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Town find dry pitch a lottery
8:32am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
Sherburn White Rose 0 Ilkley Town 0
This was one of those games that was instantly forgettable as both sides struggled to cope on a poor-quality pitch that was surprisingly dry, lacked grass and was pitted with stud marks from previous matches.
As a consequence, the ball bobbled around making control very difficult and encouraging players to put it into the other team’s half and scrap for possession.
Ilkley Town gave league debuts to three players progressing through the reserves as a spate of injuries and unavailability saw seven regular squad members out of action.
Young centre-forward Adam Fowler was joined by former Burley Trojans full-back Ed Bryan and ex-Middles- brough academy player Matt Carnelly, who is studying for a degree at Leeds Carnegie.
All three players acquitted themselves well in very challenging circumstances and Bryan was at the centre of the key talking point of the first half, when he stole ahead of his marker in the penalty-area and was clearly clipped from behind as he aimed to shoot.
In the middle of midfield this would have been a routine free-kick but in the penalty-area different interpretations seem to apply and the referee waved play-on.
Beyond this incident, neither side fashioned any clear-cut openings although Ilkley ‘keeper James Hirst saw more action as Sherburn’s Connor hurled long throws in the penalty-area at every opportunity.
The second-half followed the pattern of the first with the both teams working hard but finding passing moves difficult to generate due to the vagaries of the bounce.
Hirst saved well when Dixon spun past Daz Munday on the edge of the box. He spread himself to block the shot.
Sherburn’s main weapon was the long throw and Ilkley dealt well with this aerial challenge and gradually James Winward and Sam Dexter found more time and space in midfield to push the ball forward with more purpose.
Fowler was a handful and showed some neat touches and welcomed the introduction of Andy Bloom as his strike partner as Ilkley attempted a more direct approach in the final 20 minutes.
The change almost reaped dividends when two crosses from Dexter found Bloom who couldn’t direct his first header on target but then forced Hudson into a finger-tip save with another header.
On Saturday, Ilkley Town are in league action at Ben Rhydding against Swillington Saints (KO 2.30pm).