On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, Ilkley Town AFC showed their class to put eight goals past Hessle Sporting Club, writes Matthew Lambe.
The Baht’atters could not’ve asked for a better opening, as Tom Smith broke the deadlock only three minutes in. After cutting inside, Smith found himself on the edge of the area, before firing his shot into the bottom right corner.
Only eight minutes later, Ilkley doubled their lead through Harry Brown, who powerfully struck a long range attempt. The ball flew towards the top corner, giving the hosts a two goal cushion with only 11 minutes played.
Ilkley continued to pile the pressure on Hessle, with Matt Whitehead and Smith almost finding the back of the net.
Even with Ilkley’s performance, goalkeeper Tim Edney still had work to do in order to preserve their clean sheet. He dived down low to capitalise on a heavy touch from the opposition striker after their number nine was through on goal.
In the 42nd minute, Smith bagged his brace after a defensive lapse in concentration from the visitors. Hessle’s defence deemed Smith to be offside and therefore didn’t close him down, but the ref continued play, leaving Smith one on one. He tapped the ball home after rounding the keeper, doubling his tally and giving Ilkley a third on the stroke of half time.
Despite being three goals up within the first 45 minutes, the hosts were keen to start the second half in a similar fashion, and were rewarded with a fourth goal in the 54th minute.
After a through ball slipped between Hessle’s defenders, Brown was in on goal, and made no mistake as he tucked his shot past the keeper, registering his second goal of the game.
The goals were coming thick and fast now: barely five minutes later Brown completed his hat-trick.
An inch perfect through ball from George Gomersall put Brown in the optimum place, and he deftly chipped the ball into the net for Ilkley’s fifth.
Gomersall was keen to get a goal of his own, and came tantalisingly close as his powerful shot ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar and bounced back into the box, barely centimetres from scoring.
In the 82nd minute, Gomersall managed to get his name on the scoresheet after beating the keeper at his near post, making it six goals for a rampaging Ilkley side.
Only two minutes later Gomersall added a seventh for the Baht’atters. He chased a tremendous through ball from Smith and beat all defenders for pace, finding himself through on goal once again. Gomersall tactically delayed his attempt, waiting to find the perfect angle before shooting; this paid off and he was able to slot the ball home, making the scoreline a staggering 7-0.
However, Ilkley weren’t finished there. Tom Fleming joined the list of goalscorers after receiving the ball from a Gomersall free-kick, before blasting a pinpoint accurate shot into the bottom right corner.
Determined to retain Ilkley’s clean sheet, substitute keeper Dan Bramham made an excellent save to deny the opposition a consolation goal with only seconds to go.
This was a dominant performance from a highly competitive Ilkley side, and they will take great confidence from both their solid defence and clinical attack.