Transition going well as Ilkley produce nap hand

Toby Harris of Ilkley scores
Toby Harris of Ilkley scores
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Five straight wins have put Ilkley Town among the early pace-setters in the Premier Division.

Five straight wins have put Ilkley Town among the early pace-setters in the Premier Division.

After their fifth-place finish last season, manager Simon Armstrong is delighted with how his side have begun the new campaign. He said: “To get 16 points from our first seven games is an improvement on last season.

“We were going into the unknown, with players leaving and around seven or eight coming in. It has been a transition, and it’s always difficult to tell how the players will gel.

“After just one point from our first two games, we kicked on and recorded five straight wins, scoring 17 goals and conceding five, so I’m really happy with the start.”

Last season, Ilkley’s campaign stalled after Christmas as they fell away from the title picture, but Armstrong believes this season will not see a repeat.

“I think this is the strongest squad we have had during my time in charge. It has a lot more depth as well which is important because a lot of the issues last season came through injuries. At one point, we had seven under-21 players in the first team, which was a steep learning curve for them at this level.

“This time around, the squad is definitely better equipped to cope with the demands.”

Ilkley began the week how they ended it following a 3-1 win over Rawdon Old Boys with Richard Bull, Tom Fleming and Matt Whitehead, earning the three points.

The weekend trip to Beeston posed a tough test for Town, however, with Beeston also victorious in midweek with a 1-0 win over Robin Hood Athletic.

It would be Ilkley, however, who grabbed their second win of the week, with Fleming on target again for a 1-0 victory.

That defeat proved a huge blow for Beeston early in the campaign, with last season’s runners-up and sure to be challengers again Leeds City, maintaining their unbeaten start to this season.

A dominant 4-0 win over Knaresborough Town Reserves, with Charles Lumley, Joseph Liddell, Luke Norman and Joe Tasker on target, was followed by a 1-1 draw at Wyke Wanderers, giving them a one-point lead in the early West Yorkshire Premier table.

The 2017-18 champions have made a promising start to the Premier Division season.

After suffering their first defeat of the season in a 3-1 loss to Whitkirk, they recovered well to beat Field 4-1 on Saturday.

Promoted Whitkirk have needed no time to adjust to their new surroundings, after they followed up victory over Carlton with a 1-0 triumph over Rawdon, to remain undefeated.

Headingley picked up their first win of the season in a 2-1 victory over Sherburn White Rose, before suffering a 2-1 loss to Salts come the weekend.

Salts defeated Wyke Wanderers 3-2 earlier in the week, meaning they had their first two wins of the season to ease the early pressure on the 
side who transferred from the West Riding County Amateur League.

Sherburn are down to 12th after they suffered their second defeat of the week, going down 3-2 to Robin Hood.

Huddersfield Amateur played out a 1-1 draw with Field, before losing 1-0 at Horbury on Saturday. Hunslet are up to sixth after a 2-1 win over Horbury, before beating Knaresborough by the same score.

l ALWOODLEY began the new Yorkshire Amateur League season with a bang with a 5-1 victory at home to Ealandians as Callum Armstrong cracked in a hat-trick.

Alwoodley were also on the mark through Cori Hendrickson and Chris Meake with David Kerr consoling the visitors.

Drighlington began the defence of their title in perfect style with a 3-1 triumph at Grangefield Old Boys as Harvey Booth, George Kovacs and Shane Sowden netted a goal each. Last season’s runners- up Stanley United suffered an opening-day 3-2 reverse at home to Wibsey who were led by a Lee Smith brace in addition to an Ethan Labad strike. Goals from Ashley Munton and Rhys Bruce were not enough for Stanley.

Leeds Medics & Dentists drew 2-2 at Stanningley Old Boys who trailed 2-0 to strikes from Jean-Marc Ekegue and Brad Chambers. Tom Stewart and James Allen hit back for Medics. Farsley Celtic Juniors – fifth last season – eased to an opening-weekend 5-1 triumph at Athletico. Louis Surtees bagged a brace for Farsley who also netted through Lee Ransom, Joe Firth and a 30-yard cracker from Dave Walker.

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JAMES ALLAN bagged an opening weekend four-timer as newly-promoted New Pudsey began the new Leeds Combination League season with an 8-1 romp at New Armley in the Jubilee Premier, writes JOHN MCNAMARA.

Allan’s four-goal haul was supported by a brace from John Mallinson plus strikes from Robert Nicholson and Gregg Sergeant with Mark Ferguson consoling the hosts.

Last year’s Jubilee Premier and Senior cup winners Hope Inn Whites got off to the perfect start, hammering Colton 6-1 away from home.

HT Sports are looking to go one better than last season’s runners up spot and started their campaign well with a 3-0 win over Kippax Sundays with Jay Davis, Lee Turner and Ash Crowther grabbing the goals.

Seacroft WMC also began with a victory through a 2-1 verdict at Main Line Social.

In the Premier, Richard Wheelhouse was at it again for Hunslet Club, bagging an opening-day goal in his side’s 3-0 demolition of Swillington Welfare.

The pick of the games came as Harehills WMC lost out 4-2 at home to The Woodcock. David and John Allanson notched for Harehills while Stuart Murrell (2), Timothy Smith and Craig Mullaney scored for The Woodcock. Goals from Ben Wier and Geoff Clarkson cancelled out strikes from Paul Sykes and Lee Fowler as East End Park and Moortown Albion drew 2-2. East Leeds Celtic were hammered 9-1 by Colton in their last game of the season, and they showed some signs of improvement as they lost just 1-0 to league new boys Rodley in their opening fixture.

Kirkstall Crusaders sit top of Division One after Francis Gibson and Connor Flanagan helped them on their way to a 3-0 victory over Northern Star. Matty Hatch took home the match ball as his hat-trick edged Temple to a 3-2 win over Commercial HQ while Jamie Halsall notched a brace for Division One debutants True Brit in their 4-2 win at Bardsey.

In Division Two, West Yorkshire Falcons destroyed Headingley Rovers 5-0 with goals from Charlie Connor, Sam Hitchen, Ivan Atanasov and Joe Egemole (2). Sheepscar sit second after beating Sporting Pudsey Reserves 4-2 with a Dom Blair hat-trick and a Dembnjue Njai strike.

Elsewhere there were 2-1 wins for Bramley Lions and Old Crooked Clock respectively.

Division 3 started poorly for last season’s whipping boys Republica Internationale as they were on the wrong end of a 9-goal thriller against Elford. Zeeshan Raffaz, Khizer Sharif, Abdulla Farrukj (2) and Sami Muhammed scored for Elford.

Going in to the second week of the season, Original Oak lead the way following their 6-0 thrashing of West Leeds. John Hart and James Pascoe both hit braces and Rob Beckett and Matthew Fish completed the scoring.

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League sprang back into action with Wellington Westgate recording the Premier Division’s highest score of the day with a 6-2 win at Cock of the North.

Zak Waddington led the way with a hat-trick for Wellington, who also had Steven Marshall, Tom Brennan and an own goal on the scoresheet.

Kane Hall bagged a brace as Navigation won 3-1 at Hanging Heaton CC. Rob Johnson hit the other with Tom Ramsden hitting the consolation.

Sam Ansell scored for FC Walkers Hounds but they went down 2-1 to Deighton WMC.

Andrew Wojciechowski fired a hat-trick for Clifton Rangers but they lost 5-3 at Roberttown.

In the Championship, Battyeford’s Peter Glover (hat-trick), Levi Ward and Michael Foster netted in a 5-0 win over Clifton Rangers Reserves.

Mount Pleasant had a 4-1 win at Clifton Rangers thanks to a brace from Abdullah Mayet, plus strikes from Muhammad Omar and Ismail Loonat. Martin Wagstaffe hit Clifton’s consolation.

Overthorpe raced into a 3-0 half-time lead at Snowdon thanks to Elliot Brooke (2) and Kristian Angus, but Irfan Ali and Tristran Kennedy scored for the home side to set up a nervy finish.

Ben Roach hit the game’s only goal as Wire Works won 1-0 at home to Ravenswharfe, whilst Dom Riordan hit both goals for St Ignatius in their 2-1 win against Inter Batley.