On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, Ilkley Town AFC recorded a 2-1 victory over a spirited Headingley AFC side. Despite initially going a goal down, the Baht’atters overturned the deficit thanks to goals from Harry Brown and Kevin Gonzalez, writes Matthew Lambe.
The game began as a cagey encounter, with both sides having equal proportions of possession but struggling to create any threat. The hosts registered the first shot on target, with their keeper denying James Hudson after he received a cross-field pass from George Pearson.
In the 30th minute, Headingley took the lead from a set-piece. A corner was swung into the penalty spot, where it was met by a powerful header towards the top corner from their centre-back.
This was followed by a flurry of chances for Simon Armstrong’s side, including a fine save to deny Harry Brown’s driven attempt, as well as a deflected shot from Kevin Gonzalez which bounced off the side-netting.
The Baht’atters pressure paid dividends, as shortly afterwards Brown netted an equaliser. He latched onto George Gomersall’s through ball, before slotting his effort beyond the reach of the keeper.
The second half resembled the end of the first half, with the hosts creating plenty of chances; Macauley Smith volleyed over from close range, whilst Gomersall and Gonzalez saw their attempts flash narrowly wide.
With only 20 minutes remaining, Ilkley overturned the deficit through a nicely-worked team move finished off by Kevin Gonzalez. Gomersall won possession and dribbled forwards before slipping in Hudson, who played a convincing low crossfor Gonzalez to smash home.
Not resting on their laurels, the hosts continued to press forward in search of a third goal. Tom Smith’s free kick whistled narrowly wide, and Hudson forced their keeper into a fingertip save from a long range strike.
The Baht’atters survived a late scare at the other end of the MPM Stadium, with the visitors creating a couple of threatening chances. Their number 7 struck a swerving shot that was well dealt with by keeper Alex Greenwood, whilst their number 11 beat the defence after displaying good skill.
Shortly afterwards, the referee blew for full time, concluding an entertaining game which saw free-flowing football from both sides.
This result stands Ilkley in good stead for the upcoming season, seeing them return to winning after the tough clash with Guiseley. Next up, they welcome Harrogate Railway – from the Northern Counties East League – to the MPM Stadium on Tuesday evening.