Ilkley Town dug deep at Brayton Belles on Sunday to claw back a 0-3 deficit only to be denied a draw by a contentious late goal from the home team.
Ilkley initially struggled to find their rhythm and found themselves hemmed in their own half which allowed a strong Brayton team to dominate possession and take a 3-0 lead, although it has to be said that their first goal took a cruel bobble on the uneven ground to wrong foot the Ilkley goal keeper Ellie Wilson.
There were a few chances for Ilkley in the first half but the fightback started with some great work from Chloe Parker threading the ball through to Izzy Macina who epitomised the Ilkley spirit by never giving up despite being flanked by two Brayton defenders to calmly slot the ball home to get the away side on the score sheet after 29 minutes.
This clearly settled Ilkley’s nerves and they started to look more like themselves and started to play their football and steadied the ship to go into to half time at 3-1 down.The second half saw Ilkley start well and begin to dominate possession and create chances on goal which came to fruition after 11 minutes with a fantastic run from Izzy on the right, chasing what seemed like an impossible ball but her persistence paid off and she produced a wonderful strike for the visitors to get back to 3-2
Now fully into their stride Ilkley had several chances on goal, one of which led to a goal line scramble with the player of the match Izzy finally putting the ball over the line for a well deserved hat trick. At this point, the momentum had definitely swung in favour of Ilkley who looked the most likely to snatch a winner but the home team managed a breakaway with just five minutes of the match remaining and scored a contentious goal that despite appeals from Ilkley for a clear offside was ruled ok. Ilkley could only stand by in disbelief.
The whistle signalled the end of the match a short time later with the Ilkley players clearly disappointed with the result, but it should be remembered that Brayton Belles were flying high in the Division above Ilkley before lockdown and produced some great defending to keep Ilkley at bay