Keighley FA Challenge Cup final: Oxenhope Rec 2 Silsden Whitestar 3 (after extra time)

SILSDEN Whitestar claimed their first ever Keighley Cup by defeating the holders in a thriller that included a penalty save, two red cards and a controversial match-winning spot-kick.

A good crowd turned out at Silsden FC's ground to see Whitestar’s more experienced and physical side take on a young Oxenhope outfit that included seven under-19s.

Whitestar started the stronger, with Andrew McNulty and Gavin Shearer having much of the play in the middle of the park.

However, the holders – who were aiming to the lift the trophy for the fourth successive season – came into the game and took the lead on the half-hour mark. Dan Moriarty whipped in a corner and, as the ball bounced around in the box, young Tom Baker flicked home at the near post.

The holders now played with confidence and five minutes later they doubled their advantage. Scott Nelson headed another well-flighted corner into the path of Baker, who produced another clinical strike for his second.

Rec continued to press as Owen Williamson weaved his way down the left. His measured cross was met by Joel Gallagher, who shot narrowly wide.

Whitestar got back in the game when a break down the middle from their man of the match Mateusz Tomas put in Sam Stanfield to clinically slot past Oxenhope keeper Nick Hudson.

And in the final minute of the half, Silsden had a great chance to level when they were awarded a penalty after Ben White was judged to have handled in the box. However, the resulting spot-kick from Shearer was saved by Hudson.

Whitestar reverted to 4-4-2 in the second period, which helped close gaps and brought youngsters James Wilson and Josh McNulty more into the game.

The ever-willing Williamson broke through on goal for Rec but brought a smart one-handed save from Whitestar’s keeper Danny Thorpe.

On the hour-mark Oxenhope were reduced to ten men when the referee judged young defender Dan Scott's challenge to be worthy of a straight red card. Silsden used the man advantage to their favour, pinning Oxenhope back as they drove forward for the equaliser.

The holders defended manfully, led by their man of the match Nelson, who was in commanding form at the heart of the defence supported by Keann Shaw, Matty Wilson and Lewis Hopkinson.

But on 80 minutes the pressure told. Whitestar produced the move of the match when JJ Berry set off from his own half, passed three players and exchanged a one-two with Stanfield before blasting home to make it 2-2.

Silsden were now in full cry but a mistimed tackle by Shearer saw them reduced to ten men too.

The match went into extra time and, with both sides having given their all, players went down with cramp at regular intervals.

Substitutes Zac Conway, Ben Geary and Jamie Longley produced fresh impetus from the bench for Silsden, who had the best of the first period, with Hudson pulling off a superb save from an attempted overhead kick.

In the second period, Oxenhope came back and carried a greater threat. Whitestar went down to nine men as stalwart Stuart Parkin was carried off with a suspected broken collar bone.

Peter Hanson and keeper Thorpe made some terrific blocks as Rec pushed for the winner but Whitestar held firm.

It appeared the tie was heading towards a penalty shoot-out, when Silsden were awarded a second spot-kick after a challenge from Wilson, which Rec felt had been a clean tackle.

Longley made no mistake from the spot and Whitestar held on to triumph, much to the delight of their fans, who invaded the pitch at the end to celebrate.

Whitestar boss Gary Lund said: "It was a great atmosphere. I'm very proud to have won the cup as a player and now a manager."