Ilkley Town 0 Wyke Wanderers 2
Ilkley’s Division One promotion charge stalled as in-form Wyke secured the three points at Ben Rhydding.
Wyke started quickly and put Ilkley under intense pressure with their strong and direct play.
The pressure soon told as Wyke earned a corner after fix minutes. Ilkley switched off, allowing a short corner, which culminated in a left-footed shot which went in as James Hirst collided with the post in an attempt to save. .
Hirst had to receive treatment to a nasty gash above his left eye. After several minutes of work from Ilkley’s physio Dave Houlston, Hirst was able to continue.
With the wind at their backs, Wyke continued their direct style and caused even more problems for Ilkley.
With Hirst having trouble with his vision and no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, cen-tre half Andy Bloom had to fill in between the sticks, and he did a fine job!
This appeared to galvanise Ilkley and from this point they dominated the remainder of the match.
Both James Wilson and Danny Bott went close before Damien Smith followed a through ball that was being shielded out of play.
For some reason the Wyke defender looked at Smith, before barging him to the floor. The referees whistle went, a penalty surely the outcome, but no, an indirect free kick was given.
The pressure began to grow and there were three goalmouth scrambles where Ilkley couldn’t quite find the finishing touch.
Ben Greenhow managed to find some space, slipped past his man and was tripped. The referee decided it was a dive and played on, much to the frustration of the Ilkley team and their supporters. Despite their best efforts Ilkley finished the half 1-0 down and with plenty of work to do.
Ilkley had the wind in the second half and completely dominated. But for all this domination they never really worked the keeper.
Wyke defended in numbers with a 5-3-2 formation and made it incredibly difficult to find space through the middle. Ilkley did find space out wide but Wyke dealt with the ball delivered into the penalty area incredibly well.
It wasn't until late in the game that Wyke delivered a sucker punch, dispossessing James Wilson, the Wyke forward raced clear and placed his shot into the corner.
Ilkley had switched to 3-1-4-2 formation in an attempt to get back into the game and there was always the possibility of a break away goal.
Sam Dexter was outstanding in central midfield and deservedly won the man of the match award.
It probed to be a disappointing day for all involved, but top three and our best ever points tally is still up for grabs! Town are at Stanley on Saturday (2.30pm).