Ilkley Town 1 Knaresborough 1
Ilkley, sitting proudly at the top of the table, welcomed second placed Knaresborough to Ben Rhydding, in a match that promised much.
The home side started the game slowly and within two minutes James Wilson’s headed clearance landed on the chest of the Knares-borough number nine.
He took aim and volleyed the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards.
Ilkley looked rattled and lacking in confidence as rivals Knares-borough pressed high up the pitch in numbers.
In the first 20 minutes Knaresborough were on top and limited the time and space for Ilkley’s passing game.
Slowly, Ilkley grew into the contest as they started to play simple passes and utilise the space.
In this period they started to put pressure on their opponents goal with Damien Smith having an effort cleared off the line.
Adam Fowler, after a fine run into the penalty area, mis-hit his final effort wide of the mark.
Ilkley started to look a real danger from corners, but no one could get the all-important touch.
The pressure paid off when llkley got back on terms after 37 minutes.
James Hanna found space in behind the Knaresborough back four, and touched the ball past his marker before lobbing his shot perfectly, over the keeper, and into the net.
The second half was Ilkley’s, as their effort and application enabled them to create numerous opportunities to win the match.
Another excellent run by Adam Fowler, saw him find space on the edge of the area before he shot for the far post, only to see it go agonisingly wide.
Fowler again created some space in the area, but this time the goalkeeper was equal to it.
Darren Munday met a corner on the volley, but couldn’t keep it down.
Time was beginning to run out, but Ilkley kept pushing. Danny Bott drove a shot towards the left hand corner, and for a moment it looked in, until the keeper managed to claw it away.
In the final moments Bott raced clear, but instead of shooting, rolled the ball across to Hanna, who had strayed offside.
The match didn’t live up to expectations, but Ilkley gave their all in a bid to secure the win they so badly wanted.
Ilkley remain top of the table but Knaresborough, Robin Hood and Old Modernians all have a number of games in hand which would see them go above them in the table.
Ilkley travel to Old Centralians on Saturday.