by Jim Rosser
A turn around in form saw Silsden’s three-match winning run end as their hosts chalked up their first win in seven matches.
The Scouse outfit had faltered, losing four and drawing two but were in sixth place, only eight points off the top spot.
Reds manager Paul Moore had blamed injuries and work commitments for the slip in form but, with experienced players returning, he was hoping to get back to winning ways.
Andy Geary, who was without recent scorers, Josh McNulty and Dale Feather and also James Gill, brought in former Silsden junior Lee McGowan to lead the attack.
From the outset, the game flowed from end to end and might have ended as a high scoring draw, had all the chances been converted.
Watch the highlights and listen to the Liverpool manager’s comments after the game on the AFC Liverpool site, here.
The Reds were the first to show when left-back Joel Kerwin fired a shot over the bar and then Danny Fagan blocked a shot from the experienced Shaun Harris.
Silsden’s first attack almost brought the opener when Andy Hill slid the ball up the right. Owen Deakin-Pickard headed for the byline and drove in a low cross. Will Storrie, who had drifted in from the left, met the ball at the near post and hit it cleanly from two yards out but Dean Pye made a superb save.
Silsden were on the attack again when Kristian Hargreaves dallied on the ball and was caught in possession. The Reds burst forward, exposing a stretched Silsden defence and Shaun Harris drove the ball into the far corner of Ed Hall’s goal.
The Reds dominated for a period as the Cobbydalers were unable to keep the ball.
Both of the Reds’ full backs were allowed to support their attack without being picked up as the pressure mounted. A swift move ended with Harris shooting across the face of goal. Right-back Muktar Mahama created another chance for Harris who headed wide at the far post.
The pressure told after 20 minutes when left-back Joel Kerwin hit a screamer which just grazed the bar, before Ryan Cox finished off a flowing cross-field move to double the score.
Silsden finally got a grasp of the game, Hargreaves shooting wide with one effort after good defending by Matthew Moses.
When Chris Wademan was upended, Hill delivered a trademark cross to the far post. Danny Gleave won the header but couldn’t quite keep his effort low enough.
Minutes later Hill hit another free-kick into the danger area. This time Danny Fagan headed the ball across the face of goal from the far post. Wademan reached the ball first but it wasn’t quite his day and the ball went wide.
The game was a learning experience for Wademan, whose pace had troubled a few defenders this season.
He was up against the experienced River Humphreys who used his nouse and body strength to nullify the effectiveness of the Silsden striker.
Silsden might have been level, had the chances gone in, but they pulled a goal back 10 minutes before the break when McGowan rose above the defence to hit a powerful header beyond the reach of Pye.
Before the break Kerwin had two more efforts at the other end, one wide and one saved by Hall, but the half ended with Silsden keeping possession with more confidence.
The Cobbydalers, with the wind at their backs, started the second half positively. Hargreaves won two great tackles in midfield to keep the Reds on the back foot and, following good work on the right by Deakin-Pickard, Hill’s curling effort went inches wide.
Silsden were creating chances. McGowan slid the ball into the path of Wademan but a slight delay allowed Humphreys to block the shot.
Fagan was also just off target with a header from another Hill cross.
Silsden were to rue their missed chances when, after Harris had hit a post, Steve Jones followed up to notch the third after 62 minutes, his 50th goal in only 86 appearances.
Half-chances still fell to Wademan but on three occasions his nemesis Humphreys, cleared the danger.
McGowan was also denied by Steve Williams before he curled another effort round both keeper Pye and the far post.
Chances came at both ends. Hall saved Jones’ effort at the second attempt and Deakin-Pickard hit a screamer which shook the Reds’ far post.
When Hill was narrowly wide with a header at the far post in the dying minutes, it summed up Silsden’s day. Close but not close enough.
When asked about how he thought the game in particular, and the season in general, had gone so far, assistant manager Ryan Haigh said that he and Andy were pleased with the progress to date.
“We almost started the season with a blank canvas, with little experience.
“Today we had only two players over the age of 21 with several of them still teenagers.
“Most of the lads have come in from junior football and will only get better the more they play at this level.
“We have sorted out the defence, where Danny Gleave and Danny Fagan have been outstanding.
“Today we missed the experienced Gill in midfield but we still created chances.
“We have obviously not converted enough chances, but we have created them.
“Lee McGowan made a good impression. Maybe he will add the missing touch.
“Don’t expect miracles, it may take two or three years to get the best out of the team but the spirit in the camp is good.
The lads are great trainers and want to succeed.”