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Ilkley pick up important league point in thrilling encounter

By Jamie Woodhouse

West Yorkshire Premier League: Ilkley Town 2-2 Headingley. 

Goals from Adam Davey and Lee Spires seemed to have completed Ilkley’s comeback, but a late goal from Jonathan McKinley meant town had to settle for a point on a glorious afternoon at Ben Rhydding Sports Club.

After a very even opening 15 minutes, Headingley took an early on the 16th minute when Lewis Keating rose to neatly head home from a free kick, 1-0 Headingley.

Ilkley would almost respond immediately as Joe Hendrie saw his ferocious long range strike go just over the bar.

Lee Spires would be next to go close as his free kick whistled narrowly over, much to the relief of Headingley keeper Daniel Hibbert who was well beaten.

Headingley began to grow back into the game and should of taken the lead on the 35th minute. Ilkley tried to operate the offside trap with no success, as Ashley Austin broke through on goal. McKinley and Jamie Bywater were both free to his left and were better options, but Austin would attempt an audacious chip on James Hirst which would go wide.

Town’s defence would be breached again by Austin and only a fantastic last ditch tackle from Tim Edney stopped him from bagging Headingley’s second of the game just before half time, after the striker took the ball around Hirst.

Ilkley started the second half strong but almost fell behind early after the break. Edney saw his header cannon back off the crossbar before Headingley launched a lightning counter attack, but Austin would waste his chance on goal yet again.

Town would finally find an equaliser on 56th minute. Dave Hancock’s long throw into the box caused havok, but Davey was quickest to react and smash the ball home.

Hendrie then almost put Ilkley in front. His long range effort took a wicked deflection and hit the underside of the crossbar before being cleared away. Town were adamant the ball had crossed the line, but the referee was having none of it.

James Turland then missed a golden chance to put the hosts ahead. Jack Murray after an excellent solo run played the ball to Davey who floated the ball towards the far post where Turland was waiting, but the winger scooped his shot over the bar from a couple of yards.

Town finally took the lead on the 73rd minute with a case of deja vu from the first goal. This time it was James Wilson’s long throw into the box sending the Headingley defence into disarray, ¬†allowing Spires to slam the ball home.

Ilkley felt the game was won until it was snatched away from them late on, as McKinley’s header found it’s way past Hirst. A sensational game, where both sides rightly claimed a point.

Joint first team manager Greg Beswick said: “We are definitely disappointed. For the most part we have been the better side.

“The positive though is that we have managed to hold on and get something from the game. We haven’t just rolled over and collapsed we fought right to the end.

“We havent’t lost in three games so the momentum is good.”