Old Modernians 3, Ilkley Town 2
The was the cruellest of defeats for Ilkley Town, their top-of-the-table West Yorkshire Association League clash with Old Modernians last Saturday being decided with the last kick of the game in the 93rd minute.
That this kick was from the penalty spot heightened the dismay for the Ilkley players, who deserved at least a share of the points and had more chances to win the game than their opponents.
A silent dressing-room aferwards told the story of the players’ disappointment.
Town dominated the opening 20 minutes and took a 2-0 lead through goals by Danny Henderson and Adam Davey.
Both goals showed the value of pressurising defenders, when, firstly in the tenth minute, Henderson darted between two defenders to stab the ball low past keeper Day from 15 yards after determined work by Davey and Phil Thommesen.
Ten minutes later, Claxton’s back-pass fell short of Day as Davey harried the Old Mods defender, and the Ilkley player nipped in to touch the ball past the keeper.
Mark Houlston then saw his far-post header held by Day, and Thommesen headed over the bar from Henderson’s corner before the home side scored on the half-hour when Ilkley’s central defenders Darren Munday and Andy Bloom collided, allowing Forrest to drive the ball low past James Hirst.
The Ilkley keeper then did well to parry a close-range shot from Todds as the home side began to push forwards with more purpose.
The equaliser came when Ilkley defenders failed to clear a free-kick and, in the ensuing scramble in the penalty area, the loose ball was poked past Hirst from eight yards.
A reminder was given to Ilkley players at half-time of the importance of making more decisive challenges and interceptions against opponents who often threw themselves into tackles.
The opening 25 minutes of the second half witnessed both sides battling to achieve any control over the game in a frantic contest of differing styles.
Ilkley found it difficult to develop swift passing moves on the small pitch, while Old Mods gave away a lot of possession through playing long balls to central strikers.
In the final 20 minutes, Ilkley looked the more likely side to score.
After a twisting run by Henderson, he pulled the ball across the six-yard box where the onrushing Houlston didn’t manage to get clean contact, and the ball hit Day.
Ross Hutchison had a low shot saved by Day, who then made a fine save to deny Thommesen, whose firm side-footer from 12 yards seemed destined to hit the net.
The same player blazed over from an acute angle before Day made another outstanding save as he dived full-length to tip wide Munday’s excellent downward header from Joe Hendrie’s corner.
Then calamity struck as Ilkley failed to clear a long punt and Bloom was adjudged to have fouled Todds.
A cruel game and one that Ilkley have the chance to rectify on Saturday when they face Premiership side Wetherby Athletic in the League Cup at Ben Rhydding (1.30).