By Jamie Woodhouse
It was goals galore at Weetwood Playing Fields, as a flurry of late goals helped Ilkley to a 5-3 pre-season victory over NCEL Division One side Glasshoughton Welfare.
A brace from Charlie Sykes and Lee Spires followed by a close range finish from Harry Higgins showed off town’s firepower, as they showed just how capable the team is, going up against higher calibure opposition.
Both sides went on the attack from the start, with the first major chance falling to Ilkley on the 16th minute. An excellent through-ball from Danny Bott put Sykes one-on-one with the keeper, but the defence recovered well to block his effort and keep the game goalless.
The game would continue to swing in the favour of town, with Sykes coming dangerously close again to breaking the deadlock, narrowly failing to connect with Spires’ cross into the box.
Glasshoughton would however soon show their proficiency on the counter-attack, as Ash Scorthen finished a blistering team counter on the 32nd minute, to give his side the lead, against the run of play.
Ilkley would strike back quickly. This time Spires’ cross fell perfectly to the feet of Sykes, who slotted the ball home to level the scores. Keeper Alex Wormall would pull off a magnificent save to keep the score at 1-1 on the brink of half-time.
A fired up Ilkley came out after the break and needed just three minutes to take the lead. With his first touch of the game, subsitute Joe Hendrie floated the ball in from the right flank, with Spires’ there to meet the cross and put the host’s in the lead.
The counter attack would be Ilkley’s undoing once again minutes later, with a scrambled Ilkley defence powerless to stop the charging Glasshoughton strikeforce. Higgins appeared to have the last touch, turning the ball into his own net.
A defensive mix-up between Darren Munday and Wormall allowed Glasshoughton to quickly move ahead 3-2, with Scorthen grabbing his 2nd goal of the game.
Just as things were beginning to look bleak for Ilkley, three goals in two minutes launched town to a sensational 5-3 win, strikes from Sykes, Spires and a neat finish from Higgins wrapping up the game.
Two goals for Sykes on just his 2nd game back for Ilkley certainly impressed manager Simon Armstrong. Reflecting on his performance, Sykes said: “It’s only pre-season, but I’m really happy with the two goals, I’ve been keeping on top of my fitness at university.”
“I don’t know much about the teams in this division, so I just have to be ready when the season starts on 12th August.”
There is plenty more pre-season action for town to get through before the season kicks-off, with a trip to Silsden next up on 20th July.