Ilkley Youth...........1

After last week's disappointing performance, the prospect of a trip to face championship contenders Waddington posed a stern challenge to the Guyson sponsored Ilkley Juniors Youth quest for promotion.

With Beaumont and Keith absent from the team that defeated Waddington two weeks ago, Ilkley Youth welcomed back Simon Selvon for his first game after a five month absence through injury and Nik Stone for only his third game of the season.

On a poor playing surface and against opponents determined to gain revenge for the earlier defeat, Ilkley Youth made a cautious start. Defending deep, Ilkley Youth conceded midfield space to Waddington, and Paul Rishworth and Tim McTigue found it difficult to gain possession and prompt attacks.

However, wide-players Stewart and Wheeler worked hard to find space and crosses by both players caused mild panic in the home defence. With Martin battling for every loose ball and Bedford showing greater determination, Ilkley Youth forced a series of corners and Dixon just failed to convert half-chances when escaping his markers in the penalty area.

Firstly, a header went wide and then he just failed to stab the ball into the net at the far post. Soon after, Stewart was crudely hacked down from behind but the referee decided a penalty was uncalled for, after which he seemed to spend the afternoon responding to the loudest shouts.

Waddington looked dangerous on the break with Parsons and Sutcliffe being a persistent threat, and Ilkley goalkeeper Peter Taylor reacted smartly to gather a long through ball before being thankful to see a long range shot fly over the bar. He was, however, helpless when the ball bounced cruelly and struck Dixon on the hand in the penalty area when no danger threatened and the referee awarded a penalty.

A harsh decision but in keeping with a referee who was conspicuous by his abstinence when substantial decisions had to be made.

The penalty was converted to give Waddington a fortunate lead and Taylor had to make an excellent point blank save from Sutcliffe with

Ilkley defenders appealing forlornly for another obvious infringement.

A lesson about playing to the whistle but also of the vagaries of refereeing at this level.

The game was evenly poised at the beginning of the second-half as Waddington sought to protect a 1-0 lead and Ilkley Youth's league leadership was under threat.

The determination shown by the Ilkley Youth team in the second-half spoke volumes for the spirit amongst the players and was a reward for the large contingent of supporters who had travelled to Waddington.

After an even first ten minutes, the Ilkley defence of Joe McTigue, Dixon, Houlston and Stone set a competitive example that inspired the rest of the team.

As these defenders dominated the increasingly isolated Waddington forwards, Rishworth and Tim McTigue began to win the midfield battle and enable wide players Wheeler and Stewart to torture tiring full-backs.

Bedford, Stewart and Martin had narrow angle shots saved by the Waddington 'keeper and successive corners by Wheeler increased the pressure on a wilting home defence.

Martin battled for every ball and it was justice when Andy Bedford won possession of a Stone pass in the penalty-area and held off a challenge before crossing to the near post where Stewart pounced ahead of the 'keeper to flick the ball into the net for a deserved equaliser. After conceding a goal soon after scoring in last week's game, Ilkley Youth players showed determination by maintaining the territorial domination against a team that was becoming increasingly ragged and finding it difficult to keep possession of the ball.

Tim McTigue and captain Rishworth began to control midfield, with young McTigue having an excellent second-half, and Joe McTigue and Stone were able to push forward from full-back.

A determined run by Stone saw his 25-yard shot fly just over the bar, before McTigue's long diagonal pass almost set Bedford through. To maintain the pressure, Graham Richardson and Selvon joined the fray and almost combined to win the game for Ilkley Youth.

Battling for possession on the left, Richardson drove in a low cross and

Selvon stole in front of his marker to make solid contact with the ball only to see it rise over the bar.

This would have been a fitting end to Simon's first game back since sustaining a serious injury in November.

David Stewart gained the man-of-the-match award for another rubbery performance, and the McTigue brothers and Richard Martin had good games for Ilkley Youth.

It was also pleasing to see Peter Taylor return to form and his first-half save made a significant contribution to the result of the game.

l On Thursday Ilkley Youth travel to Hellifield (KO 6.30pm) and then play hosts to the same team on Saturday (KO 2.30pm).

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