Silsden 2 Ashton Athletic 1

SILSDEN maintained their position in the Premier Division’s top four after a hard-fought game.

The Cobbydalers took the lead in the first minute with a quality goal. Josh Brown won the ball up the left and slid it to Zack Dale, who broke from halfway before drilling a ball though the Athletic defence.

Craig Nicholls was on to it in a flash, drawing the Ashton keeper before coolly curling the ball round him, and five minutes later Nicholls was denied a second following a similar move.

Dale drove the ball to Dale Feather, who split the defence with a perfect through pass, but Nicholls was offside. Athletic began to apply pressure and the Cobbydalers struggled to clear the ball against a strong wind.

The visitors’ equaliser was initially down to poor decision-making. Feather, on the left and facing his own goal, hit a high ball back to Kevin Ryan, who was put under pressure and lost out to Dean Midgeley.

He crossed to Michael Downing, who drove the ball across the face of Danny Thorpe, who got a hand to it but could not keep it out.

Silsden had only posed the odd threat in the first half but came out with the wind at their backs for the second half.

However, the visitors created chances against the elements before Silsden gained some control, Nicholls again proving the main threat.

He tormented the home defence down the right and Joe Jalil, on for Brown, drove a low cross to the near post, Jason Foulds managing to push it clear but only after it had crossed the line.

A minute later, Feather had a one-on-one with the Ashton keeper but his shot was well saved.

Ten minutes from time, Athletic’s Adam Howard shot wide of the far post and Matty Moses cleared Daniel Regan’s effort over his bar.

Silsden counter-attacked and a series of corners followed. They looked to have weathered the storm but, in the third minute of injury time, the visitors broke from left back, moving the ball to the right and up the wing where Reagan crossed for Midgeley, who shot wide.

A draw might have been fair, and it hadn’t been vintage Silsden, but it was another victory.

This time last year, Silsden might have succumbed to the pressure but there is more resilience about the Cobbydalers now.

Last Wednesday, Silsden broke a barren run against visitors Colne that stretched back to September 2010 when they beat them 1-0.

The only goal came after 11 minutes with Silsden’s sole shot on target, the ball being worked up the right and across the Colne box by Joe Mitchell and Feather to Nicholls, who drove it past former Cobbydaler Chris Thompson.