Striker Adam Fowler's hat-trick takes Ilkley Town back to the top of table

Adam Fowler netted a hat-trick

Adam Fowler netted a hat-trick

First published in Sport
Last updated

Stanley 1 Ilkley Town 3

Ilkley went back to the top of the West Yorkshire League Division One for the first time since the start of the season after returning to winning ways on Saturday.

They took advantage of their promotion rivals Knaresborough and Robin Hood, dropping points to regain the leadership.

Bur Knaresborough, their oppo-nents at Ben Rhydding on Saturday, are just two points adrift with three games in hand while Robin Hood are a further point back having played eight games less.

Town were pleased to overcome the challenge of Stanley because their opponents came into the match buoyed by a midweek victory over Knaresborough.

Ilkley started with the wind at their backs and it was soon obvious that both teams would find it difficult to play in these conditions.

Both teams were still trying to get a real foothold in the game when a long pass from Dave Hancock was pounced on by Adam Fowler, who used the bounce of the ball to lob it perfectly over the advancing keeper.

With this early advantage Ilkley tried to get the ball down and play. Stanley worked incredibly hard and pushed on whenever they had the opportunity.

This at times left them vulnerable on the break and a lovely move down the right saw Fowler bear down on the Stanley keeper before squaring to Ben Greenhow who shot straight into the body of the goalkeeper.

Moments later Ilkley won a corner, which the Stanley players failed to clear, and the ball fell to Fowler who adjusted his feet but shot too high.

Ilkley carelessly gave the ball away in their own half just before the interval and the Stanley right winger swung in a superb cross which was met by his centre forward who headed agonisingly wide.

Ilkley, on chances created, should have been further ahead but Stanley had provided a timely reminder of how dangerous they could be.

Early in the second half a longer, floated pass saw Adam Fowler race clear of the Stanley defence and give the keeper no chance with a clean strike.

The game developed into a stalemate as both teams effectively cancelled each other out. It looked like the score would remain the same as the game fizzled out.

However, in the 70th minute some nice skill from Damien Smith, saw him upended in the area and a penalty awarded.

After some debate, Fowler stepped up confidently and slotted the ball into the net to complete his hat-trick and take his goal tally to five in his last three games.

Ilkley now had 20 minutes to close out the game and keep a clean sheet. Unfortunately they conceded a sloppy consolation goal for the home side. A long punt forward was allowed to bounce four times, without being dealt with, and was headed beyond James Hirst.

Stanley pushed for another goal but Ilkley kept them at bay in the closing minutes as they secured a valuable three points.

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