Ilkley Town 5 Sherburn 2
The groundsman and staff at Ben Rhydding produced a playing surface that still looked immaculate at the end of the 90 minutes despite the West Yorkshire League Division One game having been in doubt on Saturday morning.
It was a blustery day but Ilkley, with the advantage of the wind, started well and were ahead within four minutes.
Ben Greenhow picked the ball up on the right and drove in field, going past three players before unleashing a thunderbolt which rebounded off the underside of the bar and into the roof of the net.
From here Ilkley became sloppy in their play andgave the ball away cheaply.
After 12 minutes Ilkley failed to press the ball in midfield and the Sherburn right winger found space to whip in a cross that was turned in.
This seemed to add urgency to Ilkley whose level of intensity increased and resulted in a smooth passage of play after 22 minutes.
A neat interchange of passes saw Danny Henderson in space on the edge of the penalty area and he found the net with a sweetly struck shot.
For the next 20 minutes the game became a battle of the elements as both teams struggled to find any sort of rhythm.
After 41 minutes Ilkley won a free kick which was swung in high to the back post where Ben Dexter headed back across the goal and with the goalkeeper in no-man’s land, Darren Munday had the simplest of tasks in making it 3-1.
The scoreline was to improve further before the break as good work from Henderson down the right, saw his cross turned in by the thigh of Damien Smith.
There is no doubt Ilkley had more quality but the scoreline flattered them and improvement was required in the second half as they played into the wind.
Ilkley were much more competitive after the break, and played better football throughout.
However, as Ilkley do far too often, they allowed Sherburn back into the game with another sweet strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Ilkley didn’t panic and they continued to compete and try to play.
This approach was rewarded after 68 minutes as man of the match Greenhow made it 5-2 after a great run and unselfish pass from Henderson.
From here Ilkley looked comfortable and cruised to their 13th win of the season.
With only three games surviving the weather Ilkley have climbed into second place but they know there are some tough games lying ahead for them, like Saturday’s trip to Stanley.