A late brace from striker Kevin Gonzalez overturned a one goal deficit to give Ilkley the victory against AFC Blackpool and ensure that they are in the play-off positions at Christmas, writes Evan Seaman.
The game had a slow start in the first 10 minutes as both teams looked up for the fight, but young midfielder Alfie Dean proved his quality with a couple of strong tackles.
There was a half chance for Ilkley in the 15th minute when Gonzalez whipped in a low cross to Tom Smith, but he couldn’t quite reach it as Daniel Hall came out to catch the ball.
Shortly afterwards, the visitors opened the scoring after catching Ilkley on the break, as Jacob Gregory tucked the ball into the corner past Sam Blackiston to give AFC Blackpool an early lead.
The Baht’atters nearly responded immediately when skipper Harry Brown whipped it into Dean and his attempt at goal went agonisingly wide of the net.
Ilkley were now in full attacking mode and Gonzalez embarked on a menacing run before going for glory but there was no luck for the hosts.
Sam Dexter’s side were now getting frustrated about their profligacy in front of goal and George Gomersall got the first booking of the game for pulling back his opponent.
However, Ilkley kept on pushing in the next 45 minutes, and with about 20 minutes left on the clock, they showed signs of a comeback after some nice link up play from the two strikers, Smith and Gonzalez.
But there was some controversy when AFC Blackpool players thought that the ball had crossed the line which would’ve put them in a comfortable lead, but the referee thought otherwise -much to the relief of the Ilkley players.
The home team came mightily close from a corner when Gomersall whipped in a cross, and Gonzalez headed towards goal, but Hall made a good reflex save.
But, with about four minutes left of normal time, Ilkley finally got their reward when Gonzalez picked up a loose ball and fired into the net to level up the game.
However, the Baht’atters were not done yet as they won another corner late in the match. Gomersall whipped it in again and Hall spilled the ball as it fell straight into the path of Gonzalez, who tapped home to complete an impressive turnaround.
The result means Ilkley snatch a vital three points in their pursuit of the play-off positions, and up next is a long trip to Holker Old Boys on Tuesday night.
(Photo Credit: Paul O’Brien)