Prestwich Heys 0 Silsden 4

PROLIFIC marksman Joe Gaughan scored his third hat-trick of the season as Silsden delivered their most emphatic statement yet in recording their 17th straight league victory.

In what they expected to be the toughest test to date of their all-conquering campaign, the leaders blew away second-placed Prestwich to go 14 points clear of them.

That was without Kyle Hancock, Nicky McNally, Craig Bentham and Mateusz Tomas but boss Danny Forrest and assistant Matt McNeil had worked out how to shut out the division’s leading scorers.

The hosts had no answer to Silsden's high pressing game and slick passing. The Cobbydalers were soon on the attack with Chris Wademan crossing to Luke Rhodes, whose effort was charged down. Mark Trueman then hit a perfect free-kick to Danny Illingworth, who headed goalwards before Rhodes saw a shot deflected by keeper Mark Baguley for a corner.

After 15 minutes of pressure the home defence were opened up with a perfect pass from Arley Barnes. Gaughan killed the ball and blasted home.

The Mancunians hit back with a couple of efforts but Silsden keeper Callum Jakovlevs gathered both comfortably.

Trueman’s control and vision are unquestionable but he also demonstrated a burst of pace, forcing a save from Baguley after Gaughan had opened up the defence.

Prestwich came close when Josh Kaine was judged to have handled on the edge of the box. Max White hit a superb free-kick which ricocheted off a post.

Silsden responded well and went 2-0 up after 35 minutes when Matthew Grimshaw failed to head clear and Gaughan blasted home his second.

Matty Moses, like many others having his best game of the season, twice made classy interceptions while Niall Sultan's pace up the right was causing all sorts of problems.

Sultan’s best cross was headed clear but only to Gaughan, who started an interchange of passes between himself, Wademan and Rhodes, who made it 3-0 just before half-time. It was poetry in motion.

There was still time for Prestwich to come close to pulling one back. Rio Wilson-Heyes hit a rasping shot which Jakovlevs flicked over at full stretch before Lewis Adams blasted over following the resulting corner.

Silsden continued to threaten after the break as Illingworth's header hit a post from another superb free-kick.

Rhodes brought a super save from Baguley before the icing was put on the cake by Gaughan with ten minutes left.

Sultan was finally stopped but only at the expense of a penalty and the striker completed his hat-trick to make it 21 goals for the season. He was then substituted to rapturous applause from the Cobbydalers supporters.

This was a master class by the league leaders. Jakovlevs was back to his best, Kaine and Illingworth dominated at the back, with both Mark Everingham and Moses oozing class. Rhodes was a revelation and Trueman class personified.

Barnes made sure the engine ran smoothly, and Sultan and Wademan teased the home defence. And Gaughan was his prolific self! Forrest had set it up to perfection.

On Saturday the Cobbydalers travel to Holker Old Boys before visiting Tadcaster Albion in the second round of the West Riding County Cup next Tuesday.

Silsden: Jakovlevs, Everingham, Illingworth, Kaine (c), Moses, Trueman, Barnes, Rhodes, Wademan, Gaughan (Forrest 80), Sultan.