There will be a sense of excitement this Saturday because Ilkley Town AFC are travelling to the Windleshaw Sports Ground for the North-West Counties Division One North playoff semi-final against FC St Helens, writes Evan Seaman.
The Baht’atters come into this fixture in decent form, winning three out of their last six games and will be reeling from the 3-2 victory against South Liverpool which ensured that they finished the campaign in fourth position.
However, Sam Dexter’s side needs to be wary of complacency because they have conceded 16 goals in just six matches, including the 4-0 defeat to Steeton so they will be looking to shore things up at the back in time for the all-important game.
In the previous two games against FC St Helens, both of them ended in a draw. The first one was right at the start of the season on the 13th of August 2022 and finished goalless in boiling hot conditions.
The other game at the MPM Stadium on the 1st of April 2023 ended 1-1 despite Tom Fleming taking the lead for Ilkley early on.
So, this playoff match will undoubtedly be extremely competitive and both teams will have to work very hard for a place in the eagerly anticipated playoff final.
Whereas for FC St Helens, they are unbeaten in their last six league games so come into this match in very good form.
However, they have recently lost on penalties to BacupBorough in the Macron Cup Semi-Final so Ilkley will be hoping they’ll be suffering from a cup hangover.
But as we all know, form goes out of the window for massive occasions like these.
What it means for the club
It has been an outstanding campaign for Ilkley, but this one feels even more special as they fight for promotion.
From the depths of amateur football and fighting relegation last season, to pushing for promotion to the North-West Counties Premier Division, this has been an unimaginable rise for The Baht’atters