At Guiseley AFC’s Nethermoor Park, Ilkley Town AFC Reserves overcame a physical Ventus Yeadon FC side to win the Wharfedale District Cup Final. Immanuel Kinuthia gave the Baht’atters an early lead before a brace from Harley Lambert gave his side an unassailable lead at the break, whilst a secure defensive performance ensured there was no chance of a comeback, writes Matthew Lambe.
The 400-strong attendance knew they were in for a frantic final based on the opening sequence alone. Within the first two minutes, James Hudson was denied by the Yeadon goalkeeper from a one on one, while Ilkley goalkeeper James Hirst produced a fine reflex save from a close range strike.
Jamie Stones’ side took the lead through Kinuthia with barely 15 minutes played. Ben Atkinson drove down the left flank before squaring to Kinuthia, who made no mistake as he beat the keeper with a pinpoint finish.
The remainder of the half saw one-way traffic in favour of the Baht’atters. Within a minute of the opener, Kinuthia came within an inch of bagging his second, hitting the post from the edge of the box.
Nevertheless, the Baht’atters were to score on their next attack, courtesy of a solo goal from Lambert. He beat two defenders for pace down the left wing before finding the net with a drilled finish.
Lambert earned a brace before the interval, giving Ilkley a sizeable advantage over Ventus in the Wharfedale Cup Final. The winger looked to curl an effort into the far corner, but deceived the goalkeeper by aiming at the near post.
The second half unfolded in a similar way to the first, with a frantic opening before Ilkley took control.
This was evident as Ventus’ striker looked destined to pull a goal back, only for a perfectly-timed challenge from Louis Alcock to deny the opposition and preserve Ilkley’s clean sheet.
At the other end of the Nethermoor, Charlie George was unlucky to have not added a fourth. A clearance bounced off him before rolling beyond the reach of the keeper into the net, but the linesman disallowed the goal.
The Seconds were firmly in control of the tie and spurned several chances to extend their lead; Atkinson’s effort flashed wide and a minute later Hudson narrowly missed the target, whilst Asa Lowe saw his long range attempt sail just over.
With only 10 minutes remaining, tempers flared and Yeadon’s number 17 received his marching orders. He headbutted Ewan Johnston – sparking a melee – and in the midst of the action he headbutted another, causing his side to be down a man for the remainder.
In the dying moments, a goalmouth scramble ensued and some brave defending from Ventus prevented a fourth.
Seconds later, the full time whistle was blown, crowning Ilkley Reserves as victorious – officially the winners of the Wharfedale District Cup for the 2022/23 campaign.
Afterwards, the trophy was presented to skipper James Turland, with Lambert being named as Man Of The Match.
This result topped off what has been a superb weekend for the Baht’atters, with the first team securing a place in the promotion playoffs yesterday and the second team winning the Cup today.
Many thanks to Guiseley AFC for providing the venue.