In a nail-biting encounter, Ilkley Town AFC came from behind three times to record a 3-3 draw with fellow West Yorkshire side Campion AFC. A brace from Kevin Gonzalez and a neat finish from Aaron Davis ensured the Baht’atters move up a place to 15th in the league table, writes Matthew Lambe.
The hosts took an early lead from a set-piece, courtesy of Daniel Keane; following a delivery deep into the box Keane produced a diving header into the top corner.
Only two minutes later, a chip from Gonzalez brought the Baht’atters back on level terms. He chased a through ball from Davis, before scooping over the onrushing goalkeeper for his 5th goal of the season.
After the frantic opening, the game continued to provide an entertaining spectacle, with multiple chances forming at both ends. Adam Montague Millar produced a fingertip save to push a threatening header over, whilst Matt Swift headed narrowly wide from a Harry Brown cross.
Campion restored their advantage five minutes before the interval, with Luke Rhodes finishing from close range. He pounced on a loose ball inside the box, before finding the top corner with a powerful attempt.
Once again, Simon Armstrong’s side responded with a goal; Tom Smith swung a corner towards the far post, where Davis calmly slotted through the crowded goal-line to equalise in the 44th minute.
The Baht’atters began the second half brightly, and would’ve taken the lead had any contact been made with Tom Fleming’s inviting cross along the goalmouth.
Campion took the lead for a third time, with Leon Hurles-Brook converting from the penalty spot after a controversial decision.
The Baht’atters pressed forward in hope of an equaliser, forcing multiple saves out of keeper Bradley Emmerson, most noticeably blocking a one on one effort from Gonzalez. At the other end, Ilkley’s defence held strong to keep the deficit at one goal.
With only a couple of minutes remaining, the Baht’atters showed great character to level the scoring for a third time. After a Gomersall drive, Gonzalez won possession whilst holding off the Campion defence, before turning and blasting powerfully at the near post beyond Emmerson.
Shortly afterwards, the final whistle was blown to conclude a thrilling encounter. An impressive brace from Gonzalez sealed a draw for Town, who battled hard against a disciplined Campion side.
Next weekend, the Baht’atters host Cleator Moor Celtic at the MPM Stadium, before travelling to high-flying Pilkington on October 9th.