Oakworth Juniors u11s 2 (won on sudden death penalties)

Ilkley Juniors u11s 2

OAKWORTH Juniors claimed the Under-11s Craven League Cup following a sudden death penalty shoot-out.

Both teams had been neck and neck over the last couple of seasons, although Ilkley had got the better of Oakworth in their previous two meetings this season.

A good-sized crowd had assembled early to witness what was regarded to be a mouth-watering affair and they were not left disappointed.

Ilkley started the brighter of the two teams, taking control early and quickly penetrating through the Oakworth ranks with their fast-paced intelligent football they are renowned for.

Oakworth soon rallied back, though, and after the first 10 minutes began to get hold of the ball and controlled the pace of the game.

Against the run of play a quick break down the left-hand side saw Ilkley take the first goal, a nicely-taken finish that just evaded Isaqq Ali in goal for Oakworth.

This seemed to kick Oakworth up a gear and soon they were back on level terms. Sublime footwork from James Martin enabled him to pick out Rayden Smith in space on the far edge of the box, who in turn squared a lovely ball to Lewis Ough. He took the shot immediately from the centre edge of the box, the ball curling away from the Ilkley keeper and into the bottom corner of the net.

Oakworth, in a period of domination, continued to press Ilkley and were soon rewarded with a second.

A precise out-swinging pass across the box from Joe Sunley found Riley Collier at the back post for a quality finish with his head.

Shortly before the break Ilkley had the ball in the net again but they were adjudged to be offside.

The second half turned out to be a completely different affair to the first, with neither team having many clear-cut challenges.

Resolute defending by the strong Eli Henson and Jake Blacka as well as a solid performance in midfield from Daniel Colhoun ensured Ilkley couldn’t break through.

With tireless work from the skilful Jack Judson coming to no avail, Oakworth thought they were going to win by the smallest of margins.

As cruel as football can be Ilkley scored a last-minute equaliser. A break down the left started by the sublime Arthur Chew was tucked away making the final result 2-2.

As extra-time was not permitted, a penalty shoot-out was the only way to decide the outcome.

Step forward Ali. The charismatic Oakworth keeper saving two penalties to take the tie to sudden death, then stepping up to score the sixth penalty before going back in between the sticks to save Ilkley's sixth penalty and claim the trophy for Oakworth.

An emotional day for Oakworth as they were saying goodbye to their inspirational defender Jake Blacka in his last game for the team, and a fitting tribute from the captain Lewis Ough to let Blacka lift the trophy with him.