Ilkley come out on top in eight-goal thriller

In a topsy-turvy game, Ilkley Town AFC eventually outscore Darwen FC on a windy day at the MPM stadium on their final home game of the season, writes Evan Seaman.

Sam Dexter’s side started brightly and were controlling possession and then broke the deadlock when tall striker Blake Wood went through on goal before tucking the ball into the bottom corner.

Shortly afterwards, prolific goal scorer Kevin Gonzalez got his first goal of the match after a nice passing move from the hosts which put them in a comfortable position.

However, the visitors struck back just before the break after catching Ilkley on the counterattack before Max Crane halved the deficit to give them a chance after half-time.

This goal for Darwen proved to be very important for them as it gave them momentum and they did equalize not long into the second half when Crane rounded off goalkeeper Charlie Bell before tapping the ball home.

And then Darwen pulled off a remarkable comeback after some great build up play from the away side before Crane bagged his hat-trick to put them ahead for the first time of the match.

But Ilkley did not give in and started to take back control of the game when they won a free kick in a dangerous position before Alfie Dean’s venomous shot was carried away by Turner.

This proved to be a sign of things to come because Gonzalez scored a stunning goal from outside the box to make it 3-3 which swung the momentum back into Ilkley’s favour once again.

About five minutes afterwards, new signing Joe Snowden went on a mazy run with the ball before smashing the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to put Ilkley in the lead with not long left on the clock.

As the game was entering injury time, Gonzalez scored from close range to bag his hat-trick which rounded off the victory nicely and give them a vital three points for them.

This result means Ilkley leapfrog Route One Rovers into fifth place which puts them in a strong position for the final two away games of the campaign to try and secure a spot in the playoffs.

Whereas for Darwen, they remain in ninth so they have little to play for in mid-table, so they will be starting to prepare for the new season already.

Next up for Ilkley is a trip to bottom of the table Nelson FC on Monday evening before hiking up to Holker Old Boys in Cumbria to round off their successful season.