Barnoldswick Town 0
by Jim Rosser at the Angel Telecom Stadium
See more of David S Brett’s pictures, here.
Silsden completed a derby treble with victory over West Riding neighbours Barnoldswick in the North West Counties League.
Goals at the start of both halves made it three wins out of three for the Cobbydalers after beating Barlick 4-0 away in the league and 5-0 at home in the county cup.
Chris Wademan got Silsden off to a fine start with the opening goal after only two minutes and Craig Nicholls secured the points three minutes into the second half in front of a crowd of 248.
The Boxing Day derby ended with the Cobbydalers in firm control of West Riding bragging rights but, although Wademan’s early goal may have settled the nerves, it was Nicholls who lit up the match.
Nicholls, who had damaged his thigh at Stockport Sports on November 22, had missed the last four games for the Cobbydalers; a run of four defeats.
Although his injury had healed, it was still a risk and he was playing under the instructions that if there was any twinge at all he would be substituted immediately.
Nicholls came through the first half without any trouble and then, after only three minutes of the second half, he picked the ball up midway inside the Barlick half.
He started a diagonal run, which was to eventually see him speed past five Barlick players before he shot across the face of the Barlick goal into the far corner of the net.
Manager Andy Geary, who was without Danny Fagan and Andy Hill, brought in Josh Brown at the back to partner Ben Lamb and Josh McNulty came in on the left.
Barlick manager James Gill also had to make changes. Having seen two keepers shown red cards in a matter of three weeks, the former Silsden man called upon the services of former Cobbydalers team-mate Martin Foulger in goal.
Although the veteran keeper could do little with the two opening goals, he did deny Aaron Hollindrake in the dying minutes with a point-blank save.
Barlick, boasting five former Cobbydalers in their starting line-up, attacked from the kick-off but as soon as Silsden won the ball back it was moved swiftly up to Tom Henderson, who had pulled away from his marker.
The ball was switched to Nicholls on the right and he crossed low into the six-yard box where Wademan ran across his marker to slot the ball home after only two minutes.
The visitors responded immediately but were caught offside on their next two attacks.
Silsden almost doubled their lead after 12 minutes when a free-kick from Ben Crabtree was headed back from the far post by Josh Brown to Kevin Ryan, who dragged his shot agonisingly wide.
A powerful run by left-back Kieron Lee saw the ball moved out to Martin Broderick on the right but his cross was easy for Danny Thorpe to gather.
Barlick gained some momentum but their attacks often broke down on the edge of the box where Joe Mitchell and Lamb both put in excellent tackles.
Shaun Airey shot over from 20 yards out and Broderick broke forward at pace but the Silsden defence stood firm.
Ten minutes before the break, McNulty nipped in to steal the ball off Jake McEneaney.
The winger got to the byline and crossed to Wademan at the far post but with Foulger stranded, Paul Walker managed to clear for a corner.
With five minutes of the half left, Broderick broke down the left but Brown cleared the danger before Mitchell blocked an effort from Melia, who had cut his way to the edge of the Silsden area.
At 1-0 the game was delicately poised. Silsden pushed forward and, after a foul on McNulty, Crabtree forced Foulger to make another save before Nicholls notched his goal.
With Barlick searching for a way back, the game became stretched and Wademan went on thrilling run into the box. He was tackled but the ball fell kindly to Henderson who failed to get enough power on his shot.
Lee went on a run down the left but his cross was intercepted by Lamb. Broderick released Melia, but once again he didn’t trouble Thorpe.
Wademan was released by Nicholls down the left but, with team-mates in support, the Tasmanian Devil hit the side netting.
With 20 minutes left, the experienced Threlfall, who had been well-shackled by Brown, managed to outjump the Silsden defence but his header, from Airey’s free-kick, rebounded off the far post.
Man-of -the-match Mitchell blocked another effort from Airdrie and then closed down Lee near his own goal line.
Foulger’s save kept the score to two although Hollindrake went close in the 90th minute.
Geary was delighted with the result but more especially the performance.
“It was good to have Craig back but even more pleasing to get a clean sheet,” he said.
“We have given soft goals away recently and it has cost us points and a place in the West Riding County Cup semi-final.
“I thought the back five were excellent but the stars were Ryan and Mitchell in midfield, the engine-house of the team. They broke up attack after attack and gave the forwards freedom to express themselves.”
Silsden: Thorpe, Moses, Crabtree, Lamb, Brown, Ryan, Wademan, Mitchell, Henderson (Hollindrake 70), Nicholls (Deakin-Pickard 85), McNulty (Jalil 63)
Subs (not used): Rishton, Dale.
Barnoldswick: Foulger, Walker, K Lee (KB Lee 87), Corken, McEneaney, Airey, Melia, Broderick (Cavanagh 63), Threlfall, Beckwith (Airdrie 70), Thompson,
Sub (not used): Gill.
See more of David S Brett’s pictures, here.