Baht’atters Prevail In Dramatic Cup Shootout

In the North West Counties First Division Cup, Ilkley Town AFC narrowly overcame Steeton AFC in the most dramatic of circumstances. Heading into the break a goal behind, a last minute goal from Charlie George took the all West Yorkshire tie into penalties, where his side ran out 3-4 winners in the penalty shootout to earn an away trip to Garstang FC in the next round, writes Matthew Lambe. 


Following George’s dramatic stoppage time equaliser – which seemed fitting, given the similar fashion in which the Chevrons had edged Ilkley only a week ago – the cup tie was destined for penalties. Debut keeper Thomas Bramley proved to be the hero, as he produced two fabulous saves to deny two of the hosts’ efforts, teeing up fellow debutant Joe Edmonds to bag the decisive penalty.


He made no mistake, nestling his strike into the bottom corner under enormous pressure. Josh Bowers netted the first, deceiving keeper Cameron Perron to send him the wrong way; Luke Barker calmly slotted his effort in, whilst Kevin Gonzalez smashed his spot kick beyond the reach of Perron. Skipper Harry Brown saw his effort saved by Perron, but thanks to Bramley’s heroics this wasn’t enough to change the eventual outcome.


During the first half, it was the Chevrons who came out on top, taking a deserved lead at the interval. Andy Briggs’ neat finish from a driving run by Kayle Price was all that separated the sides after the first 45 minutes.


There was little action occurring in the opening quarter of an hour, before Briggs’ goal opened the floodgates. Shortly after, Matt Swift headed narrowly wide from a corner, whilst at the other end of the Marley Stadium, Perron was lucky not to concede a bizarre own goal.


The end to end action continued in the latter stages of the first half, as Briggs blazed a close range header over the bar, then within the same minute Tom Smith nearly equalised with a powerful effort almost sneaking in at the near post.


Sam Dexter’s half time team talk must’ve made an impact, as the Baht’atters emerged the stronger side following the break. Josh Bowers – who was plying his trade upfront instead of his more traditional role - would’ve grabbed an equaliser had Perron not been equal to his powerful header.


Ilkley continued to pepper the Chevrons defence with chances, this time Gonzalez connected sweetly to a volley, but was forced to watch in agony as his effort sailed over.


Entering injury time, Barker came close to finding the all important goal but once again Perron stood in his way.


Time was running out, until with virtually the last kick of the game, in the 93rd minute, George fumbled an equaliser across the line. A well-judged long ball from George Pearson found Gonzalez, who strode past the hosts’ defence before unleashing an effort. Perron saved his initial shot, but neither he nor Jerry White on the line could prevent George’s rebound from rippling the back of the net, sparking jubilance amongst the players and the dozen or so fans.


Such a late goal left no time for either side to find a winner, leaving penalties inevitable. Through precise shots and brilliant goalkeeping, the Baht’atters were victorious.


This game completed the entertaining trilogy of games we have enjoyed against local side Steeton in our maiden season of the NWCFL, and as predicted the finale saw a dramatic game in freezing conditions that went right down to the wire.


This sets up a second round tie against Garstang on a soon-to-be confirmed date, but in the meantime our efforts turn back to the league, with another West Yorkshire derby against high-fliers Golcar United, at the MPM Stadium on Saturday 26th February.