TEN-MAN Silsden lost ground on the top two in Hallmark Security League Premier Division following a 3-0 home loss to Runcorn Town.

Having drawn with league leaders City of Liverpool in their previous game, the Cobbydalers faced second-placed Runcorn Town, who have finished one place below the promoted teams in the last two seasons.

Runcorn were two points ahead of Silsden, having played a game fewer at the start of play..

The visitors had Dale Jennings in for his second game. Jennings, a Liverpool FC player until the age of 15, made his debut for Tranmere Rovers a few years later. Eventually he ended up at Bayern Munich and played in their second team. Not settling in Germany, he was transferred to Barnsley for £250,000 before moving to MK Dons, leaving the club in February 2016.

The first half was end-to-end with Silsden's Niall Sultan demonstrating his return to full fitness with two strong runs early on.

Arley Barnes then fed Aidan Kirby, who burst past John Shaw, who slipped while turning. Kirby was denied by advancing keeper Adam Reid.

Kyle Hancock then broke clear but the defence closed him down and his final shot lacked venom.

Town responded with a strong run from Matt Waters which Illingworth halted at the expense of a corner. Ryan Cox and Shaun Weaver both had shots turned down as the ball fizzed about in the Silsden area.

Aiden Kirby tried to hold the ball up but Town defended well, blocking efforts from Sultan and Joe Mitchell. Harry Brazel broke away for the Cheshire side, but his final delivery was poor.

Silsden’s best effort to date came when Hancock turned Turner and set up Sultan who fed Kirby. The striker’s shot was deflected for a corner.

Town responded down the right but Craig Linfield’s shot lacked power. Jennings did better but Lee saved well at his near post.

The visitors thought they had taken the lead 10 minutes before the break but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside. With four team-mates in the penalty area, Brazel wasted a golden opportunity, shooting wide from a tight angle. Kendall then blocked a free-kick on the goalline.

The last five minutes saw chances at both ends. Craig Bentham hit a dipping free-kick into the box. Sultan met it perfectly with his head but somehow, Reid dived to push it wide.

From the corner, Illingworth shot over the bar. Kirby then created an opening for Sultan but he was marginally offside. Runcorn broke down the left but Barnes was to deny them twice before the break.

Sultan forced a corner in the opening minutes of the second half.

Hancock curled it in. Illingworth headed to the far post. The ball was blocked but only to Barnes, who saw his effort thwarted.

Five minutes later a through ball was hit into the Silsden box. Lee and Illingworth left it for each other. Jennings took advantage to tap it home.

At the other end Kirby was crowded out before Hancock weaved his way past three defenders but again his shot was easy for Reid to save.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Cox chipped the advancing Lee to make it 2-0.

Storrie came on for Everingham and immediately ran at the Town defence. He was tripped and Hancock curled it in but Kirby shot wide.

The visitors broke forward and were rewarded with a corner. Brazel rose above everyone else to make it three.

Storrie worked hard in the dying minutes before Lee denied Town’s Thelwell a fourth.

In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Illingworth pushed Cox in the back and was sent off.

Silsden: Lee, Bentham, Kendall (Lyndon 81), Kaine, Illingworth, Mitchell, Barnes, Hancock, Everingham (Storrie 68), Kirby, Sultan. Subs not used. Tomas, Keen, Forrest.

Runcorn Town: Reid, Turner, Waters, Shaw, James, McManus, Brazel, Weaver (Wainwright 25), Lindfield (McDonald 80), Cox, Jennings (Thelwell 81). Subs not used. Wright, McGregor.