Pool AFC 1 Ilkley Town 0
Last season’s beaten finalists Ilkley Town were left ruing missed chances as they bowed out of the Wharfedale FA Challenge Cup.
Town created a string of scoring opportunities but could not beat Pool’s impressive keeper Andrew Caine.
He was the man who ensured that his side progressed to the semi-finals where they will play Bramhope who defeated Rawdon Old Boys 2-1 with goals by Joseph Walsh and Andrew Dutton.
Town made a fine start against their rivals from the West Yorkshire Premier Division, with Danny Henderson cutting across the penalty-area and firing in a low shot which was deflected for a corner by the outstretched leg of Caine.
Shortly afterwards a series of sharp passes saw Henderson play Liam Blenkhorn through on goal and once again Caine spread himself to save at point-bank range.
A free-kick from Pool brought a splendid leaping save from Ilkley keeper Ed Bullock who then saved competently at the near-post from Joshua Waite after a breakaway.
Town’s Damian Smith wriggled free on the right and saw his shot blocked while Blenkhorn’s volley struck team-mate Danny Bott.
The pressure was increasing and Blenkhorn’s close-range shot after Caine parried a Henderson effort brought a second reflex-save from the overworked Caine.
Somehow the score remained 0-0 at half-time and Pool showed more determination in the opening period of the second-half with Bullock making another diving save to tip away a fierce drive from outside the penalty-area.
Minutes later, Ilkley should have opened the scoring when yet more pressure caused chaos in the Pool defence. Caine’s parry from Ross Hutchison’s shot fell kindly for Bott who sidefooted the ball past Caine only to see full-back Michael Jordan make an extraordinary block at full-stretch in mid-air from behind the keeper.
From the corner, Bloom’s shot was deflected over the bar from close range and Smith seemed destined to score from five-yards after another Caine save but Carroll made a brave block.
The decisive goal came when the otherwise excellent Darren Munday allowed Sam McCaffrey space from a corner and the Pool player stooped to head the ball past Bullock.
Town threw more players forward to seek an equaliser and this allowed Pool more opportunities to break.
This was a hard defeat to stomach for Ilkley Town. They return to league action on Saturday against FC RIASA at Ben Rhydding (2pm)