The Cobbydalers entertained Sunderland Ryhope Community Association FC in the first round proper on Halloween. Despite the home advantage, this was always going to be a tough tie for the Yorkshire lads, as Sunderland arrived on the back of an unbeaten run, stretching to twelve games, following a poor start to the season, in which they only secured two points in their opening five games. Only three teams in the top Division of the Northern League had scored more goals.
Silsden still had several players on the injury list and during the warm-up, skipper Joe Mitchell pulled up and was replaced by Talent Ndlovu. Ryan Haigh and his staff have built up a team which has looked more competitive in the last fortnight but other changes had to be made. Joe Taylor was unavailable in goal but fortunately Danny Thorpe had made a quicker recovery than expected following surgery to his leg.
The Cobbydalers were on the attack from the kick-off with Chris Wademan playing a one two down the left, before breaking to the edge of the penalty area. Jordan Harkness came off his line to smother Wademan’s low shot. That was a wake up call for the visitors. Andy Lee managed to stop a dangerous break from Michael Charlton at the expense of a corner and then Joe Melvin shot over after a run across the box.
Craig Nicholls put in a cross from the right, following a penetrating run, before Lee saw his effort tipped over the bar after good interplay down the left.
Twice within the space of three minutes Joe Melvin cut into from the right but on both occasions he shot over the bar. At the other end Nicholls might have done better when released by Elliot Firth and Wademan saw another shot saved.
The game was swinging one way and then the other. Luke Proctor found himself in the clear when the visitors sprung the offside trap but Thorpe made an excellent save. He could do little with Proctor’s next effort except breathe sigh of relief when the ball curled outside the far post.
Wademan latched onto a through ball from Kevin Ryan but his effort was
blocked by a last ditch tackle by Wayne Buchanan. Silsden were pushed back for the final five minutes of the half but held on until the interval.
The second half started with Silsden putting several passes together, moving the ball from right to left, before Talent Ndlovu hit a shot which just cleared the far post. Nicholls broke down the right but lacked support then Charles Collinge shot weakly after a move which he had started. At the other end Kevin Gordon’s effort also lacked venom.
Silsden took the lead on fifty-three minutes when WADEMAN exploited a lack of concentration in the Durham team’s defence. He shot wide of Harkness, who managed to take some of the pace off the ball, but the ball squirmed across the line despite the efforts of Adam Drysdale.
Fred Midgley, who had worked hard but found the physical presence of centre backs Adam Drysdale and Reece Noble a stumbling block, was replaced by Nicky McNally ten minutes into the half. McNally first effort was under-hit and the ball was driven forwards by Harkness up the right. A superb cross eluded all the Silsden defenders and PROCTOR squeezed in the equaliser at the far post. Sunderland raised their game and Thorpe did well to block Charlton’s close range effort. Nettleton and Firth made sure the follow-up was cleared.
After Melvin missed another chance he was replaced by Colin Larkin. It was a significant substitution. Larkin, the forwards’ coach, who had played in the Football League for Wolves, Chesterfield, Northampton and Hartlepool, began to dictate the play. Thorpe saved from Proctor then Stephen Callen’s effort cleared the bar. Lee deflected another effort for a corner but the Cobbydalers could do little about the third goal. Eight players were involved in the move which ended with PROCTOR netting his second.
Four minutes later LARKIN netted a third following a cross from the right. Mitchell had already replaced Nicholls. Silsden tried hard but they were fighting to stay in the game. NDLOVU hit a curling shot wide and the youngster gave Silsden hope with two minutes left on the clock when his powerful volley squirmed through Harness’ grasp.
Silsden threw everyone forwards for a stoppage-time corner but the ball was cleared and LARKIN had only to keep his composure to settle the issue, two minutes into overtime.
It had been a compelling cup-tie but the visitors just about deserved their victory. Silsden, despite feeling the pressure late on, never gave up and there is more resilience in the team than earlier in the season. The fans could be in for another treat on Tuesday night when Guiseley are the visitors for a West Riding County Cup game.
SILSDEN AFC Thorpe, Nettelton, Lee(Scott 84), Ndlovu, Firth, Ryan, Hunter, Collinge, Midgley(McNally 54), Wademan, Nicholls(Mitchell 66). Subs not used Garside, Brooks.
SUNDERLAND RCA FC. Harkness, Richardson, McNab, Buchanan, Drysedale, Noble, Gordon, Proctor, Melvin(Larkin 64), Callen, Charlton(Hope 75). Subs not used Armstron, Carr Brown.
Referee. Mr M. Ainsworth
Assistants. Mr S. Rudd and Mr. R.Spouse.
Report by Jim Rosser