By Jamie Woodhouse
Despite being reduced to nine men, Ilkley eased to a comfortable 4-1 league cup victory over Brighouse Old Boys.
Goals from Lee Spires, Adam Davey and an Adam Fowler double gave the hosts the honours. Ilkley were gifted the lead on the 8th minute. A defensive error put Fowler one on one with the keeper, who curled the ball off the outside of his boot into the bottom corner.
Town doubled their lead on the 20th minute, Lee Spires’ long range free kick catching the wind and looping over George Clark in the Brighouse goal.
Brighouse quickly pulled one back from a corner, the ball bobbling through the six yard box. Luke Hammond was there to tap the ball home.
Ilkley’s nerves were dealt a further blow on the 51st minute when keeper Matt Hawkes was sent off after clattering into Richard Heins on the edge of the 18 yard box. Harry Higgins would take over in goal.
Just five minutes later Town would regain control as Fowler made it 3-1, getting the final touch in a goalmouth scramble to force the ball over the line.
The game would then turn ugly as Ilkley’s Danny Bott saw red for a brutal sliding tackle on Brighouse’s Danny Williams. Williams would then also see red for pinning Bott to the ground in retaliation.
Even with nine men, Ilkley continued to look dangerous and grabbed a fourth goal on the 68th minute. Davey’s shot from long range caught another favour from the wind for Town, as his shot floated over a stranded Clark into the net.
Joint first team manager Greg Beswick said: “It was a great game full of action, but it was a great performance from us.
“When you have a game like that with things that come into it which you can’t prepare for, like red cards and your keeper getting sent off, it brings out the character in the players and I think today they showed they have good character.”
This is the first time in Ilkley’s history that they have reached the league cup quarterfinals.
Reflecting on the achievement, chairman Richard Giles said: “It’s another little bit of history for us. We’ve won the Wharfedale Cup three times in the last four years – that was a milestone along the way and getting promoted to the West Yorkshire Premier League, that was another milestone and now we’re making progress in the league cup.
“It’s all a sign that we are making the right steps forward and I’m pleased for Greg and the players so it would be nice to keep on going in this competition.”