Ilkley Town Frustrated by Daisy Hill

A theme of this season for Ilkley Town AFC has been injury-time drama, and today was no different. Usually, the Baht’atters have been on the prevailing side of the late action – for instance the stunning 3-4 comeback against Route One Rovers or Harley Lambert’s 103rd minute winner against AFC Blackpool on the first weekend of the season – however today’s stoppage time drama was heartbreaking, writes Matthew Lambe. 

After being firmly in control for much of the second half, not to mention having a man advantage for half an hour, Town left the MPM Stadium empty handed following Daisy Hill’s 94th minute chip.

Sam Dexter’s side looked the more likely to score in the early stage, testing Daisy Hill shot-stopper Morgan Newns on several occasions. Nathan Hunt almost bagged an early goal – which would’ve been his 9th of the season – while the visitors’ James Phillips nearly scored in the wrong net. 

A show of last ditch defending from the Lancastrian outfit kept Ilkley at bay, as a desperate slide tackle from a Daisy Hill centre back denied a certain goal from Shaban Mehmeti.

The Baht’atters thought they had found an opening when Hunt tapped home Kevin Gonzalez’s cross, but the linesman claimed Hunt was offside.

However, Daisy Hill still looked to threaten and could’ve scored against the run of play when Ryan Talbot found space inside the box, but Isaac Khan’s fingertip save ensured the Baht’atters weren’t trailing at the break.

Only 10 minutes after the restart, the visitors were reduced to 10 men for an off the ball incident in which Malick Diakite Tanou saw red for violent conduct. This gave Town a man advantage for the remainder of the game.

From this point forth, it was largely one way traffic as Ilkley looked to break the deadlock. Despite dominating possession, they struggled to break down Daisy’s defence. Ilkley were resilient in their efforts to score, but each cross was blocked by the defence and each shot saved by the keeper.

As injury time approached, a draw was looking increasingly likely – but the Baht’atters hadn’t given up yet. Brayshaw came the closest to scoring with his towering header flashing just wide, while George Pearson couldn’t quite bundle the ball over the line amidst a goalmouth scramble.

In the 94th minute, Daisy Hill stole the three points with a stunning finish. Substitute Sam Twist saw Khan off his line, so tried his luck with a chip from long distance. His strike floated into the roof of the net, sending his side into delirium.

Consequently, the Baht’atters come away with nothing, giving a valuable three points to the visitors.

Looking to the future, Town turn their efforts to the FA Vase, with a long trip north to face Heaton Stannington on Saturday 23rd September.