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Town pay for sloppy defending
10:54am Thursday 11th October 2012 in Sport
Shelley 3 Ilkley Town 2
Four goals in a 12-minute period midway through the second-half settled this highly-competitive game between two teams in the top five of the West Yorkshire League Division One.
Despite reducing the arrears with ten minutes remaining, Ilkley Town couldn’t find an equaliser and will rue the defensive lapses that conceded all three points to Shelley.
On a beautiful autumn afternoon and on a pitch that almost matched Ben Rhydding for quality, Ilkley welcomed back skipper Andy Bloom and were grateful for his heading prowess as Shelley favoured the direct-football approach with their full-backs drilling the ball into the channels at every opportunity.
Thankfully, Ben Dexter and Dave Hancock showed determination to shackle Shelley’s wide players and gradually Ilkley began to gain better possession and pass the ball through midfield.
Nevertheless, the home side forced three corners in quick succession, which Ilkley repelled with some discomfort and James Winward was well positioned to head clear from the goal-line.
Yet Ilkley always looked lively on the counter attack and had the best chance of the game on the half-hour when slick inter-passing saw Joe Hendrie send Adam Davey racing clear only for the Ilkley striker to drag his short wide.
With Phil Thommesen causing the Shelley left-back plenty of problems with his raids down the right, Ilkley had further chances to open the scoring as numerous crosses zipped across the penalty-area.
A 0-0 half-time score was probably a fair return as Shelley had territorial advantage but were susceptible to Ilkley bursts forward.
Town needed to gain better control of midfield to utilise their wide players Thommesen and Danny Henderson who had the beating of their opponents.
The opening 20 minutes of the second-half followed the pattern of the first with Shelley huffing and puffing with long balls and Ilkley threatening on the break and missing another glorious chance when Davey managed to skew the ball wide of an open goal from eight yards with Thommesen and Ross Hutchison well-positioned to tap the ball into an empty net.
Within 90 seconds the home side took the lead when a swerving cross from the left wing was headed past James Hirst by Haigh who had stolen ahead of Hancock at the far-post.
Needing to respond swiftly, Ilkley equalised almost straight from the kick-off when Hancock sent Henderson clear behind the full-back and his low cut-back was belted home by a joyous Thomm-esen.
The defensive madness continued as Shelley were gifted the lead again when Hancock failed to clear decisively from a corner that saw Livesey drill the loose ball through a crowd of players past Hirst.
Then Ilkley’s keeper was rooted to the line when Dexter’s slip allowed another far-post cross from which Farrell headed home.
Showing great spirit, Ilkley scored a second after 80 minutes when Thommesen drilled a low shot past Walsh from 20-yards after a fine pass from Davey.
In the closing minutes Davey had the chance to equalise when Henderson’s corner fell to him at the near-post only for the Ilkley player to lift the ball over the bar from 10-yards.
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