In the penultimate game of the season, Ilkley Town AFC fell to a disappointing 4-0 loss to fellow Yorkshire outfit Steeton AFC. The clash was finely poised at the interval, but a lacklustre second half performance saw the Baht’atters concede a further three – heightening the importance of the final game of the season, writes Matthew Lambe.
The game began rather frantically, with both Ilkley and Steeton almost taking an early lead. Nathan Hunt beat his defender for pace but shot off target, while Raeece Ellington’s volley whistled wide.
Following a long spell of possession, Tom Fleming received the ball in a threatening position; he cut inside of Charlie Lloyd but was denied by a fingertip save from keeper James Catlow.
Ten minutes from half time, the Chevrons opened the scoring. A through ball put Arale Mohamed one on one, and found the bottom corner via the post with a powerful strike – giving the hosts a slender lead at the break.
The second half started at a much slower pace, with neither side able to test the goalkeepers.
Sam Dexter’s side had the first shot on target of the second half, courtesy of a stinging strike from skipper Harry Brown, but Catlow was once again equal to it.
However, Steeton were to score next, doubling their advantage. From a corner, centre back Jonny Hodgkinson rose highest to guide the ball into the back of the net.
Steeton almost added another in quick succession, but a well-timed challenge from Josh Parker denied Andrew Briggs. From the resulting corner, keeper Sam Blackiston dealt with the danger.
At the other end, the Baht’atters were unlucky to have not halved the deficit. A string of passes found substitute Ben Clarkson, but his effort failed to hit the target.
This miss proved costly, as within the space of a minute the hosts added a third to put the game out of sight. Josh McKiernon’s attempt took a deflection and rolled into the bottom corner.
The Chevrons bagged another approaching injury time. After Town failed to clear a free-kick, Briggs scored from close range to add insult to injury.
Despite the frustrating outcome, other results going in favour of Ilkley mean there is still all to play for in the final game of the campaign – South Liverpool at the MPM Stadium on Saturday 15th April.