On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Ilkley Town AFC claimed their second successive victory after completing an impressive comeback against fellow promoted side South Liverpool FC. After trailing 1-0 at half time, goals from Macauley Smith, Darren Munday and Tom Smith earned the Baht’atters three points, writes Matthew Lambe.
Tom Smith recorded the first chance for the Baht’atters, twisting his way through the defence before poking an effort narrowly wide.
In the 19th minute, the hosts broke the deadlock through Owen Hough. After latching onto a through ball, he burst down the wing before his strike smashed against the crossbar and into the net.
Keen to add a second, South pressed forward and were only denied a second because of a well-timed sliding challenge from Josh Parker.
The Baht’atters came close to finding an equaliser on the stroke of half time, with Harry Brown almost connecting to a header whilst James Hudson forced a fine save out of keeper Oliver Farebrother.
Early in the second half, the hosts registered a string of chances; firstly, Callum Gladding produced a fingertip save to deny an effort from point blank range, then Hough fired a shot inches wide.
The Baht’atters levelled the scoring in the 60th minute through a wondergoal from Macauley Smith. He unleashed a powerful strike that rocketed off the crossbar from long range, setting up an entertaining final half hour.
Only five minutes later, Munday headed the Baht’atters into the lead. Following a cross from a corner by Parker, Munday headed past the keeper from the six-yard line.
Within 15 minutes the Baht’atters had struck thrice, with Tom Smith adding his name to the scoresheet. Ben Atkinson played the ball into Tom Fleming following some excellent hold-up play, before Fleming picked out Smith with a low cross. His composed finish earned the Baht’atters a two-goal cushion.
In the final few moments, South Liverpool pulled a goal back with a long range lob over Gladding from Carter Costello.
Some solid defending ensured Ilkley maintained their lead in the last couple of minutes, earning the Baht’atters their second successive victory.
This result sees Ilkley climb to 14th in the NWCFL league table with South Liverpool in 10th, and on Bank Holiday Monday, Town welcome Nelson FC to the MPM Stadium.