LAST April, when Ilkley Town's season was abandoned, there was a sharp sense of disappointment with the club on the verge of promotion to non-league's promise land of Step Six.

However, on the eve of the new campaign all this has been dispelled, thanks to manager Simon Armstrong rallying his troops to go again.

Town were second in the West Yorkshire Premier Division, the top five could have applied to go up, when the Football Association expunged the results from the 2019/20 season.

Now, they want redemption and have previous leaders Beeston St Anthony in their sights.

Armstrong said: "Every season we want to get the best group of players together with the right characters and personalities. We want to finish as high as we possibly can.

"We will respect our opponents and play the best we can week in and week out. If we do that, we will be a challenge for everybody.

"Beeston have great tradition and infrastructure which allows them to compete year on year at the top end of the league. I don’t think this year will be any different.

"Like ourselves, I am sure they will see last season as unfinished business. They will be keen to hit the ground running and to be at the top end of the table, for sure."

Last week, Ilkley completed their extensive pre-season programme in style with a 2-0 win at rivals Rawdon Old Boys.

Early on, goalkeeper Tim Edney was forced into action. He closed down the Rawdon striker's effort well to protect his clean sheet.

Tom Fleming was a constant threat for the away team and the forward broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time, netting from close range following a well-worked short corner from Joe Garside and Harry Brown.

Once again, Garside bagged a free kick goal to double the visitors lead, his third of pre-season.

In the 70th minute, Darren Munday almost scored after his close range header from a corner was well saved by the hosts' keeper.

Town almost added a third goal in the final minutes when Alfie Heaton produced a great run down the right flank, before sending in a low cross that was almost met by Tom Smith for a tap in.

Speaking on the game, Armstrong was delighted with his side's attitude and believes they have had great preparations, given the circumstances.

He added: "It was a local derby. We know them quite well and we knew they would have a strong team.

"We wanted that challenge on grass. I was really pleased with the players and how they went about it.

"It has been the most unique pre-season we have ever had, in regards of everything going on.

"It has been a huge challenge to get consistent training and fixtures played to make sure it is safe for everybody.

"On the whole pre-season has gone well. We have got a really good committed group of players."

Ilkley kickoff their 2020/21 campaign by hosting Huddersfield Amateur on Saturday.