Abbey Hey 1

Silsden 2

GOALS from Aidan Kirby and Joe Mitchell sealed a Silsden win over already-relegated Abbey Hey in the Hallmark League Premier Division.

With Abbey Hey having lost their previous seven games, the game seemed set up for a Silsden victory. That said, the Cobbydalers have a mixed record at The Abbey Stadium.

The conditions were not in favour of a classic. The pitch had been rolled on Thursday, but the groundsman acknowledged that it had had no impact at all. The pitch had a reasonable grass cover but the surface was bone-hard and uneven. Along with that was a strong, gusty wind.

Before the game Danny Forrest had told the players that he was going to give some of the new recruits some game-time and established players would be on the bench. Daniel Hill came in at centre-back for Dan Illingworth but he had to be substituted on nine minutes after a heavy fall. Illingworth replaced him.

There was little to write home about in the opening minutes as both sides struggled to maintain possession.

Abbey finally got a shot in on 13 minutes but Adam Barlow’s effort sailed over the bar on the wind.

The Mancunians were indebted to centre-back Ashley Oparah minutes later for heading away a Joe Mitchell free-kick. However Kirby put the Yorkshiremen in front two minutes later after some slick passing in the Abbey penalty area.

Adam Barlow, on the right wing for the Abbey, broke down the touchline, but Josh Kaine snuffed out the danger.

Luca Zuccotti worked hard up-front but he was isolated and defending was fairly routine for the Silsden boys.

Twenty-five minutes in, the sparse crowd saw a glimpse of the beautiful game. Chris Wademan hit a cross-field ball out to the right, where Matty Moses was bursting forwards. His cross was slid into the middle to Kirby but once again the uneven bounce and the wind intervened.

Everingham set up Mitchell but his effort was over the bar.

At the other end Owen Whitehead was denied by Illingworth before another effort cleared the bar.

Josh McKiernon hit a ball out to Mitchell who drove the ball to the far post. Illingworth headed it goalwards, but Ross Heywood gathered it. The keeper then saved from Kirby.

At the other end Brandon Byers-Wilkes drove an effort goalwards. The ball dipped suddenly and Jakovlevs managed to push it away. At the other end the keeper saved well from Mitchell.

The second half followed a similar patter with chances depending on the wind and the bounce.

Illingworth cleared one effort. The ball broke to Kirby but, as he burst forwards, Heywood cleared outside the goal area.

Eventually Jakovlevs was caught out by the wind. He managed to push the ball out but only to Zucotti, who levelled the scores.

Two minutes later Silsden were back in front. Kirby latched on to Bentham’s through ball and fed Mitchell, who made it 2-1.

Kirby might have netted twice more, firstly after a slick move involving Kaine, Moses and Wademan and secondly, with a looping volley.

With the one goal margin, Abbey Hey still had something to contribute. Oparah volleyed over and Barlow’s shot was too high. Bentham hit an effort straight at the keeper. Substitute Townend hit an effort over in the dying minutes.

The Cobbydalers now face four games in eight days. On Saturday they travel to the Potteries to face Hanley Town. On Easter Monday it’s the short visit to Barnoldswick. On the following Wednesday, in-form FA Vase semi-finalists, Northwich Victoria, are the visitors (8pm). This is followed, on Saturday, by the visit of Burscough for the final game.

Silsden: Jakovlevs, Moses, Everingham, Kaine, Hill (Illingworth 9), Bentham, Barnes, Mitchell, Wademan (Tomas 78), Kirby, McKiernon (Townend 64). Subs not used. Rhodes, Darkins