In a thrilling West Yorkshire derby, Ilkley Town AFC prevailed 3-1 winners against a competitive Steeton side, in front of a 160-strong crowd at the MPM Stadium. George Gomersall and Tom Smith gave the Baht’atters a comfortable lead at the break, and Gomersall’s late strike secured a vital three points for Ilkley, writes Matthew Lambe.
The visitors peppered the Baht’atters defence in the opening moments, but a solid stop from Tim Edney prevented Kayle Price from getting his name on the scoresheet, whilst the centre-back duo of Matt Swift and George Pearson held strong.
With 14 minutes played, Gomersall broke the deadlock following great strength from Kevin Gonzalez. He outmuscled the Steeton full back, before crossing powerfully to Gomersall, whose clever flick looped over keeper Jordan Moorhouse.
The subsequent 20 minutes hosted an entertaining spectacle, with plenty of opportunities for both sides. The Chevrons struck the side netting twice, and forced a low save out of Edney from a close range free-kick, whilst Gonzalez’s header was destined for the top corner, but a stunning fingertip save from Moorhouse tipped his effort onto the bar.
Steeton piled on the pressure in search for an equaliser, and would’ve succeeded had it not been for a goal-saving sliding challenge from Swift.
At the other end of the MPM Stadium, Smith extended the lead for the Baht’atters following a rapid counter attack. Stemming from an Edney throw, the hosts utilised the wings as they played through the thirds, with the ball weaving through to Smith. He cushioned the cross, before unleashing a strike that bounced off the underside of the crossbar, giving assistant manager Sam Dexter’s side a two-goal advantage at the interval.
Following the break, the Baht’atters enjoyed a spell of dominance, threatening the Steeton goal on multiple occasions. Firstly, Gomersall rippled the side netting after his dazzling skill left his man on the floor, before Gonzalez volleyed narrowly over; evidently the hosts weren’t resting on their two goal cushion.
The Chevrons brought themselves back into the game, reducing the deficit to one goal with 25 minutes still left to play. A looping cross found Jahro Parchment at the far post, whose first-time strike across goal nestled in the bottom corner.
Only 10 minutes later, Ilkley restored their two-goal advantage with a pinpoint finish from Gomersall. Alfie Heaton burst down the wing before fizzing a low cross into the path of Gomersall, who made no mistakes as his strike found the far corner, skimming off the post.
This action concluded the game, giving the Baht’atters a hard-fought three points against local rivals thanks to clinical finishing and an excellent defensive performance.
Next up, Town travel to Daisy Hill on the 30th October, before welcoming Atherton Laburnum Rovers to the MPM on the 2nd November.