Ilkley Town AFC were cruelly denied of a valuable point at home to title-chasing Chadderton, with a controversial injury time penalty being the decider in a game with no shortage of drama. The Baht’atters had led for the majority of the match, but two late goals from the visitors saw them overturn the deficit to 3-4, writes Matthew Lambe.
The Lancastrian outfit proved their title credentials from the beginning, taking an early lead. A shot from Joshua Goddard was deflected past Tim Edney.
Nevertheless, Sam Dexter’s side clawed back into the game with an Alfie Dean penalty. After a clear foul inside the box, Dean coolly slotted into the bottom corner, sending goalkeeper Joseph Oldham the wrong way in the process.
Using the shift in momentum to their advantage, Town took control and were rewarded with a second goal before half time for their efforts. A sequence of several one-touch passes culminated in Joe Edmonds sliding the ball across the face of goal for Takuo Jitsukawa to slide home.
Chadderton restored parity early in the second half, with a low cross being flicked into the near post; this brought the score to 2-2 with over half an hour still to play.
Approaching the final quarter, the Baht’atters were awarded a second penalty for a foul on Nathan Hunt – despite the protests of the visitors. Under immense pressure, Dean dispatched the penalty and sent Oldham the wrong way again.
Ilkley’s lead didn’t last long however, as Chadderton drew level once more. A cross was met by Ethan Sutcliffe, who guided the ball into the far corner to set up a thrilling final 10 minutes.
Deep into stoppage time, a prolonged goalmouth scramble occurred as Chadderton desperately attempted to scramble the ball across the line to no avail. However, once Town had dealt with the danger the referee pointed to the spot, causing confusion across the MPM Stadium. Following this there was a lengthy discussion with the linesman, who agreed with the initial decision.
Skipper Jordan Schofield scored the resulting penalty, giving his side a dramatic victory whilst the Baht’atters leave with nothing, agonisingly.
Due to the recent postponements, Ilkley have an unrelenting schedule ahead of the end of the season, hosting FC St Helens at the MPM Stadium on Saturday 1st April before travelling to East Lancashire to face Nelson on Thursday 6thApril.
(Photo Credit: Paul Buckley)