(picture of goal scorer George Gomersall in action against Euxton Villa)
Ilkley Town AFC suffered a heartbreaking loss to Euxton Villa FC via a penalty shootout to bow out of the Edward Case Cup in the 2nd Round. The Baht’atters were two goals and a man up on the hour mark, but a late comeback from the visitors meant penalties were required to separate the sides, writes Matthew Lambe.
The Baht’atters began on the front foot, and Kevin Gonzalez would’ve opened the scoring had it not been for Euxton’s goalkeeper Joshua Brooks.
Nevertheless, Sam Dexter’s side took the lead only moments later after a superb run from Ben Clarkson; he passed four defenders as he dribbled to the byline then dragged back to George Gomersall, who made no mistake with his pinpoint finish.
To make matters worse for Villa, they conceded a penalty and were reduced to 10 men after 34 minutes. Ethan Darr was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Clarkson, but the spot kick – also taken by Clarkson – was saved.
Ilkley nearly extended their lead shortly before half time, but a goalline clearance denied Tom Fleming of scoring a chip. At the other end of the MPM Stadium, Matt Swift prevented an opportunity for Villa with a crucial header.
Just before the hour mark, Clarkson made amends for the earlier penalty by doubling the Baht’atters advantage. After Jack Lane’s roulette turn, the ball fell loose inside the box and was poked home by the Ilkley talisman.
The Lancastrian outfit halved the deficit from a free-kick, after Michael Galliers curled an effort around the wall.
Within five minutes, they drew level from a corner. Matthew Atherton rose highest and nodded into the net, creating a tense final period – especially with the threat of a penalty shootout looming.
The following few minutes offered no shortage of action. A fabulous piece of defending from the Baht’atters saw a goalbound effort clawed away on the line, whilst Shaban Mehmeti almost found a late winner from a free kick.
However, neither side could find a winner, meaning the clash had to be decided by penalties. Despite a well-taken penalty from Joe Edmonds and a fine stop from Charlie Bell, Villa ultimately prevailed – winning the shootout 1-3 – so they progress into the 3rd Round of the Edward Case Cup, whilst the Baht’atters will rue their missed opportunities.
Next up, Town welcome Bacup Borough to the MPM Stadium in the Macron Cup on 15th October, before efforts return to the league, hosting Atherton LR on 22nd October.
(Image Credit: Nick Gerrard)