by Robert Lee · 20/01/2019
Saturday 19th January 2019, NWCFL Premier Division
West 2 (Hall 34, Horner 55, Hall sent off 37)
Silsden 1 (Rhodes 47, Gaughan sent off 37, Jakovlevs sent off 90+2)
Tom Horner’s debut goal was enough to edge West to three more valuable points on an afternoon of high drama against Silsden.
Horner’s half-volley just before the hour proved decisive after Rhodes had cancelled out Stephen Hall’s deflected opener. Both sides played for 50 minutes with ten men after Joe Gaughan and Hall were dismissed just after Hall’s goal, before Silsden keeper Callum Jakovlevs saw red during a frantic six minutes of second-half stoppage time.
This win, perfectly timed with trips to Northwich Victoria and 1874 Northwich on the horizon, was enough to restore West’s three-point buffer above the relegation zone. While the home side’s performance could hardly be described as flowing, they showed admirable battling qualities to see off a final Silsden raid in the last 20 minutes, especially as first-choice keeper Marcus Burgess and captain Matt Eckersley were absent.
The Cobbydalers find themselves tumbling down the table after an impressive start to the season and lost at home to Abbey Hey last weekend, but started the stronger in blustery conditions. Will Jones was kept occupied and threw himself low to his right to paw away a long shot after 20 minutes, but West gradually hauled themselves into the game and a fierce Hall effort flew narrowly wide after an exchange with Jamie Coombes.
Hall’s luck was in not long afterwards as his fourth goal of the season gave West the lead – after Jack Sergeant won the ball in midfield, his shot on from the edge of the area struck a Silsden defender and looped over the stranded Jakovlevs.
But Hall’s next contribution led to him departing the scene moments later. Silsden’s Gaughan was dismissed for an agricultural challenge in midfield, with the West man following him into the dressing rooms for his part in an ensuing brawl.
It was the ten men of Silsden who claimed the game’s next goal, moments after the interval. It was a disappointing goal from the home side’s perspective, with Rhodes free to nod home a corner at the near post.
This was only a minor setback for West, though, and the home side regained the lead eight minutes later. After Coombes had been chopped down in the left channel, the resulting free kick fell to Horner on the edge of the box and his perfectly-controlled strike flew high past Jakovlevs into the corner of the net.
From this moment on the visitors dominated proceedings and penned West back into their own half, but the Cobbydalers’ clearest chance came and went after 77 minutes when a volley from the edge of the area soared over the bar. West did break clear in the second added minute, and when substitute Jesurun Uchegbulam freed fellow replacement Lee Gavin, Jakovlevs raced out of his area and became the second Silsden keeper to see red at Brookburn Road in successive games.
Having made all three subs, an outfield player was forced to don the visitors’ gloves for the remaining few moments, and soon afterwards West were able to celebrate another vital home win.
West: Jones, Tinker, Pearson, Sergeant, Eiselt, Horner, McLaughlin (Uchegbulam 86), Hall, Kilheeney, Shaw (Gavin 70), Coombes (Dixon 81). Not used: Miranda, Butucel.