by Jamie Woodhouse
West Yorkshire Premier League: Ilkley Town 0 0 Robin Hood Athletic
Despite missing a host of chances to win the game, a point was enough to guarantee Premier Division football for Ilkley next season.
After a slow start with most of the game played in the midfield, the first chance fell to Ilkley centre back Darren Munday. Lee Spires whipped his corner into the box and unmarked, Munday connected but his header zipped just over the bar.
It would take until the 40th minute for another major chance to present itself, and this time it fell to Robin Hood. Scott Murgatroyd beat the offside trap, took the ball around Ilkley keeper Harry Higgins, but his shot cannon back off the post. Alex Haigh followed up but was denied by the bar. A major let off for town.
On the stroke of half time, another Spires corner caused havoc amongst the Robin Hood defence. This time the ball found James Wilson, but a bad bounce put the defender off, and his header went harmlessly wide.
As the second half began, it quickly became apparent that the match would be much more lively, as Ilkley launched a constant bombardment of the Robin Hood defence.
Adam Fowler should have put Ilkley ahead when he connected with Spires’ cross on the volley, but he scuffed his effort wide. He would have a goal disallowed just minutes later for offside.
The ball would fall to Fowler yet again as Danny Bott powered into the box, cutting the ball back to the forward, but Fowler couldn’t sort his feet out, allowing the defence to clear their lines.
Joe Hendrie would continue the barrage, with a great solo run, cutting through the midfield, but his long range effort fizzed just wide of the post.
Having been Ilkley’s chief creator all afternoon, Spires would have his own chance at goal in the closing minutes. A fantastic through ball from Dan Chadwick put Spires one-on-one with the keeper, who pulled off a magnificent save to keep the game goalless.
Robin Hood would hold out until the end for a draw, but Ilkley celebrated with the result confirming their place in the West Yorkshire Premier Division for a second season.
Joint first team manager Greg Beswick said: “We played well in patches but I don’t think today was a good game. Not good quality out their from both sides but we had chances despite that, ones which we should have taken. We could of had three or four goals.”
Looking back at Town’s first season in the division, Beswick said: “Our aim for this season was always to consolidate at step seven and we have managed to do that, so from our perspective that is a successful season and the players are happy with that.”
Heading into next season, Beswick aims to push up through the league, he said: “We would like to think that we can get into the top half, especially with the way we have finished the season.”
Town have announced their first pre-season friendly will be away at Glasshoughton Welfare on 12th July. Further games will be announced shortly.