On a torrentially wet Saturday afternoon, Ilkley Town AFC’s five game unbeaten streak was ended by a strong Ashton Town side. Despite Sam Dexter’s side having the majority of possession and Tom Smith registering his 11th goal of the season, the visitors returned home with the three points, writes Matthew Lambe.
Ashton took the lead within the opening 10 minutes, leaving the Baht’atters with an early deficit. Conor Ready broke the offside trap before driving forward and finishing into the far corner.
Following the early goal, the first half was a cagey affair with chances few and far between. However, Ilkley goalkeeper Sam Blackiston was kept busy, crucially beating an oncoming forward to a loose ball to maintain the scoreline at just one goal behind. In the following Ashton attack, he produced a one-handed save to deny Ready from a one-on-one.
Ilkley gained a foothold in the match towards the end of the half, with Kevin Gonzalez twice coming close to bringing his side back on level terms. Firstly, his powerful effort was tipped out of play by goalkeeper Oliver Farebrother, then he nearly converted from a corner.
Nevertheless, the Baht’atters trailed at the break.
Town’s top goalscorer Smith restored parity from 12 yards after a high boot earned Ilkley a penalty. His strike nestled in the side netting of the goal, simultaneously sending Farebrother the wrong way.
Ashton soon restored their lead, however, courtesy of a fine solo run by striker Emini Adegbenro. He dispossessed the defence before cutting inside and finding the bottom corner via a deflection off the post.
The visitors were in no hurry to play out the remainder of the game, utilising every opportunity to run down the clock, much to the annoyance of the Ilkley faithful.
Sam Dexter’s side dominated the final 20 minutes and were only denied of another equaliser by the linesman. A long spell of possession culminated with Shaban Mehmeti’s goal, but the linesman deemed there to have been an offside in the buildup.
With the final action of the game, Ashton failed to deal with a corner and a goalmouth scramble ensued. After ricocheting off numerous bodies, the ball cannoned off the woodwork and agonisingly away from danger.
This result puts an end to the hosts unbeaten run, while the visitors remain at the foot of the table despite winning.
(Photo Credit: Paul O’Brien)