Penistone Church 1

Silsden 2

SILSDEN began life in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division with an impressive win at Penistone Church.

Penistone had finished last season as the runners-up to Worksop Town but, over the close season, they had lost six of last-seasons’ squad.

The Cobbydalers had finished last season in mid-table but had not had a happy pre-season. For this opening fixture they were without centre-back Dan Illingworth, Josh Brown and Matty Moses.

On paper it looked a tough opener for Silsden but manager Danny Forrest had instilled in his squad the need to keep possession and play as much football on the ground, especially considering the height advantage of the home side.

Ryan Johnson stood head and shoulders above the Silsden attackers and he was always a threat at set-pieces. Fortunately Cobbydalers’ goalkeeper Alfie Darke was his match in the air.

After some early possession by the Cobbydalers, Penistone’s Luke Aldridge went close following some swift passing, then Nathan Keightley broke down the left but shot across the face of the Silsden goal.

Arley Barnes hit a shot from 30 yards out which cleared the home crossbar before Josh Kaine’s positional play denied the home side, catching them offside on two occasions.

Laurence Sorhaindo combined well with Khurram Shazad before unleashing a dipping shot which Chris Snaith did well to tip over the bar.

After an interception by Joe Mitchell, the ball was moved to Sorhaindo down the right. He slid the ball into the Church penalty area to Shazad, who drove the ball home to give the visitors the lead on 22 minutes.

Three minutes later Mitchell hit a glorious pass out to Aidan Kirby on the right. His shot was well saved by Snaith as the Cobbydalers moved the ball with confidence.

Penistone then applied some pressure but Josh McKiernon cleared the danger.

The home side wasted two good chances, Ash Ellis and Callum Lee’s efforts lacking direction. Sorhaindo broke between two defenders and fed Mitchell, but the midfielder’s shot went into the side-netting.

Penistone pressed but they lacked the composure in front of goal and only in the final minute of the half was Darke called upon to punch a dangerous cross clear.

Silsden almost doubled their lead early in the second half.

Right-back Liam Hudson broke forwards and cut inside before slipping the ball to Shazad, who had moved out to the wing. He crossed the ball low to Kirby whose extra touch gave the defence a chance to clear.

At the other end, Barnes showed his versatility with some excellent defending.

Ten minutes into the half Liam Hudson again broke forwards slipping the ball to McKiernon. The latter's reverse pass found Sorhaindo but Snaith managed to smother his shot.

The home side began to put more pressure on the Cobbydalers defence but, after Luke Aldridge had shot wide, Darke made a fantastic save to deny Keightley. Silsden then broke with Kirby setting up McKiernon but his shot lacked venom. Back came the home side.

Darke was swiftly off his line to thwart Firth before Barnes’ timely interception broke up another attack. Keightley fired wide.

Eventually Silsden almost netted a second. Mark Everingham slid the ball to Shazad who side stepped his marker.

His powerful shot beat Snaith but rebounded off the far post. Penistone pushed their tall centre-half forwards. Kaine and Barnes were pressurised by the long ball in the air but, whenever they were beaten, Darke was on hand to punch clear.

Finally, the Cobbydalers got their second five minutes from the end.

McKiernon broke forwards and slid the ball to Shazad. A dip of the shoulder created space to slide the ball to Kirby who blasted the ball home.

Penistone still put pressure on the Silsden goal area. Darke was put under enormous pressure and finally a goal came in stoppage time, Lovell netting after a scramble on the goalline, with Darke and the ball ending in the net.

The final whistle went immediately after the restart.

The Silsden side might have been dwarfed by their opponents but they used their nous to keep the ball on the turf and to keep possession when under pressure.

Barnes was superb as a stand-in centre-back and Darke commanding in the goal. The slick movement of the forwards tested the back four of Penistone. It was a fine start to the campaign.

Penistone Church: Snaith, Lee, Young, Ellis, Johnson, Lovell, Howes, Firth, Keightley, Barlow (Kemp 73), Aldrich (Mundy 73). Subs not used: Cadzow, Whittaker, Law

Silsden: Darke, Hudson, Everingham, Kaine, Barnes, Bentham, McKiernon, Mitchell, Kirby (Forrest 88), Shazad, Sorhaindo (Parchment 88). Subs not used: Higginson, Waddington, Hardisty-Blackwell