Gardner keeps Cup hopes alive
A second half equaliser from Dereece Gardner ensured that the Ilkeston FC flag will be flying proudly tomorrow when the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup takes place live on ITV1.
The teenage striker was rewarded for his match-winning display against Stocksbridge last week with a starting place alongside fit-again Gary Ricketts and the former Aston Villa and Watford youngster fully justified that decision in the 1-1 draw with AFC Fylde.
Gardner was desperately unlucky not to equalise with an effort that rebounded from a post and finished in the arms of the Fylde goalkeeper.
But with 20 minutes left, he sent the travelling faithful wild with joy, heading in a Matt Richards cross to set up a repeat Cup showdown at the New Manor Ground on Monday evening.
The signs were not promising when Fylde went in front after just six minutes and Kevin Wilson admitted; "It was another disappointing early goal to concede and set the pattern for the first half.
"We hit far too many long, straight balls to the front lads and were by-passing the midfield. It worried me that I didn't see enough hunger in their eyes.
"But we talked about it at half time and the second half performance was much more like we produced on a regular basis last season.
"It would be silly to think we have done the hard part by drawing at Fylde because we still have it all to do against a very capable side. But we are in the hat for the first round and I just hope the people of Ilkeston turn out in force on Monday and help us through.
"It's going to be a great night for the club and the town."
As well as Ricketts, Laurie Wilson also returned from injury to add his experience in midfield and completed the full 90 minutes, while Greg Pearson was drafted into central defence with Dan Partridge switching to right back.
Normal League prices will apply for Monday's replay, which kicks off at 7.45pm.
• Will McCall, one of the stars of last season's promotion success, has left the club. His contract has been cancelled by mutual consent.