SILSDEN lost ground in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division play-off race on Saturday after a chaotic finale in their 2-1 defeat at struggling Pickering Town.

The mood was bright in the Cobbydalers camp ahead of kick-off, with the experienced Martin Foster, whose most recent job in football was at Guiseley, joining the club’s coaching staff earlier in the week.

He will add some extra experience and guidance for young joint-bosses Matt Cavanagh and Luke Lavery, who have had Silsden challenging at the right end of the table for a year and a half since taking over from long-serving Danny Forrest ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The newly-formed trio almost enjoyed a dream start on Saturday as they watched on from the sidelines, but Kayle Price poked a good chance over the bar on four minutes.

It was fairly even for a spell thereafter, only for Silsden to come on strong as the first half wore on.

T’nique Fishley flashed a half-volley just wide for the Cobbydalers, before Price messed up his shot from a tight angle.

The latter came agonisingly close to giving Silsden the lead just before the break, only for his backheeled effort from Jake Cassidy’s cross to be superbly kept out by Pickering stopper Toby Wells.

Jake Maltby prodded an early second half effort wide before the luckless Price drove into the box and forced another great save from Wells.

Silsden finally grabbed the lead they deserved midway through the second half.

Cassidy’s shot was saved, but Maltby was first to the rebound and he squared the loose ball for Casey Stewart to fire it home.

Yet Silsden’s lead lasted less than 10 minutes, as former Bradford (Park Avenue) striker Omar Sanyang levelled for Pickering with a brilliant goal.

He took the ball on the turn, danced past a couple of Cobbydalers defenders, before crashing the ball under visiting keeper Kyle Trenerry to equalise.

It soon got worse for Silsden, as Sanyang skipped through and evaded the despairing dive of Trenerry to slot the ball into the empty net.

Another former Avenue player, Wayne Brooksby, won Pickering a penalty in the 90th minute when he was taken out in the box.

Chaos ensued as Sanyang put the penalty wide in trying to score his hat-trick, before the hosts had Nathan Dyer (not the former Premier League winner) given a second booking for a dive.

Sanyang was also dismissed after an off-the-ball skirmish followed a foul on him by Fishley.

But Pickering’s nine men only had a few moments to see out with a two-man disadvantage, and they did just that, moving six points clear of the drop as a result.

Silsden sit ninth, five points off the play-offs and could drop as low as 11th by Saturday evening.

Frickley Athletic and Handsworth will both overtake them with weekend victories, as Silsden are not in league action due to their exciting FA Vase fourth round tie at Hallam.