A goal in added time by John Large gave Rangers a draw against Ilkley Town Reserves, but it was a performance that didn’t please Manager Kris Macdonald.
On by far the best surface in West Yorkshire, Rangers failed to produce their usual high-quality passing game, however for sheer determination and never-say-die spirit, it would be hard to fault Macdonald’s men in the slightest!
The match started in terrible conditions with the rain coming down in droves and a strong wind making control difficult for both sides. Rangers tried to free Sam Straker down the right, but he was out-muscled by Ilkley’s left back. The hosts then fashioned their own opening chance when a shot from distance nestled into the midriff of keeper Lewis Mallinson.
A lovely up and over by Vito D’Avanzo gave Craig Hall a sniff of a goal, but the pace of the pass was too great, and Ilkley’s keeper came out to claim.
A blatant foul on Daley Johnson allowed Chris Plews to whip in a free kick that carried over everyone’s head. Moments later, another Plews freekick, this time in a more central area, was tipped over by the keeper. From the corner, the wind caught hold of the ball and for a moment looked like it was going in, but another save from the keeper denied Plews.
Ilkley penned Rangers back and following some good play around the area, the ball was eventually fired past Mallinson, via the crossbar and a bounce straight back down which spun into the net, to open the scoring on 9 minutes.
Plews nearly evened up the scores when a good run took him past several Ilkley tackles, however as he tried to slip D’Avanzo in, he put too much power on the pass and the keeper scooped the ball up.
A terrible back-pass put Ilkley’s custodian under pressure and his hurried clearance fell to Brad Spencer. Having to shoot on the turn, Spencer watched as his low shot was saved by the keeper’s legs.
Both teams created half chances, but it was Ilkley who were passing the ball around with more authority and confidence. A through ball saw a clever cut back and shot by Ilkley that crashed into the wire fencing behind Mallinson’s goal.
Spencer, who was seeing a lot of the ball lost out in a foot race with the keeper after being put through by Plews, and minutes later John Large headed over from close range.
It was all square in the 28th minute when Spencer latched onto a ball from midfield and delivered a low cross into the area which D’Avanzo side-footed past the keeper.
The goal only momentarily stunned the hosts and when they regained their composure, a driving run and pass into the area needed Michael Tasker to clear under pressure.
Ilkley regained the lead in the 39th minute with a goal that had a hint of good fortune about it when the original shot, which was well saved by Mallinson, fell right back at the Ilkley player’s feet and he powered home.
Half Time: Ilkley Town Reserves 2 v 1 Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves
It was Rangers who produced the first meaningful attack of the second half when Spencer went for a good run down the left wing and forced a corner, however the resultant set piece was cleared at the first attempt.
Alex Wooler was proving to be difficult to beat on the left and between him and Large, they managed to dispossess Ilkley’s tall striker as he tried to go between them. Minutes later, Hall’s defending forced Ilkley back on the other flank and their long shot was collected low down by Mallinson.
Despite the hard work of Rich Jenner, Johnson and Plews in the middle. Ilkley were producing some lovely one touch football, and one such move culminated in a back-heel that stopped in the path of a player whose shot just curled just round the post.
A clever pass through the legs of an Ilkley midfielder by Plews freed Spencer, but despite turning on the afterburners, he couldn’t beat the keeper who had also raced from his line to clear the ball.
The Ilkley custodian was having a fine match and twice came to the rescue when his punch removed the danger from Straker’s head after a wonderful turn and cross by Jenner, he then produced a good save when he got his hand to a stinging shot by Spencer from outside the area to push it over the bar.
Mallinson was also having a great game for Rangers and getting his angles correct he beat away a low shot from just inside the area. Soon after, he had to do the same again, but this time the keeper stayed down for a while after taking a knock.
Ilkley thought that they had sealed the game in the 75th minute when a long ball caught Deighton out. The first shot was well saved by Mallinson, but the ball was pulled back to a player outside the area and his long low shot flashed into the net.
It was all Ilkley by this point and Mallinson had to be alert again when he punched the ball out from nearly underneath his own crossbar.
In the 85th minute, Rangers pulled a goal back through substitute Danny Gore, when he dribbled into the area and released a fierce shot that flew past the keeper.
The goal had an immediate dual effect as Ilkley’s heads inexplicably dropped and Deighton’s rose. Suddenly it was the blue shirts pressing and pushing their opponents back and it was amazing scenes in the second minute of added on time when Large reacted first to substitute Ross Park's high ball into the area and despite his shot taking a nick of the covering defender, it looped over the keeper who had ventured too far forward and into the net!
Ilkley piled forward to gain the winner in the final moments, but a clumsy tackle on Spencer just near the corner flag saw the ball thumped up the pitch just as the final whistle went.
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Mallinson, Hall, Wooler, Tasker, Large, Jenner (McCartney 86), Johnson, Plews, Straker (Park 80), D’Avanzo (Gore 72). Unused: Flynn, Williams
Goals: D’Avanzo (28), Gore (85), Large (90+2)
Yellow Cards: Kirk Deighton Rangers - Plews (Dissent), Tasker (Foul) Ilkley Town – 1 player (Foul)
Red Cards: Kirk Deighton Rangers – None Ilkley Town – None
Referee: Mr. Mike Stoddart.
Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves Man of the Match (chosen by Manager Kris Macdonald): A superb performance between the sticks, with several great saves saw Lewis Mallinson awarded this accolade.