A FAST start gave Ilkley Town a 5-1 victory against Headingley 5-1 at Weetwood Sports Park on Saturday.

With it being the only Premier Division game to go ahead, Town had an opportunity to return to the top four.

Despite the rain, the pitch was firm but proved difficult to play the passing game that both the hosts and the visitors enjoy.

Town started incredibly sharp, moving the ball with pace and quality as Headingley struggled with their formation and Town looked determined to make the most of it.

Within four minutes, Town were ahead as Joe Garside won the ball on the left and found Tom Fleming,who sidestepped a defender before driving towards goal and slotting into the bottom corner.

Minutes later, Town had doubled their lead and it came from another Garside assist after some neat interplay from the away side.

The initial build up began on the right with some fine work from Jordan Hendrie, who delivered a little too long. Garside was on hand to return ball from the left to find Tom Smith in the penalty area. Smith took an excellent first touch under pressure before driving the ball into the net to make it 2-0.

The excellent start was further rewarded with a third goal in the opening 15 minutes. Hendrie found Tom Fleming on the right and he evaded two challenges on the touchline before pulling the ball back to Toby Harris, who calmly passed the ball beyond the reach of the Headingley goalkeeper.

From here, a combination of Headingley adjusting and Town dropping off a little meant the game become a much more even contest with the ball changing hands throughout the half.

The disciplined combination of Tim Edney, Tom Bull, Darren Munday, Richard Bull and Nicc Hewitt meant Headingley had little joy offensively in the first half.

This platform allowed Town to grab the fourth goal before half-time and ultimately seal the points.

The ball was fired in to Harris, who passed to the onrushing Tom Fleming. Fleming dribbled around the centre back before finding the bottom corner to make it 4-0 at the break.

In the second period, Headingley adjusted and became more competitive, but the half was full of mistakes by both teams.

The disappointing second half display from Town would cost them a clean sheet.

Sloppy play from the back, where passing was short of quality, put the back line under pressure and Headingley turned over with their centre forward sidestepping a challenge and placing the ball past Tim Edney to cut the lead to 4-1.

This seemed to have a positive impact on Town and within minutes they were once again four goals ahead.

Fine work from substitute Dave Hancock saw his front post delivery flicked on by Tom Smith. Tom Fleming controlled and managed to toe poke into the net, completing his hat-trick and taking man of the match.

The 5-1 win was a terrific result for Town, where they did all the damage in the first 15 minutes and emphatically returned to winning ways.

This Saturday attention turns to the District Cup semi-final away at Horsforth St Margaret's, as Town look to make their fourth final in the last six years.