West Yorkshire Premier League: Ilkley Town 1 Wetherby Athletic 0.
by Jamie Woodhouse.
It took Ilkley until the 86th minute to record a 1-0 home win over bottom of the table Wetherby Athletic.
In a first half of few chances, Ilkley looked the stronger team. Jack Murray proved a constant threat to the Wetherby defence and nearly opened the scoring on the 34th minute. After an excellent solo run from Murray cutting in from the left flank, his shot from 18 yards took a slight deflection but not enough to beat Michael Recchia in goal.
Murray almost broke the deadlock again just before half time, rising to meet Joe Hendry’s cross into the box from the right flank, but his header looped over the bar.
A much more lively Ilkley emerged for the second half and they should have taken the lead on the 55th minute. Murray picked up the ball from his own half and his neat through ball put Danny Henderson one on one with the keeper, but Henderson sliced his shot wide from close range.
Adam Fowler saw a glorious opportunity on the 65th minute. Murray was tackled on the edge of the box causing the ball to bobble into the air, Fowler on the half-volley however could only scuff the ball wide.
Dan Chadwick was unlucky not to score minutes later. A defensive clearance from a corner fell perfectly for Chadwick who’s volley cannoned off the crossbar.
Shots from Henderson and Fowler forced excellent fingertip saves from Recchia before Fowler eventually got the winning goal for Ilkley on the 86th minute. Henderson’s low cross from the right wing finding the centre forward unmarked in the box, who coolly slotted the ball into the net.
A deserved win for the home side in a match they dominated. After the match joint first team manager Greg Beswick said: “In the first half we didn’t play particularly well but at half time we addressed it and we were a lot better in the second half.
“You do start to wonder is it your day especially when you have created chances the way we have in the second half.
“Credit to Wetherby they have been a really tough test, very difficult to break down and they’ve also had a couple of chances themselves in the first half when we probably weren’t at the races.”
Ilkley’s defensive solidarity was a particular highlight in the match. Beswick said: “I think it’s massive credit to the whole team, but primarily it’s the back four and the keeper who have got to take the credit.
“I always say to the guys if we can keep solid we can keep a clean sheet.”