ILKLEY Town claimed their first-ever West Yorkshire League Premier Division point in a fixture against Carlton Athletic in a 2-2 draw at Ben Rhydding Sports Club.

Carlton started the brighter side and took an early lead as a wind-assisted corner dropped suddenly six yards out for Sam Graham to convert.

Ilkley would eventually grow into the game and levelled when Tom Smith committed two defenders to open space for Matty Whitehead to find the net.

Ilkley could have led at half-time if it wasn’t for the bar denying Adam Davey’s bullet header.

The high-intensity continued after the break and it would be Carlton who moved back ahead when Anees Younis dispossessed keeper James Hirst before turning and firing into the open goal.

After huge appeals from Ilkley over Jonathan Gardiner’s possible handling outside the box were tuned down, the hosts remained determined and secured a point when Smith reacted quickest to tap in after Davey’s header was parried by Gardiner.

Ilkley manager Simon Armstrong said: “In the first 20 minutes Carlton had a few opportunities, as did we, but from there we were able to settle down a bit.

“After the break we were average, and I actually thought we played better in defeat last week against Leeds City.

“But credit to the players, they kept going and this week we got our reward in the shape of a point.

“We are always looking to develop and move forward, and that was the first point we have taken off Carlton as a Premier Division side, so that’s a massive positive for us.”

After scoring his first goal in Ilkley colours, Smith is relieved to be off the mark.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be on the scoresheet.

"A few weeks have gone by now where I haven’t found the net so it’s always good to get that first goal.

“Our play today was slow. We didn’t play the game as much as we usually are capable of, but we have come away with a point against probably the best team in the league.

“We went behind twice and came back twice, showing the character we have in this team. We kept fighting for that point.”