “Ben got in touch saying he wasn’t getting a lot of game time at Mickleover and we talked to them about getting him on dual registration.

“I’ve obviously known him for a while as I brought him into the academy and he’s a good footballer, which is what we want here.

“Ben’s not the biggest, neither is someone like Calum Smith, but we’ve got some big bodies in there now like Alex Marshall and Charlie Jemson so it’s good that we’re strong in that sense too, but I just want footballers here who can play in a number of positions and benefit the club.”

Ilkeston now head to Coalville on Saturday to take on Heather St Johns, who lie tenth in the table.

The Robins’ Derbyshire Senior Cup campaign, meanwhile, remains in limbo as they await the Derbyshire FA’s decision as to whether midfielder Micah Edwards was ineligible for their first round game with Mickleover RBL.

Edwards had, unknowingly according to Ilkeston, played for Borrowash Victoria in the same competition three days earlier, but Ilkeston claim he was in fact ineligible for the Vics rather than for themselves.