Beeston St Anthony's 3 Ilkley Town 1

A CONTROVERSIAL second-half red card for goalkeeper James Hirst helped Beeston come from behind to defeat Ilkley in the West Yorkshire League Premier Division at St Anthony's Road.

Ilkley started strong and took the lead after eight minutes when Robin Layton's perfectly-weighted cross found Tim Edney who headed home at the far post.

The visitors continued to push in search for a second, with Edney almost scoring with his head again before striking the crossbar.

Darren Munday was next to go close just before the break as his sublime volley from Joe Garside's free-kick fizzed just wide.

Ilkley emerged from the break displaying a confidence which has been lacking in the last few months, but Beeston soon grabbed an equaliser as they headed home from a free-kick.

Controversy followed the goal as Ilkley keeper James Hirst saw red for an apparent punch thrown at a Beeston forward.

From here Ilkley sat back knowing a point would still be enough to guarantee them a fourth-place finish this season.

Beeston, who are chasing the Premier Division title, were in no mood to be generous, taking the lead after 73 minutes when Kingsley Wetherald escaped his marker to head home a free-kick.

As the visitors streamed forward in the closing stages in search of an equaliser Beeston added a third, overwhelming Ilkley on the counter to make it 3-1 at full-time.

Ilkley Manager Simon Armstrong was pleased with his side's showing. He said: "I thought the performance was good and showed a lot of character.

"We went one up and then the sending off killed us. It was always going to be tough from there against a top side like Beeston.

"The goals we conceded were a little sloppy, but I would have liked to have kept 11 players on the pitch to see how the game would have turned out".

Armstrong claimed he didn't see the red card incident, but believed the referee was at times intimidated by the occasion.

"I honestly didn't see what happened" he said.

"I think the referee struggled a little today. He is a young official and coming to a place like Beeston there are lots of people on the sidelines trying to give him information and tell him how to do his job, so you need a really strong character for this kind of venue.”

Ilkley head into their last game of the season against Carlton Athletic on Saturday, needing just one point to finish 4th in the Premier Division and Armstrong is hoping his team can get the job done.

He said: "If we can perform like we did in the first-half here for the full 90 then why not?

"We are at home and want to finish in a positive way so there is no reason why we can't compete with Carlton and take a point".