Silsden AFC 1 v 2 Prestwich Heys (Pre-Season Friendly)
The Cobbydale Construction Stadium saw the start of the 2021-22 season this weekend as Silsden AFC entertained Hallmark Security Premier League team Prestwich Heys in the first pre-season friendly of the season. Danny Forrest (Manager) included two trialists in the matchday squad, whilst the visitors included former Silsden midfielder Niall Sultan.
Supporters also returned to the stadium with around fifty attending the match including Roy Mason manager of North West Counties League Division One (North) Steeton. It was a fairly even start to the match with Silsden having slight more possession, then on four minutes following a good move down the right the ball was crossed into the six yard box but there was no one following in and the ball went to safety.
On eight minutes, Silsden won a free-kick thirty-five yards from goal in a central position, however the free-kick was crossed into the area towards the back post and was cleared by the Prestwich Heys defence. Naill Sultan made some excellent runs down the left-wing in the opening fifteen minutes, forcing Sammy Lee into a good save on twelve minutes.
Prestwich Heys, almost took the lead on fifteen minutes when an attempt on goal by Jack Coop was deflected and fell into the path of Sam Dickinson who attempted a scorpion kick from three yards out, but he failed to connect fully with the ball which went across the six yard box and out for a goal kick.
Silsden should have taken the lead on twenty-two minutes following an excellent move that was well saved by Saunders in the Prestwich goal. The resulting out-swinging corner fell to Craig Billington who fired a half volley towards goal from ten yards, but his effort rattled the Prestwich crossbar before flying to safety with keeper Saunders well beaten.
Silsden AFC took the lead on twenty-five minutes, when right-back Arley Branes collected the ball and made his way to the byline before crossing the ball to the far post where Craig Billington headed the ball home passed Saunders in the Prestwich goal from three yards to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
The visitors responded well to going a goal down with a promising attack on twenty-eight minutes. An excellent run by Niall Sultan down the left was pulled back to the edge of the area where the ball eventually fell to Anthony Hall, but his powerful shot went high over Sammy Lee’s crossbar and out for a goal kick.
On thirty-three minutes, Prestwich Heys won a corner which was taken by Anthony Hall, the ball was collected by Jack Coop who laid it off to a trialist at the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked by the Silsden defence and cleared away to safety.
The final effort of the first-half fell to the home side when Joe Jagger collected the ball on the right-wing and cut inside the defenders before unleashing a shot from the right-hand corner of the area. The shot was turned around the post for a corner by Russell Saunders in the Prestwich goal, the resulting corner came to nothing leaving the half-time score 1-0.
Both teams had a number of new players and trialists available on the bench and at half time each side made one change. Silsden changed goalkeepers with Sammy Lee being replaced by Paul Day, whilst the visitors replaced Anthony Hall for Jamie Hill.
Silsden started the second-half the stronger of the two teams and had a chance to extend their lead in the opening minute of the half. Russell Saunders was called on immediately to deny Joe Jagger who had a free header inside the six yard box, but Saunders was equal to the attempt and turned it over the crossbar for a corner.
On fifty-one minutes, Slisden won a free-kick in an excellent position just outside the area in the centre of the pitch. Joe Jagger stepped up and fired low through the wall but once again Russell Saunders was well positioned and gathered the ball up with a good save.
Prestwich Heys should have levelled the scores on the hour mark when Oli Scott slipped the ball through the Silsden defence to find Jack Coop clean though on goal with only the keeper to bet. Silsden goalkeeper Paul Day rushed off his line and closed down the angle before saving the effort with his legs and deflecting the ball for a corner.
The visitors were not starting to get on top and had two efforts at goal in the space of four minutes. Niall Sultan created the first chance crossing from the right-wing which found Jamie Hill inside the area, but his volley went over the crossbar without troubling Paul Day in the home goal. The second chance also fell to Jamie Hill, his low drive from the edge of the box was fumbled by Paul Day in the Silsden goal, but he managed to gather it at the second attempt.
On seventy minutes, the first controversial decision of the new season as Khurram Shazad went down inside the area after being tripped by a Prestwich Heys defender. However, the referee waved away the appeals and allowed play to continue. The visitors went straight up the pitch and had a shot that went just wide of the left-hand post by Jamie Hill who was getting really involved in the match.
After being substituted at half-time Anthony Hall returned to the match on seventy-two minutes replacing former Silsden midfielder Niall Sultan. Just six minutes later he found Jack Coop on the right-wing, he cut onto his left foot and fired the ball into the far corner passed Paul Day into the goal to make the score 1-1.
In the final ten minutes, the visitors were now will on top and should have taken the lead as a number Prestwich players had shots blocked inside the Silsden area, before the home side managed to scramble the ball away to safety.
The second controversial decision of the match came on eighty-four minutes and this decision changed the result of the match. Jack Coop broke through the Silsden defence before running clear on goal only to be dragged down on the edge of the Silsden penalty area. The referee awarded a free-kick, before being called over to the linesman who advised the referee to overturn the decision and award a penalty. Jack Coop stepped up and coolly converted from twelve yards to make the final score 1-2.
Silsden AFC manager Danny Forrest will have been disappointed with the display in the final twenty minutes, Silsden AFC will continue their pre-season campaign with a home game on the 6th July 2021 at the Cobbydale Construction Stadium against Ilkley Town.
Silsden AFC – Lee, Barnes, Parsons, Hancock, Bentham, Mitchell, Qasim, Trialist A, Jagger, Shazad, Billington (Subs) Trialist B, Ahmed, Day, Keane, Gardner, Hartley
Prestwich Heys – Saunders, Rothwell, Trialist A, Potts, Emery, Sixsmith, Trialist B, Dickinson, Hall, Coop, Sultan (Subs) Cookson, Hill, Scott, Share, Strong, Trialist C
Goals – (Silsden) Billingham (25) (Prestwich Heys) Hall (78), Coop (84)