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Small is beautiful as girls romp it
Pontefract Girls' Under-15s 0, Ilkley Town Girls' Under-15s 7
Ilkley Town made their longest trip of the season in the West Riding Girls’ League Division Two in their last match of the season.
With only one or two girls missing, the visitors were almost at full strength, but on a small and narrow pitch, it was clear that in order to win, they would need to rely on their wingers Amy Creedon and Bryony Lowe.
However, the match became a midfield battle as Pontefract played with five across the middle.
At the back, Chloe Dinsdale started in goal and had very little to do as Torrie McPhail, Sorrel Brown, Drew Hanson and Lauren Oxtoby dealt with everything that cam their way.
Kate Petty and Becky Sharpe were winning the balls in midfield, and up front Freya Wood and Vicky Stewart had a couple of chances but as the half wore on it remained 0-0.
Becky Gill came off the bench and Ilkley looked more dangerous up front as Bryony Lowe began to get round the back of the defenders to create chances.
Her cross won Ilkley a handball decision in the penalty area, and up stepped Petty to make it 1-0.
Soon Ilkley were creating frequent chances. Abi Gray came off the bench along with Lauren Barnes, allowing Dinsdale to have a run out in defence.
As the match progressed, Ilkley began to get to grips with the small pitch as Creedon found space down the right.
She crossed and Gill made a good run across the box and turned the ball into the net with the outside of her left boot – a classy goal which seemed to demoralise the home team.
Lowe soon got her first with a shot from the edge of the box, and Oxtoby pushed up into midfield as Ilkley played with three across the back, expertly marshalled by Brown.
Ilkley continued to push forward. With things so tight in midfield it was hard to get their passing game going, but Lowe was having a great game down the left as she had the beating of the full back every time.
She went on a run after been set away by Petty and, after beating two players, she shot from the edge of the box and put the ball into the top corner to make it 3-0.
Soon after, Gill scored from a corner as she curled the ball into the box only for the keeper to palm it into the roof of the net.
Oxtoby then won the ball on the edge of the box and shot into the top corner, and the scoring was completed by Gill, who scored her 31st goal of the season in yet another hat-trick.
Playing on such a small pitch didn’t help but it was a comfortable win and the girls can look back with pride on their third place behind Altofts and Tingley in their debut season in the league and a narrow loss in the Shield semi-final.
Wetherby Girls’ Under-12s 0, Ilkley Girls’ Under-12s 3
Ilkley gained an excellent win at Wetherby, who they have suffered a series of defeats against over the past two seasons.
Two goals from Holly Allen and one from Abi Lafberry were sufficient to give Ilkley the win, but the team played superbly well as a whole and never looked in danger of loosing.
Robust defence from Hannah Haw, Fiona Cram and ‘girl of the game’ Maisie Marshall meant that Wetherby were reduced to speculative long-range shots, all of which were handled confidently by ’keeper Katherine Naylor.
Ilkley’s industrious midfield dominated the game as Iso Hirst, Chloe Slater and Beth Armitage covered every blade of grass.
In truth, the margin of victory could easily have been doubled in what was one of Ilkley’s best team performances to date.
The result means that Ilkley leapfrogged over Wetherby into third place in the league.
Silsden Girls’ Under-12s 2, Ilkley Girls’ Under-12s 7
Ilkley finished their league camapign with a 7-2 derby victory against a much-improved side.
With a strong wind at their backs in the first half, Ilkley dominated early proceedings, going in 5-0 up through goals by Chloe Slater (2), Maisie Marshall (2) and Iso Hirst.
Silsden fought back bravely in the second half, scoring two quick goals in the early exchanges and hitting the woodwork moments later.
Ilkley looked shaken, but managed to regain control of the game as Abi Lafbery and Holly Allen scored a goal each to put the result beyond doubt.
A record of seven wins from 12 games, with a goal difference of plus 23 compares favourably with last season’s tally of two wins from ten and goal difference of minus 27.
Players, coaches and supporters can be proud of the progress made by the team over the course of a long season.
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