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Town pay penalty for spot-kick miss
Ilkley Town 1 Old Centralians 1
An equaliser in the final five minutes denied Ilkley Town three points from a Division One game they had dominated.
An old frailty of failing to defend at a set-piece cost Ilkley again after another performance that was better than the result shows.
Nevertheless, the home side need to convert dominance of possession and territory into more convincing strikes at goal.
They also require greater determination in the opposition’s penalty-area.
To compound their relatively weak striking rate, Ilkley missed a penalty for the second-successive game.
Damian Smith lifted the ball over the bar in the first-half.
This 35th minute miss followed a sustained period of exceptional Ilkley passing and movement, as Old Centralians players were left chasing the ball around the pitch.
Some desperate tackles by the visitors went unpunished and shots by Smith and Ross Hutchison were too close to ‘keeper Joseph Royce when openings were fashioned inside the penalty-area.
Yet the occasional free-kick and corner for Old Centralians caused problems for Ilkley who missed the aerial presence of Andy Bloom.
Town were reminded at half-time to maintain the passing and movement .
They were also encouraged to get more players committed to supporting Danny Henderson as the fulcrum of the Ilkley attack.
With the exception of a dipping shot from Hornegould, Old Centralians posed little attacking threat from open play, and Royce had to make a diving save from Phil Thommesen when he raced onto Henderson’s through pass.
The breakthrough came after 65 minutes when neat interplay between Smith and Henderson sent James Winward racing beyond the last defender and the Ilkley midfielder tucked the ball past Royce for his first goal of the season.
Despite their dominance, Ilkley still lacked conviction in the final-third, and chances to shoot went begging and crosses eluded runners.
As the minutes ticked away, Ilkley had chance to clear the ball but gave away possession and eventually conceded a needless corner from which Phil Hudson was unmarked and headed the ball into goal from six-yards.
Substitute Joe Hendrie’s stinging low shot hitting the foot of the post after it had beaten Royce’s div, but Toin could not find a winner.
On Saturday, Ilkley Town host Nostell Miners Welfare in the League Cup 2.30pm.
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