Season’s review – Silsden
North West Counties League, Premier Division
by Kev Knappy
Silsden’s first-team season saw them just fall short of their best-ever points total at this level.
The season saw victories over all the top sides, beating eventual champions Ramsbottom United 2-1 at home, in what was one of the highlights of the season.
Away wins against ambitious Pennine neighbours Barnoldswick Town (1-0) exacting revenge for an earlier 4-0 home reversal, a 1-0 home win against Winsford United and a delightful double against Glossop North End, who also had promotion ambitions, were also memorable.
Despite excellent performances against the so-called ‘better sides’, inconsistency saw disappointing defeats against sides that were round and about, or lower in the table.
That said, one of the problems all season was the lack of goals. The loss of key striker Kev Ryan was a massive blow to the Cobbydalers.
Manager Chris Reape and his assistant Danny Bolton searched high and low, within the ranks of the club, locally and outwith, with varying degrees of success.
Silsden had a pretty fruitless cup season though, the highlight was the home FA Cup tie against Harrogate Railway, which saw victory snatched away in the dying seconds in a 1-1 draw in front of a big crowd.
The higher-level Railwaymen won the replay 2-0. This had followed an away victory after a replay and penalties against Rossington Main.
A disappointing 5-2 home loss to Askern Villa in the FA Vase, preceded an early League Cup exit, 1-0 at lowly St Helens.
A gritty display in the West Riding FA County Cup saw another defeat against Garforth Town, 3-2 after leading their more illustrious opponents.
A constant throughout the season though was the performances of three key players – experienced goalkeeper James Mann, the effervescent Andy Lee and skipper and eventual winner of Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year James Nettleton, who all had outstanding seasons.
The relative inexperience within the squad did start to bear fruit towards the end of the season, with improved performances since the turn of the year which started with a fine 4-0 win at Padiham, thanks to important contributions from Danny Bryan, John Douglas, an acquisition from Rotherham United and ex-Bradford City midfielder Joe Gaughan, who weighed in with his share of goals, along with former Thackley striker Mike Garrod.
Young Matty Moses ably took over from the injured Arley Barnes at right-back, successfully stepping up from under 19 Academy and Reserve team football.
While there were some imports who came and went, the Reserve team played its part, as Reape gave first-team experience to a number of youngsters still cutting their teeth at this level, including Tom Marshall, Joe Jalil, Josh McNulty, Chris Wademan, Ben Geary, Josh Kaine, young keeper Christian Paulat-Brigg and Chris Williams.
This supplemented the experienced Tim Hird, Jake McEneaney and two young centre backs battling it out to partner Nettleton, Ben Lamb and Danny Husband.
One of the unwanted features of the season was number of late goals conceded, which in the final reckoning cost a number a valuable points for the red and blacks, with another blot on the copybook being the club’s apparent bad disciplinary record.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the dismissals were completely justified, as you must stay on your feet when tackling at this level with the pressures that officials are under through scrutiny by assessors, but some were also very harsh to say the least.
However, with the valuable experience gained this season, this is definitely an area that the club will be looking to improve upon next season.
As the season wore on, two players came back to form and re-established themselves back in the first-team, bringing valuable experience back into the squad with Pete Hanson and Danny McNulty turning in good performances, and creating added competition for places.
The T&A’s take on the Silsden season can be read here.
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So far, reviews have been received from Silsden, Steeton, Bronte Wanderers, Ingrow & Worth Valley Reserves, Crosshills Reserves, Silsden Reserves, Bradley, Keighley Athletic and Oakworth Sunday.
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