Swillington 2 Ilkley Town 3
ILKLEY got the new season off to a winning start with victory at newly-promoted Swillington.
The opening 20 minutes saw the home side make a fast start as they looked to put Ilkley under pressure.
They were finding far too much space in the middle of the park and picking passes out for their pacy wingers.
On more than one occasion they found themselves in behind the Ilkley back four and only desperate defending saved the situation. Swillington got the breakthrough they were seeking after 22 minutes. Ilkley failed to deal effectively with a corner on two occasions, and an overhead kick resulted in the ball nestling in the bottom corner.
Ilkley started to gain more of a foothold in the game, going close from a couple of set pieces.
A nice move down the right side culminated in a diving header from Gareth Pickup, which drifted just wide.
The ball found its way to Ben Dexter who drove the perfect pas over the full back to man of the match Richard Schofield, who beat his man, drove towards goal and hit a low cross for the onrushing Damien Smith to tap in.
The second half saw a marginal improvement from Ilkley and they were soon in front.
Dave Hancock took a throw in to Damien Smith in the opposition penalty area. Smith turned his man and was bundled over to earn a penalty.
Despite scuffing his kick Adam Fowler still managed to find the bottom corner.
From here the game became scrappy, more of a battle, with Ilkley having little rhythm through this period.
Ilkley's failure to simplify the game and make better decisions cost them as possession was lost in the midfield third.
Swillington moved the ball out wide quickly and delivered before Ilkley were able to organise. Two Swillington players were completely unmarked in the penalty area and the first man headed into the corner past James Hirst.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw until the 83rd minute. Andy Bloom played a long ball into the penalty area which the Swillington defence failed to cut out. Fowler controlled the ball smartly before slotting his second goal.
It was an excellent result for Ilkley in difficult circumstances against a strong and determined Swillington side, who more than played their part in an entertaining game.