FOLLOWING last week’s epic 3-2 victory at Staveley Miners Welfare, Silsden faced second-placed Eccleshill United on Saturday and slipped to a battling 2-1 home defeat.

Earlier in the season, Eccleshill had brushed Silsden aside 4-0 in the FA Cup, but this was a far more even encounter.

Eccleshill were skippered by former Cobbydaler Talent Ndlovu, who provided a masterclass in running the game, with his electric pace and vision.

But it was Silsden who created the first real chance.

They were awarded a free kick and Kyle Hancock curled it into the United box, where Dan Illingworth rose to head the ball goalwards. Keeper Ed Wilczynski saved the effort with relative ease though.

The game was played out in a fast and controlled manner, but defences were on top, with Illingworth and Joe Mitchell blocking efforts at one end and Kelvin Bleau clearing Jack Normanton’s strike at the other.

The closest either team came to an opener was when Bleau burst down the right and crossed to Jonny Irving, whose shot cleared the Silsden crossbar.

Ndlovu then shot wide after being set up by Irving.

Normanton was the main Silsden threat, cutting in from the flanks, but the visitors’ quick breaks were a danger.

Twice Mitchell cleared the ball in the Silsden box, while Matty Moses cushioned a cross into the arms of his keeper.

Midway through the half, Eccleshill's Aidan Day cut through two tackles and, interlinking with Emmerson Cox and Bleau, he looked set to open the visitors’ account.

But he was denied by Arley Barnes’ superb tackle.

The game flowed from end to end, with Mitchell and Normanton both getting chances for Silsden, goalwards before a sensational run from Ndlovu ended with his effort being well saved by home stopper Alfie Darke.

Four minutes before the interval, the deadlock was broken.

Bleau sent a long ball for Ben Bodle to chase and the full-back's ball in was inadvertently turned into his own net by Illingworth, under pressure from Irving.

On the stroke of half-time, Bleau broke right through for a one-on-one with the Silsden keeper, but Darke made a fantastic save to keep the deficit at 1-0.

Four minutes into the second half, the visitors doubled their lead. Ndlovu broke clear and sent a teasing ball into the Cobbydalers’ penalty area for centre back Sam Bradley to head home.

Darke then kept the Cobbydalers in the game when denying Bleau after a rapid burst.

For a time, the Cobbydalers had to defend as though their lives depended on it, with Hancock’s 10-minute sin-bin not helping the cause.

Sumaili Cissa curled an effort just over the bar for Eccleshill before he went off injured, while Connor Thompson, on for Moses, cleared a shot off the line.

Ndlovu also had to be substituted after 73 minutes due to an injury, and suddenly, it seemed an even playing field, with the little mastermind no longer controlling the midfield.

Craig Billington and Ben Clarkson came on up top for the Sils, as Danny Forrest pushed four men forwards.

This made all the difference, as the hosts put pressure on up front and forced the Eccleshill defenders on to the back foot.

Mitchell hit a screamer over the crossbar, before the pressure finally paid off as Normanton pulled a goal back with 15 minutes to go.

As Silsden pressed for an equaliser, Eccleshill were quite happy to boot the ball clear.

Normanton shot over from the edge of the box before Khurram Shazad failed to get enough power on his low drive.

Silsden were always open to the breakaway and substitute Alex Cusack failed to score twice when he broke clear.

That was Silsden's third home league defeat in a row, but all of those came against the current top three.

On Saturday, the Cobbydalers travel to Athersley Recreation, looking to continue their fine away record this season, which has seen them win four of their six games on the road so far.