In Ilkley's first visit to Brocstedes Park, the Baht’atters came away with a 1-1 draw, but perhaps would've hoped for more. After a goalless first half, an own goal in favour of the Baht'atters saw the game burst into life before the hosts equalised from a set-piece with 10 minutes remaining, writes Matthew Lambe.
Sam Dexter's side were inches away from a dream start but Takuo Jitsukawa's chip bounced narrowly wide, indicating promising signs for the visitors. Moments later, Nathan Hunt was unable to keep his strike down following Ben Clarkson's pass.
Clear cut chances were few and far between in the first 45, meaning the game was largely played in the middle third. Thankfully, the midfield trio of Nicc Hewitt, James Nightingale and Hunt were stronger in tackles, giving Ilkley the majority of possession.
At the other end, shotstopper Jordan Moorhouse kept the hosts at bay with a couple of solid saves. He dived and held onto a low free kick, then reached a loose ball before the oncoming attacker, ensuring Town and Athletic were inseparable going into half time.
Early in the second half, Hewitt was agonisingly close to opening the scoring following a floated corner, but his towering header was denied by the crossbar.
Sam Dexter made his first substitution around the hour mark, with Ben Clarkson making way for Shaban Mehmeti. The latter made an instant impact, as he embarked on a marauding run in which he beat several defenders for pace. Approaching Ashton's goalkeeper, he squared the ball to Tom Smith whose close range effort flew over the bar.
Only minutes after the miss, the Baht’atters broke the deadlock from a set-piece. George Pearson leapt highest to force a reflex save out of Ashton's goalkeeper, then an Ashton defender bundled the ball over the line - much to his despair.
A period of end-to-end football followed this goal as the game continued to open up. Ashton had chances to equalise but Moorhouse was equal to all of their efforts, while Smith and Pearson came close to doubling the Baht'atters lead.
In the 80th minute, Athletic levelled the scoring. A whipped delivery was poked by an Ashton player to tee up a tense finale.
The final 10 minutes saw plenty of half chances but neither side could find the all-important winner - leaving Ilkley and Ashton with a point apiece.
Next up, Town welcome Shelley Community FC to the MPM Stadium on Tuesday 22nd August before hosting Runcorn Town on Saturday 26th August.