Ilkley Face South Liverpool as playoff race boils down to final day


As the curtain comes down on another enthralling campaign in the North-West Counties Division One North, Ilkley Town AFC will be aiming to finish their best ever season at this level on a high when they host South Liverpool this Saturday, writes Evan Seaman.


Reverse fixture

When these two sides met earlier this season, The Baht’atters ran out 4-0 winners at the Jericho Lane back on the 1st ofOctober 2022.

Striker Tom Smith opened the scoring for Ilkley not long before the break before South Liverpool put the ball into their own net and Josh Bowers bagged a brace to seal an impressive three points for the visitors.


Recent form

In terms of recent form though, Ilkley have been very up and down lately. They have won twice, drawn twice, and lost twice out of their last six games so will be looking to build some momentum if they reach the playoff semi-final.

There have been some good performances from Sam Dexter’s side including the come-from-behind victories against Cleator Moor and Nelson, however they have also dropped points including the agonising (not to mention highly controversial) defeat against promotion chasing Chadderton so will take nothing for granted.


Key players

In terms of key players for Ilkley, they might be looking to Tom Smith to step up after Kevin Gonzalez picked up a knock, and Smith has got 15 so far so will be hoping to continue this form.

Whereas for South Liverpool, they will be hoping Mason Nevitt can help them to finish their campaign on a high as he has scored an incredible 23 goals after starting just 16 games. 


League position

In terms of permutations in the league table, there is still plenty left to play for Ilkley. They currently occupy fifth in the playoff positions with 57 points and are just two points behind Euxton Villa in third.

If Ilkley finish third, then they will have the playoff semi final at home, but if they finish fourth or fifth then they will have to play away as they continue to fight for promotion.

There is still a slim chance that Ilkley could drop out of the playoffs altogether if Holker Old Boys win both of their two remaining games and Ilkley lose to South Liverpool, but they would have to overturn a significant goal difference.