ILKLEY Town were unable to get the winning goal as they played out an entertaining 2-2 with Stanley United in their penultimate match of pre-season at their Ben Rhydding Sports Club home.

The Baht’atters started the game strongly, subjecting the visitors to some early pressure. This included a couple of close attempts from Lewis Hey and Joe Garside.

In the 14th minute, Ilkley’s pressure culminated into a goal.

Harry Brown received possession from James Nightingale on the edge of the box and the midfielder's effort flew into the bottom right corner after ricocheting off the inside of the post.

When the hosts won a free kick 20 yards out, there was only one man for the job. Garside was aiming to score a third consecutive free kick in as many games.

The full back opted for power, and his shot forced a good save from the opposition goalkeeper.

United showed their quality in the 37th minute after successfully breaking through Ilkley’s defence via a neat string of passes.

This build-up play eventually worked its way through to their striker, who struck the ball low across goal to level the score.

On the stroke of half time, Nightingale came tantalisingly close to restoring Ilkley’s lead in the most spectacular fashion.

His shot rocketed towards goal, thumping against the underside of the crossbar before bouncing back into open play.

In the second half, it was the visitors who registered the first goal.

A free kick on target was saved, but not palmed away from danger, allowing Stanley’s right winger to score a tap in.

Only a few minutes later, the away team were incredibly unlucky not to score a third goal.

Goalkeeper Tim Edney dropped the ball again. Although, this time he redeemed himself by diving back to somehow prevent it from crossing his goalline.

In the 70th minute, Ilkley bagged an equaliser, after a superb through ball from Nightingale picked out James Hudson who blasting the ball into the bottom right corner.

Shortly after, Simon Armstrong's men had another spell of pressure with Tom Smith hitting the side netting, Lee McGowan heading just wide, and a long shot from George Gomersall on target.

At the other end, Stanley almost bagged a winner twice, when a close range volley was squandered, and a defensive lapse in concentration led to their substitute striker heading narrowly wide.

Neither team could quite find that all important goal meaning the game finished level.

Ilkley can be satisfied by their performance and can learn from their defensive lapses to mount a promotion push in what promising to be an exciting season ahead.

They travel to Rawdon in their finally warm-up game on Saturday, and then it is full steam ahead for their West Yorkshire Premier Division opener with Huddersfield Amateur the week after.

Matthew Lambe