In a pre-season friendly, Ilkley Town AFC u23s suffered a 2-4 defeat against a competitive UFCA side. Despite trailing at the break, the Academy outfit overturned the deficit with four goals in the second half, writes Matthew Lambe.
Town survived an early scare, as their striker lobbed Connor Tinnion from distance, but the linesman flagged him for offside. In the following attack, a vital challenge from Alfie Heaton cut out the danger.
Harley Lambert won his side a corner after guiding the ball round the goalkeeper, and the resulting delivery was headed home by Blake Wood, giving the Baht’atters an early advantage.
In the following 20 minutes, the game had no shortage of action, with both sides coming close to finding the net. George Gomersall’s powerful half volley was only inches wide, whilst at the other end Kris Simari denied the Academy striker with a goal-line clearance.
The Baht’atters gained a two goal cushion in the 40th minute; Wood played a low cross in towards Luke Barker after a marauding run into the box, and the striker finished with ease.
The end-to-end action continued, with Asa Lowe almost adding his name to the scoresheet, whilst Tinnion had to save a close range effort to preserve his clean sheet. However, no goals were added, giving Joe Garside’s side the lead at the break.
The visitors began the second half on the front foot, and were rewarded with a goal for their efforts. Their striker slotted past Tinnion from a one-on-one to halve the deficit.
UFCA bagged a second in quick succession to level the scoring, after a shot from the edge of the box found the bottom corner.
Shaban Mehmeti almost restored the lead for the Baht’atters, after he got the end of Matt Whitehead’s whipped cross, but couldn’t keep his header down.
The Academy took the lead in spectacular fashion, as a centre back’s powerful effort arrowed into the top corner. Soon after, their lead was extended with another impressive goal, after an attempt from long range curled into the top corner.
Despite a late resurgence, the game proved to be beyond the reach of the u23s, and UFCA ran out 2-4 winners in a game of attractive football.