Aberford 1 Ilkley Town 3
Adam Turner hit a hat-trick as Ilkley overcame the challenge of combating wet conditions and a big pitch to defeat fifth-placed Aberford in West Yorkshire Division One.
Both teams started the game with a real energy and intensity, Aberford with a more direct style and Ilkley using their extra midfielder to move the ball on the slick surface.
Ilkley started to dominate in the early stages as both Danny Bott and Damien Smith found space between the Aberford back four and midfield.
It was through this space that Bott found Dave Hancock who burst into the box and was brought down for earn a penalty which Adam Turner blasted home.
The first half continued in this vein, Ilkley moving the ball well and creating opportunities and Aberford playing a longer ball, which was dealt with ably by Gavin Phillis and the back four.
Ilkley showed real intent at the start of the second half as they put Aberford under intense pressure.
This was rewarded in the 50th minute as Ben Greenhow was first to a loose ball in the box and was completely taken out by the right back for a second penalty.
If this wasn’t bad enough for Aberford the right back Martin Rostron got up, hurled abuse at the referee, and was consequently sent off. Turner, for the second time dispatched the penalty into the corner.
Aberford, after what they felt was an injustice, became increasingly aggressive in their play and had arguably their best spell of the game for the next ten minutes.
Unfortunately for them they didn’t manage to capitalise and it was Ilkley who managed to extend their lead in the 62nd minute as Turner completed his hat-trick and scored his 19th goal for the season, after an inviting cross from Smith.
At this point it seemed Ilkley could stroll to victory and keep only their third cleansheet of the season.
Aberford however continued to work hard and make life difficult for their opponents.
This work was rewarded in the 65th minute as Aberford’s Stefan Small somehow wriggled between James Hanna and Hancock before striking a weak shot under Phillis and into the net.
This gave Aberford fresh impetus but Ilkley stuck to the task, worked hard and remained disciplined for the final 25 minutes and in all honesty should have added to the scoreline, but deservedly ran out comfortable winners, with Greenhow their man-of-the-match.
Ilkley are fourth in the table and entertain Baildon Trinity on Saturday.