Runcorn Town 3 Silsden 1
by Jim Rosser at The Pavilions
Silsden’s poor run of results against Runcorn Town continues, although at least they broke their long-standing duck with a goal.
Having pulled a goal back early in the second half, the Cobbydalers might have gone on to, at least, gain a point but the omens were not good.
Since Town were promoted to the Premier Division, the Cobbydalers had lost all six games, conceding 20 goals and scoring just one.
Either side could have won but the “small team from Weston” had master-poacher Paul Shanley in their team, who had netted 20 this season.
The surface was greasy and space was at a premium on one of the smaller playing areas in the league.
With a depleted squad, Silsden manager Andy Geary partnered Aaron Hollindrake and Tom Henderson up front but, for much of the game, they were denied time and space by a defence excellently marshalled by the superb Adam McKillop.
Hollindrake was the first to see a shot blocked after 10 minutes but immediately Town counter attacked and, as Shanley was cutting into the Silsden penalty area, he was tripped by Ben Crabtree.
Danny Toone drove the penalty into the bottom corner.
Silsden responded with some neat short passing. Andy Hill curled in two corners but Stuart Plant, in the home goal, dealt with them, despite being under pressure from Hollindrake and Ben Lamb.
Chris Wademan then broke down the left but his cross was cleared.
Joe Mitchell, who was driving the Cobbydalers forward, had a shot blocked. Henderson followed up but his shot lacked venom.
The tight pitch didn’t suit the Cobbydalers expansive game and Hill was caught in possession more often than usual.
Midway through the half, Shanley showed his class again, running across the edge of the Silsden box before shooting inches wide.
Once again Mitchell won the ball in midfield and Matty Moses broke forward. A drag-back gave him a sight of goal but his shot was comfortably saved.
Back to the other end and Shanley once again broke into the box, this time being tripped by Kevin Ryan.
Toone stepped up to take the spot kick. Thorpe gambled that the full-back would replicate his first kick. He did and the Silsden keeper made an excellent save.
With 10 minutes left to the break, Mark Keene curled an effort over the bar after good work by Sean Brisen and Michael Koral.
Henderson hit his shot over at the other end.
Town were forced to make to changes early in the second period.
Neither side could break down their opponents defences until finally Silsden equalised, 578 minutes since their last goal against Town in October 2011.
Mitchell, who had broken down the left, cut back on his right foot and curled the ball into the goal area. Wademan headed it goalwards but Plant could only push it into the path of Hollindrake who finally opened his account after returning to the Silsden team.
Hollindrake was denied a second minutes later by McKillop and Thorpe kept Silsden in the game when Fagan’s poor clearance was driven in by Koral.
The parity didn’t last long though. A swift break down the left saw Koral drive the ball across the goal to Shanley who had, once again, found space too easily.
Thorpe failed to hold the initial shot and Shanley followed up to put the home side back in the lead with a scrappy goal.
Zack Dale, still not fully fit, had replaced Henderson and he combined well with Mitchell before Wademan fired over.
With 15 minutes left, Geary brought on Owen Deakin Pickard for Hill, who is still struggling to regain his authority.
It was a gamble to push Moses forward, especially leaving the new full-back to deal with the canny Shanley.
Twice Shanley set up Scott Beckett but, on both occasions, Thorpe made excellent saves.
At the other end Mitchell went even closer trying to flick in a near post corner from Dale. From then on Shanley showed his class, bringing a great save from Thorpe before laying the ball off for substitute Andrew Potter who shot wide.
It was a master class from Shanley who always looked two moves ahead of his opponent.
Finally he drifted to the right where he was totally unmarked. Silsden were stretched and Shanley coolly laid the ball into the path of Sam Houghton who scored the third deep into stoppage time.
Runcorn: Plant, Lester, Toone, Dykes, Gibson, Killop, Shanley, Keddie (Houghton 45), Breen (Potter 48), Beckett, Koral. Subs (not used): Roberts, Burton, Bradley-Smith.
Silsden: Thorpe, Moses, Crabtree, Fagan, Ryan, Hill (Deakin-Pickard), Lamb, Mitchell, Henderson (Dale 61), Wademan, Hollindrake. Sub (not used): Haigh.
Referee: R Wild.
Assistants: M Reeves, A Johnson.
Runcorn Town 3 Silsden 1