Hallmark Security League Division One: Silsden 2 Litherland REMYCA 1

TWO goals in the first 11 minutes was enough to see Silsden gain a huge victory in their bid to win the title.

Their triumph over second-placed Litherland increased the Cobbydalers' lead at the top to 15 points.

Though the visitors still have three games in hand, this was a big statement from Silsden in a difficult week in which leading scorer Joe Gaughan had been sent off twice, leading to a seven-match ban.

With his absence along with Niall Sultan (three-match ban), boss Danny Forrest selected himself and brought in former Bantams trainee Niah Payne.

It was a game dominated by the wind, which became stronger as the game went on, favouring the team playing towards the clubhouse.

Litherland won the toss and played against the wind in the opening half but they were in for an early shock, with Kyle Hancock cutting in from the left to curl a shot in at the far post after just one minute.

Paul Foy and Colin MacDonald threatened as the Merseysiders sought an immediate response. Their pace tested the home defence and Callum Jakovlevs kept Silsden in front with a fine save at his right-hand post.

Instead, Silsden went 2-0 up after 11 minutes when Payne broke down the right and crossed into the area. Goalkeeper Ben Morrow, under pressure from Chris Wademan, fumbled the ball and Wademan headed home at the second attempt.

Litherland still looked dangerous as Josh Hamilton set up Lennon Whewell, whose shot was parried before MacDonald netted, only to be flagged offside.

Hamilton was causing Silsden all sorts of problems down the left but the Yorkshiremen almost went three up at the midway point of the half. Wademan crossed from the left and Forrest hit the far post.

Josh Kaine played a one-two with Arley Barnes but the wind took his shot over the bar and Barnes was just off target soon afterwards.

Jakovlevs denied Foy before Wademan volleyed a bouncing ball over the bar at the other end.

The wind strengthened in the second half, almost reaching gale force by the final whistle. Could Silsden hold out?

Litherland might have scored in the opening minutes when Foy slid in a defence-splitting pass but MacDonald didn’t read it.

Barnes set up Wademan but Morrow saved well and then Hancock had a shot blocked as Silsden played the ball on the floor.

Colin Quirk went close from several free-kicks before Silsden broke away and Wademan went on a mazy run, his low shot rebounding off the post and across the goal line before being cleared.

Quirk pulled one back after 68 minutes when he headed home from a corner and, three minutes later, substitute Michael Boyle hit the post as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.

Dan Illingworth and Kaine were magnificent in facing both the meteorological and Litherland battering.

Jakovlevs saved from Quirk in stoppage time as Silsden held on, almost grabbing a third when Luke Rhodes hit the post.

Despite the weather, it had been a classic with slick football and lots of chances.

Forrest was delighted with the victory and said: "It is testament to the lads' character and determination.

"Our discipline was spot on. We accepted responsibility and didn't get involved in any external factors that might affect us and we just cracked on with the job."

Silsden make a first visit to Potteries side Abbey Hulton United on Saturday

SILSDEN: Jakovlevs, Moses, Kendall, Kaine, Illingworth, Bentham, Barnes, Hancock (Rhodes 73), Wademan, Forrest (Everingham 72), Payne.