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Ilkley Town return to winning ways
Swillington Saints 1 Ilkley Town 3
In a game where goalkeepers on both sides saved second-half penalties, Ilkley Town returned to winning ways with a determined performance against a battling Swillington side.
Goals by Adam Davey, Dave Hancock and Darren Munday sealed the victory as Ilkley once again enjoyed the majority of possession and produced some fine attacking moves that tested the home team.
Ilkley started brightly, welcoming back James Winward from injury and giving a first start of the season to Davey in the absence of Damian Smith.
With Ilkley ‘keeper James Hirst a virtual spectator in the opening 20 minutes, it was a surprise this dominance didn’t lead to more than one goal, scored after 12 minutes when Phil Thommesen broke through on the right and his low cross was turned in at the far-post by Davey.
In typical Ilkley style, the goal advantage led to the team becoming casual in passing and movement and this was punished in Swillngton’s first real attack after 25 minutes.
Winward was caught in possession and both Hancock and Andy Bloom made ineffective challenges on the edge of the area allowing Dobson to cross for Scott to volley past Hirst from 15 yards.
It was a good finish and a harsh lesson for Ilkley as Swillington’s confidence grew and Hirst punched clear from a free-kick and was grateful to see a corner flash across the goalmouth.
Ilkley made a positive start to the second-half by maintaining better possession in midfield and squeezing the space available to Swillington forwards.
The breakthrough came on the hour when Hancock started a move in his own half and after an interchange with Henderson and Davey raced onto the latter’s incisive pass before planting a firm low shot past Firth into the far-corner of the net.
Ten minutes later Bloom was adjudged to have pushed Walton just inside the penalty-area following a rare Swillington attack but Hirst came to the rescue as he dived to save the spot-kick.
Having felt aggrieved at this penalty-award, the referee then angered the home side when Hutchison was felled by Scott only for James Wilson’s penalty to be saved by Firth.
Needing another goal to make victory more secure, Ilkley scored a third after 80 minutes when Munday intercepted a pass in his own half and exchanged passes with Davey before galloping past the last defender just over the halfway line and placing the ball past Firth’s despairing dive.
It was a fine example of counterattacking.
On Saturday, Ilkley Town have the first of three consecutive home fixtures at Ben Rhydding against Old Centralians (KO 2.30pm).