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Substitute Mark Threlfall strikes late winner for Barnoldswick Town in derby
A late goal from substitute Mark Threlfall enabled Barnoldswick Town to secure a hard-earned and much-needed North West Counties League Premier Division win on Boxing Day.
With Kieran Lee having joined Clitheroe, Town brought in new signing Paul Walker from Padiham.
Light rain was falling when the match kicked off and that made the heavy pitch even more sticky.
Silsden keeper Ed Hall made a great save from a close-range header by Bill Williams in the third minute, but Town weren’t denied for long.
An eighth-minute cross from the lively Joel Melia was met by Aaron Hollindrake on the edge of the six- yard box. Hall, who was diving to his right, was wrong footed as the ball eluded his outstretched left hand.
Silsden responded positively to going behind. They won three corners in succession but the Town defence stood firm.
Melia, who was a constant threat to the Silsden defence, forced Hall into another save at the near post.
Town should have increased their lead after 23 minutes. Hollindrake was put clear into the left of the Silsden penalty area.
Hall raced out of his goal but saw the former Silsden striker shoot past him. The ball hit the top of the post and bounced back into the path of Hollindrake.
His looping cross found Sam Howell whose goalwards header was nodded off the line by full back Matthew Moses.
Silsden’s battling play was rewarded with an equaliser after 35 minutes. Town were caught out after a disputed throw in which James Gill seized upon.
He made ground before producing a pin-point cross which Lee McGowan headed powerfully past Lyle Davy.
Town felt they should have had a penalty when Melia appeared to be held back, but the referee disagreed.
Silsden, who had ended the first half looking dangerous, started well after the break.
Andrew Hill shot just wide from 20 yards and Davy had to race to the edge of his penalty area to take the ball off the feet of Chris Wademan.
On the hour mark a cross from Moses found the head of Wademan on the edge of the Town six-yard box, but his effort went wide.
The hard-working Hollindrake was replaced by Threlfall after 62 minutes while Silsden took off Benjamin Crabtree and introduced Kristian Hargreaves four minutes later.
Town were beginning to dictate the match a little more and Jake McEneaney made a good run down the right which saw Daniel Fagan, under pressure from Threlfall, slice the ball against the top of his own upright.
A further substitution by the home side saw Liam Blades take over from Andrew Pollard with 17 minutes left.
Silsden began pushing forward and a raid down the right saw McGowan force Davy to make a fine save.
Silsden’s last substitution saw the tall Michael Hall replace Wademan in a last bid to win the match.
Play switched from end to end and it was really good advert for local football.
Cavanagh had to be alert to clear another dangerous Moses cross.
Town made their last substitution with eight minutes left as Paul Fildes took over from Melia who had worked hard in the tiring conditions.
Gill shot wide from the edge of the Town penalty area, and a fierce Fildes cross was cut out at the near post by Moses with Threlfall waiting for a tap in goal. The decisive goal came for Town with five minutes left. A cross into the Silsden penalty area was swiftly brought under control by Threlfall who moved forward a couple of paces before giving Hall no chance.
With the match just moving into injury time Fildes should have made the points safe.
A great pass by Connor Smith put him through one on one with Hall in the Silsden goal.
The Town joint-manager appeared to be in two minds and shot straight at Hall who saved easily.
Town finally got the win their play over the past three weeks has deserved, and with new-boy Walker looking solid, they are hopeful of brighter times ahead in 2014.
Their first game of the new year is away to Glossop North End, while Silsden are at home to Ashton Athletic. Both will be hoping to pick up wins which will give them heart for the tests that lie ahead.
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