In front of a 160-strong crowd, Ilkley Town AFC were unable to earn points from three successive games, with Nelson FC bagging a goal in the 93rd minute. Despite leading at the break thanks to solid defensive play and a James Hudson goal, the visitors overturned the deficit in the second half to record a 2-1 victory, writes Matthew Lambe.
The Baht’atters started brightly, registering a flurry of chances early on; Tom Smith forced a save from keeper Jack Little, whilst Macauley Smith nearly claimed a second long-range goal in consecutive games as his curled effort flashed narrowly wide.
Smith came close again, this time exchanging passes with Harry Brown before his strike skimmed the outside of the post.
In the 23rd minute, Nelson had the ball in the back of the net, only for the linesman to flag for offside. Following a looping cross, Callum Gladding made an excellent quick-reflex save, but striker Nathan Webb prodded home the rebound from an offside position.
10 minutes later, the Baht’atters broke the deadlock with a one-on-one courtesy of James Hudson. Following a counter attack from a Nelson corner, he won possession off their centre back on the half way line, then showed determination to score the rebound after his first attempt was saved, giving his side a one-goal lead before the interval.
Within the first minute of the second half, Nelson had levelled the game. Webb reacted quickest to pounce on a loose ball inside the box, then struck powerfully into the top corner.
Keen to make use of their momentum, Nelson pressed forward in search of a second. A long range strike forced a save out of Gladding, before the rebound was poked wide, whilst a shot destined for the bottom corner was well held.
Despite the mounting pressure, the back three of Stein, Parker and Munday kept the visitors at bay.
Both teams attacked in search of a late winner, with both Nicc Hewitt and Tom Smith finding the target, but it was Nelson who ultimately prevailed.
Deep into stoppage time, substitute Bradley Ditch grabbed the all-important goal with a low strike into the bottom corner.
Before Ilkley had any time to mount an offence, the referee blew for full time.
This result is a tough one to take for the Baht’atters who, having shut out an attacking Nelson side for such a large proportion of the game, left with no points.
Next up, Town travel to Garstang in search of three points on Saturday 4th September.
To access the matchday photos, go to Photographs from today's game vs Nelson FC – Ilkley-Town-AFC (ilkleytown.net)