Pool's last-gasp Wharfedale FA Cup win as Steve Preston's strike sinks Ilkley Town

Steve Preston fires Pool's winning goal Picture: Alex Daniel Photography

James Wilson heads Ilkley's goal. Picture: Alex Daniel Photography

First published in Sport
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Ilkley Town 1 Pool 2

Steve Preston scored a dramatic winning goal in the final seconds of extra-time to win the Wharfedale & District FA Challenge Cup for Pool.

With the weary players of both sides seemingly resigned to a penalty shoot-out, James Carroll set off on a run down the right wing.

He shrugged off a couple of tired Ilkley challenges before squaring the ball to Preston, who with virtually the last kick of the match, fired home to take the match and the cup.

There was no time for holders Ilkley to respond. They were out for the count, floored by the final act of a match at Otley Town’s Old Showfield ground which only really came to life in the final eight minutes.

Both sides had found the combination of high temperatures and a firm pitch hard to combat and the quality of the football suffered.

However, the drama of the last eight minutes will be remembered by Pool and their supporters in the months and years to come.

There was the low of falling behind in the 112th minute when Ilkley’s James Wilson rose to head the ball into the net from a corner.

It looked at that point as if Ilkley would be retaining the trophy for a second season, but Pool weren’t finished.

With a couple of minutes remaining, Pool were awarded a penalty for hand ball which Matthew Doran bravely stepped up to convert.

Then came the last-gasp winner to spark scenes of jubilation for Pool and desolation for their West Yorkshire Division One rivals.

Much of the early play had been scrappy although Grant Bligh did force a fine save from the Ilkley keeper James Hirst right on the stroke of half-time.

At the other end, Pool keeper Andy Caine was brought into action, pulling off a fine save when an Ilkley striker was clear on goal.

Both teams had opportunities to win the match in the second half of normal time, Caine just managing to turn a goalbound shot round the post, then Pool hit the crossbar late on.

Both defences were strong with Temilada Ajimoko, Robert Cross, Carroll and captain Andy Graham outstanding for Pool, as was midfield general and man of the match Jordan Wagstaff.

The entire Pool team worked tirelessly, Sam McCaffrey, Neil Ebdon, Matthew White along with subs. Michael Jordan and Kevin Dennison all making contributions to the victory.

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