Ilkley Town women 4 Harrogate Railway 1

A great team performance see Ilkley Women secure their first win
Ilkley women achieved their first win since their return to football with an emphatic 4-1 win at home to Harrogate Railway on Sunday May 2nd 2021.
The victory had certainly been coming and was just reward for the effort of all the women in recent weeks, both at training and their three previous hard fought matches.
Despite the atrocious conditions Ilkley started well and unlike some of the the previous matches didn’t concede an early goal, which clearly helped their confidence as the game progressed. The breakthrough came after 20 mins when Shareen (Shaz) Munir won a throw in the Harrogate half and exchanged quick passes with Eva Curran. Shaz’s final pass into the box went astray but the Harrogate defender lost control and Eva was able to pounce on the loose ball, take it past a defender and shoot. The shot was deflected but fortunately found the back of the net. A well deserved goal for Eva on 20 mins. 1-0 Ilkley.
Ilkley found themselves in the lead for the first time and for a time this seemed to affect their performance and they became a little disjointed, however the introduction of three substitutes and consistently good defending from the back four, including a goal line headed clearance from Mary Armstrong, meant that they finished the half 1-0 up.
In the second half conditions were much improved and seemed to suit Ilkley as they quickly settled into their rhythm with some exquisite passages of play including the lead up to the second goal scored by Isabel (Izzy ) Macina. Shaz started the move, picking the ball up on the halfway line and running into the opposition half before picking out Izzy on the edge of the penalty box with a pinpoint pass. Izzy effortlessly controlled the ball, got goal side of her marker and placed it with brilliant right footed precision past the goalkeeper’s outstretched arm. 2-0 Ilkley after 27 minutes of the second half.
Only 4 minutes later, Harrogate conceded a free kick on the left side of the penalty box. Up stepped Millie Ogden who confidently placed her left foot shot into the top righthand corner of the net as if it was a practice session. 3-0 Ilkley.
Ilkley were now well into their stride and next up was an outstanding team goal that was borne out of an interception header from the edge of the Ilkley box by Emily Reader-Harris. This was picked up by Izzy before passing to Eva on the halfway line who beat two defenders, played the ball back to Emily who in turn laid off a brilliant pass to Chloe Parker. Finding herself unmarked on the right side of the penalty box, Chloe hit a right foot shot which crept in under the goalkeeper at the near post. 4-0 Ilkley after 34 minutes off the second half.
Harrogate did manage to get a consolation goal with a good move from a throw on the half way line resulting in an excellent pass through the middle to their striker who slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
A shame for Ilkley that they couldn’t keep a clean sheet on a day when the defence had been outstanding with centre half Mary Armstrong being player of the match and right back Holly Parker team player of the match. Taylor Orchard looked at home in goal and was certainly a dominant and commanding figure making several dashes outside the penalty box to clear the ball, her decisiveness definitely having a positive impact on the defence in front of her.
All in all a great victory and excellent team performance against a Harrogate Railway side currently in the Division above Ilkley, which to use the football parlance definitely augurs well for the upcoming season!