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Final day defeat reflects Ilkley's season
5:40am Thursday 26th April 2012 in Ilkley
Kellingley MW 4 Ilkley Town 3
This final game of the season for Ilkley Town summed up the team’s campaign.
A poor start, followed by a strong resurgence, before ending in disappointment.
Having conceded three-goals in the opening half-hour against a Kellingley side desperate to avoid relegation, Ilkley hit back to level the scores in a fine 25-minute spell in the second half before gifting the home team a late winner.
Without a number of regular players through injury and unavailability, Town gave Sam Jacomb a chance to show his mettle at centre-back alongside skipper Andy Bloom, and the youngster showed great promise.
Kellingley took the lead after 10 minutes when a clumsy challenge by Dave Hancock in the penalty-area allowed Shaun Oldfield to slot the spot-kick past James Hirst.
On a bumpy surface, Ilkley were unable to piece together any penetrating passing moves and Kellingley’s players battled for possession with more determination.
This led to their second goal after 20 minutes when defenders stood-off James Bird who placed a low shot out of the reach of Hirst from the edge of the penalty-area.
A brief response by Ilkley was undermined when an attempted clearance by Ben Dexter rebounded beyond Jacomb and Bird raced forward to slide the ball past Hirst to make it 3-0 on the half-hour.
The Ilkley players were reminded at the interval that an early goal would create anxiety amongst the home team players.
Sure enough, a swift breakaway in the 50th minute sent Phil Thommesen clear on the right and he confidently side-footed the ball past keeper Whaley.
With the home side unsettled, Alan Stockdale powered past three Kellingley players and drilled a low shot across Richard Whaley and though the keeper got a hand to the shot Mark Houlston followed up to push the ball into the net.
The momentum had changed dramatically and the almost inevitable Ilkley equaliser came after 70 minutes when a Thommesen free-kick was volleyed past Whaley by Liam Blenkhorn.
Sensing victory, Ilkley pushed forwards and Whaley did well to claim two in-swinging corners and was grateful to see shots by Thommesen and Ross Hutchison drift wide.
Then disaster struck Ilkley as defenders under little pressure and, tried to play offside when a long ball was punted upfield and Craig Fradgley galloped clear to roll the ball past Hirst.
The final ten minutes saw Ilkley throw players forwards but with no success.
Their season ended in disappointing defeat from a game they could and should have won.
Roll on next season.