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Complacency must not be a factor for Ilkley Town against Old Modernians
Ilkley Town 5, Nostell MW 1
This was a comfortable and emphatic first-round West Yorkshire Association League Cup victory for Ilkley Town against Division Two Nostell Miners’ Welfare.
Goals by Damian Smith (2), Phil Thommesen, Adam Davey, and Joe Hendrie, on his full debut, might have been added to as Ilkley completely dominated, except for a brief spell at the start of the second half.
On a glorious autumn afternoon at Ben Rhydding, the home side were once again forced to change their line-up due to a bundle of players being unavailable, and this gave starting opportunities to Hendrie, Davey, Mark Houlston and young goalkeeper Ed Bullock.
While not out of the blocks as quickly as in previous games, Ilkley soon took control of the game, and crosses by Thommesen and Smith whistled across the goalmouth before the first goal was scored in the 20th minute.
Smith played a give-and-go with Davey and raced beyond his full back before pulling the ball back into the path of Thommesen, who side-footed a firm shot into the net from 12-yards.
Completely dominant in midfield through the trio of James Winward, Ross Hutchison and Hendrie, it was the latter who opened his scoring account for Ilkley on the half-hour when he drilled a low shot into the corner from 15 yards after swift interpassing between Smith and Hutchison.
Minutes later, Davey scored number three, and his first of the season, when he converted a cross by Thommesen with a crisp finish at the far post.
A 3-0 half-time lead hardly told the story of the home team’s dominance, yet elements of complacency were already evident as players tried difficult things when simple ones were sufficient, and once more Ilkley looked vulnerable at set-pieces through slack marking.
It took a goal by Nostell on the hour to spark Ilkley back into life, and the response was immediate.
After Bullock was beaten by a thunderous low shot across a crowded penalty area, James Hanna showed great determination to chase a ball from Winward and drive a low cross into the near post, where Smith stole ahead of his marker and the keeper to add a fourth and settle any anxieties.
Having been harshly adjudged offside when through on goal, Smith repeated his run onto a pass from Hutchison and slid the ball past the onrushing keeper into an empty net.
Further chances fell to Davey, Hutchison and substitute Nathan Proctor but brave goalkeeping kept Ilkley at bay.
On Saturday, Town will face a much sterner test when leaders Old Modernians visit Ben Rhydding (2.30pm).