Saturday 3rd February 2024 – Northern Premier League

Ilkeston Town 1-1 Marine AFC


The match between two teams on winning runs promised to be a close contest and so it turned out. Ilkeston edged the first half and led by a single goal. Marine stormed back in the second half and deservedly equalised but Ilkeston then produced a grandstand finish and almost won the game. Ben Starkie was back from playing for Tanzania in the African Cup of Nations and started for Ilkeston.

Cursons had an early chance after being fed by Walker but placed his shot wide then Finlay Sinclair-Smith fired narrowly over for Marine after cutting inside. Ilkeston went ahead on 28 minutes following a penetrating forward run by L‘Varn Brandy and finished off from close range by Tom Cursons. Two minutes later Jamie Walker hit a spectacular effort against Marine’s post from 25 yards. Marine were under the cosh but gradually they recovered and nearly found an equaliser when Sol Soloman’s in swinging corner clipped the far post. Just before half time another fine attacking run by Brandy almost produced a second Ilkeston goal.

Marine started the second half with much more determination and Matt Yates had to save early efforts from Harvey Gregson and Sinclair-Smith. Marine kept up the pressure and on 70 mins the threatened equaliser arrived when Solomon scored with a fine first time volley from the edge of the area. Ilkeston responded and a great run forward by Walker which took him all the way into the box but was ended by a brilliant last ditch tackle. That signalled a big push for a winner which saw Marine hanging on. A superb effort by Starkie was pushed round the post by Luke Hutchinson and Callum Minkley saw his effort cleared off the line by Matty Waters as Marine survived a couple of desperate goalmouth scrambles. With just a few minutes of normal time left, Marine keeper Hutchinson had to leave the field with an injury leaving substitute keeper Richard Cowderoy to see out six minutes of added time. Marine were happy to take a point which keeps them second in the table after Ilkeston were denied a late late winner when Tom Marshall’s free kick thudded against the post.


Written by – John Attewell