Ilkley 0

Thirsk 0

ILKLEY AFC should have bagged all three points from this game against Thirsk. But again poor finishing and three goal line clearances denied the Ilkley win.

For the first time this season the Ilkley manager had a full strength squad to choose from and it included two new signings in Richard Giles and Paul Stamp. Giles slotted into a five-man midfield for Ilkley that also included Roberts, Duttine, Forrest and Galasso.

An enterprising move that Matt Long instigated down the left opened up the first sight of goal for the home side. But striker Andy Bloom spooned his shot over. The youngster had done well to find space on the edge of a packed Thirsk penalty box. Thirsk were a step behind early on. Being second to the ball meant they were constantly back pedalling Ilkley though, on a number of occasions were not getting the rub of the green.

Down the other end Paul Foster made a cracking save and David Taylor scrambled the ball away to safety. Both teams were now working hard. Matt Long, who was handed the skipper's role prior to this game, was a leading figure in a three-man defence that also included Paul Lenik and David Taylor for Ilkley. All three were excellent in the air and the distribution of the ball to their midfielders was the difference over recent outings. Sergio Galasso weaved his way through the visitor's defence and when the ball came in no one was there to turn it into an empty net.

The second half produced as many opportunities. Andy Bloom twice saw shots cleared off the line, Forrest grazed the foot of the post while Thirsk broke only to be thwarted again by 'keeper Foster. The only booking of the game was in the 60th minute when a late tackle from defender Paul Lenik gave theSkipton official, Mr D Fryer, his first scalp of the afternoon. This signalled the first substitutions with Forrest and Bloom giving way to Clarke and Buchanan respectfully.

Giles, Roberts and Duttine linked well when a good move down the right saw the ball pulled back for Stockdale to have a crack. His shot whistled agonisingly wide of the upright, when on another day it would have been a bread and butter finish. Ilkley at the moment couldn't buy a winning goal, Lady Luck had deserted them. Confidence, however, is high and they must train harder if they are to bring back that illusive lady.

For Thirsk this was a point gained while Ilkley will see this as points dropped. Match Point went to Paul Foster and Richard Giles with David Taylor and Matt Long also in good form.

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