Ilkley Town 5

East End Park 0

FIVE goals by Tom Smith saw Ilkley Town advance to the next round of the West Yorkshire League Cup.

On a freezing cold Saturday afternoon, Ilkley Town dominated East End Park in the cup match and they were rewarded with a resounding five-goal victory.

It was immediately apparent that these two teams were in separate divisions as Ilkley showed great determination to challenge for every loose ball, whilst they played through the thirds at every possible opportunity.

However, the visitors managed to keep themselves in the game, thanks to countless saves by goalkeeper Dave Robertson.

Eventually, Ilkley’s sustained pressure paid dividends, with Simon Armstrong’s men breaking the deadlock in the 40th minute, when striker Tom Smith found himself unmarked from roughly 20 yards out.

Once he controlled the ball, he looped it effortlessly over the stranded East End keeper, showing perfect precision as it nestled in the top left corner.

This was just the morale boost that Ilkley Town needed, and they carried this confidence into the second half, as only five minutes in Smith bagged a second goal; a through ball was threaded into the path of Alfie Heaton, who displayed excellent speed and strength to reach it before both oncoming defenders.

From the byline, he dragged the ball back towards the six-yard box where Smith was positioned. Smith could’ve simply tapped the ball home, but instead he cheekily back heeled it onto the post and in.

This second goal appeared to deflate the visitors, who had so far put in a respectable performance, considering they are in the division below.

James Nightingale produced a superb run to beat three defenders and sent a powerful shot towards the goal, only to be denied by the crossbar.

In the 65th minute, Smith completed his hat-trick following a rocketing shot by Heaton, which goalkeeper Robertson could only clear as far as Smith, who calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.

Only five minutes later, Heaton once again raced down the right flank and played an exquisite low cross beyond the defence, which Smith deftly controlled before sending the keeper the wrong way, to add a fourth goal to his tally.

Ilkley continued to play with more purpose and flair, as substitute Ben Greenhow attempted an audacious chip, which was barely inches over the bar.

Just before the final whistle, Smith added an unprecedented fifth goal, rounding the keeper and scoring his 21st goal of the season in only 17 games.

Ilkley have now won five out of five games in the cups and they have three of the top four goal scorers in the West Yorkshire League, with Smith on 21 goals, Harry Brown on 12 goals, and Tom Fleming on 11 goals.