In the first game at the MPM Stadium since the Bury AFC fixture, Ilkley Town AFC were defeated by Holker Old Boys. Despite Tom Smith converting a penalty, as well as several opportunities, the Baht’atters were unable to record their first points of the season, writes Matthew Lambe.
The hosts registered the first shot on target, with James Hughes firing a shot across goal. Keeper Samuel Stephens got a hand to the strike, but needed the assistance of their centre back to clear the ball off the line to prevent an early lead for Ilkley.
Shortly afterwards, Nathan Reid broke the deadlock for Holker. From the edge of the box, his effort curled into the bottom corner.
Callum Gladding was forced to produce a great save to deny the visitors a chance of doubling their advantage, tipping a powerful attempt over the crossbar.
The next few minutes saw Hughes and Kevin Gonzalez come close to finding an equaliser, with both forwards heading narrowly wide.
On the stroke of half time, Hughes produced a looping strike which glided over Stephens before ricocheting off the crossbar and back into open play.
Early in the second half, the Baht’atters nearly grabbed an equaliser. After winning possession, Hughes squared the ball to Gonzalez, who finished wide from close range.
At the other end of the MPM Stadium, Holker doubled their lead through Jamie Hodgson. Having received a through ball, he drove forward before blasting the ball into the bottom corner.
William McGladdery added a third for the visitors with a long-range lob. His effort hit the roof of the net after seeing Gladding off his line.
Substitute Alfie Heaton produced some great skill to nutmeg his opponent before crossing into the box, but Stephens denied any spark of a comeback.
The Baht’atters bagged a consolation goal from the penalty spot after Josh Bowers was fouled from a corner. Tom Smith stepped up and kept his cool, sending the keeper the wrong way as his strike blasted into the top corner.
Moments later, the referee sent off Bowers for a sliding challenge, leaving Ilkley down to 10 men for the final few minutes.
Bowers’ sending off was the last action of the game, leaving the final score as 1-3 to the visitors.
Next up, the Baht 'atters travel to Chadderton in a midweek clash, before welcoming AFC Darwen on Saturday 21st.
Follow this link to access the post-match interview with manager Simon Armstrong: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=260747825864637