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Nationwide support for Town as programme proves a big attraction
Ilkley Town were spurred on by a record attendance of 131 on Saturday as they overcame Rawdon Old Boys to reach the Wharfedale Cup final for the second time in three years.
Despite going a goal down early on, two goals from Phil Thommesen and a Ross Hutchinson penalty saw Ilkley home.
Town lost in the final of this competition in 2011 and will be looking to avoid a repeat occurrence when they meet Otley Rovers this time around.
Club chairman Richard Giles said: “It’s a really big deal for the club to be in the final again, we’ve been playing in this competition for 50 years and never won it so it would be great to change that this year.”
This was the first time Ilkley had ever produced a programme which led to spectators from around the country turning up for the game.
A group of non-league enthus- iasts, known as ‘ground hoppers’, from London, Edinburgh and Manchester turned up to watch the game and collect the programme.
Giles said: “It was quite incredible having people from all around the country turn up. It all contributed to what was a massive event.
“We will certainly produce programmes for any big games in the future given the success we’ve had this weekend.”
Ilkley’s opponents in the final, Otley Rovers, are currently fourth in Division One of the Harrogate League. They defeated Baildon Trinity Athletic 2-1.
Giles said: “I’m sure the game will be very competitive, as any final is. I certainly think we’ve got a good chance.”
Many of Ilkley Town’s players also turn out for Ilkley Dynamos on a Sunday. Most notably Thomm- esen, who scored another brace on Sunday to see Dynamos through to their own final.
“There are a lot of very talented footballers in Ilkley right now, which you can see from the success of both sides.
“The record attendance we had on Saturday is proof that the state of football in Ilkley is very healthy,” said Giles.
Giles was keen to thank the supporters who turned out on Saturday for their vociferous support.
He said: “It really means a lot to see so many people turn up. It certainly helps the team and long may it continue.”
The date and location of the final are yet to be confirmed by the Wharfedale District FA.