In a rare West Yorkshire derby, Ilkley Town AFC continued their streak of successively losing by one goal as they fell 2-1 to Steeton AFC. Harry Brown levelled on the stroke of half time following an impressive spell from the Baht’atters, and the score remained unchanged until injury time when Kayle Price volleyed an unstoppable shot past Edney to spark wild celebrations at the Marley Stadium, writes Matthew Lambe.
Straight from kickoff, the Chevrons pinned Ilkley into their own half, and forced multiple saves from keeper Tim Edney. He palmed away a drilled strike from Lynny, before a crucial header from Matt Swift stopped an early goal.
The possibility of a clean sheet didn’t last long though, as Steeton broke the deadlock after only eight minutes. Edney diverted the initial effort away from danger, but Luke Baldwin reacted fastest to tap home from close range, giving the hosts a dream start.
The Baht’atters survived a spell of sustained pressure from Steeton, and around the half hour mark the tide began to turn; Ilkley’s free flowing philosophy of football was evidently causing problems from the Chevrons defence.
Gonzalez pulled off his trademark skill to beat the defence before his effort was blocked by the remaining centre back, whilst Gomersall’s free kick may have snuck in if it weren’t for the outstretched boot of a Steeton defender.
Sam Dexter’s side continued to press forward, and came closest with a deft lob from Gomersall. His audacious finish was beyond the reach of debutant keeper Cameron Perron, but bounced agonisingly wide.
With virtually the last action of the first half, Ilkley drew level; ex-Steeton defender Elliot Scott burst down the wing before delivering a perfectly-weighted cross to captain Harry Brown, who made no mistakes as his finish rolled home.
Almost from kickoff, a stereotypical goalmouth scramble ensued, and some excellent defending and goalkeeping managed to prevent the hosts from converting.
The subsequent half hour saw end-to-end football, where either side could’ve snatched a winner. Gonzalez was denied by a well-timed challenge, whilst at the other end Andrew Briggs’ volley whistled narrowly past the post to set up a thrilling finale.
Travelling Baht’atters fans surely had their hearts in their mouths when a lob passed Edney, but Swift heroically cleared off the line whilst under pressure from Steeton’s strike duo.
However, it was heartbreak shortly after as the Chevrons snatched a winner in the dying moments. A stunning volley from Price flew into the back of the net, causing anguish for Ilkley players and fans alike.
The referee had only just allowed the game to be restarted before the full time whistle was blown, concluding an entertaining spectacle where they will feel incredibly unlucky to leave empty-handed in the West Yorkshire derby.
Next up, Town travel further afield to face AFC Darwen on February 19th, before welcoming none other than Steeton AFC on the following Tuesday evening in the First Division Cup.