Good Performance Sees Baht 'atters Overcome Silsden
On a wet Tuesday evening, Ilkley Town AFC defeated Silsden AFC in an entertaining game at the Cobbydale Construction Stadium. Despite the opposition being in a higher division, the Baht’atters were able to score thrice whilst maintaining a clean sheet, writes Matthew Lambe.
The game began as an energetic encounter, with plenty of opportunities for both sides. The hosts produced the first major chance of the game, with their right winger shooting narrowly wide after receiving a through ball.
This was shortly followed by a serious injury for a Silsden defender. After remaining on the ground for a lengthy period of time, it was pleasing to see him walk off the pitch without a stretcher and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Following this the game became evenly poised, allowing Ilkley to register some chances of their own. James Hughes fired a ball narrowly over after striking it on the half-volley, whilst some clever one-twos between Harry Brown and James Hudson culminated with a Tom Smith backheel being well saved by their keeper.
At the other end of the ground, Callum Gladding produced some vital stops to keep the score level. He got a strong hand to palm away a shot from an inviting cross, followed by a quick-reflex save to deny their forward.
Despite all this action, neither side could break the deadlock, leaving the game goalless at the half-time break.
The second half began with a promising spell for the hosts, who would’ve taken the lead had it not been for a last-ditch challenge from Scott Stein. Only moments later, George Pearson and Tom Fleming blocked a goal-bound shot.
In the 65th minute, Simon Armstrong’s side broke the deadlock thanks to centre-back Matt Swift. Having received a low cross from George Gomersall, Swift controlled the ball before turning and placing his effort into the far corner.
Determined to preserve Ilkley’s lead, Hudson executed a goal line clearance, heading away an attempt destined for the top corner.
The Baht’atters doubled their advantage over the Cobbydalers a few minutes later, with a fabulous team goal that encapsulates their style of play. Defender Josh Parker won possession in his own box, before feeding a pass into Gomersall, who then threaded a well-weighted through ball into Ben Atkinson. He burst down the wing before squaring back to Gomersall, who smashed the ball first-time, arrowing into the bottom corner.
The visitors were playing with more confidence now, and added a third just before the final whistle. This time the goal came from a counter-attack, with Will Giles playing forward towards Gomersall, who slotted a through ball into the path of Kevin Gonzalez. He made no mistake as he placed his effort beyond the reach of the keeper.
As well as delivering offensively, Ilkley’s more defensive players were instrumental in preserving a clean sheet against such a competitive opposition, with Scott Stein, Nicc Hewitt and James Nightingale providing a solid backbone to the team.
In the next fixture on Tuesday 13th July, Ilkley host Guiseley of National League North in a highly anticipated local clash; all building towards the 31st July when the Baht’atters welcome Bury AFC in the first game of the NWCFL season.