Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Maltby Main 1-0 Silsden
Man of the moment Jonathan Hill headed home the first half winner to extend in-form Maltby Main’s unbeaten run to six games.
Hill was needed in Maltby’s attack rather than in goal for a Saturday fixture for the first time in three weeks and he came up trumps for them again.
From Maltby’s perspective, the very narrow victory at Muglet Lane was certainly nervier than it arguably should have been as Johnathan Williams also missed a first half penalty which would have given Silsden a mountain to climb.
Silsden defended extremely well throughout and their dangerous attack put Maltby under pressure at times. That was more prevalent in the second half and towards the end, the home side were clinging on and they had to show their grit and determination to get over the finish line with the three points.
It was not to be for Silsden who were crucially undone once when Mitch Dunne’s left-hand-side cross floated over to Hill at the far post whose magnificent leap allowed a downward header into the near post in the 16th minute. That was literally the difference.
Maltby then had a five minute period of dominance, but they failed to put their visitors well and truly on the back-foot.
The Main hit the post and in the ensuing scramble, Steve Hopewell went down from a ‘high foot’ from Miles Foley. Debatable is the operative word to describe the award of the penalty. Referee Chris Rose initially gave what the National Theatre critics would describe as a ‘convincing lead role performance’ as he blew for the penalty and pointed at the spot in a manner Mike Dean would have been proud of before spending over a minute adamantly telling the Silsden players he was definitely correct.
That unravelled and his award for best actor was withdrawn when he suddenly decided to double-check the decision with his assistant. The delay, and the referee’s subsequent lengthy insistence the ball wasn’t on the spot may have affected Williams whose low and hard spot kick cannoned back off the post and away from danger.
Attacking downfield in the second half breathed new life into Silsden who began causing their hosts issued. The front three of Khurram Shazad, Chris Wademan and Leon Hurles-Brook will ruffle many defences up and Maltby needed to be strong at the back.
Wademan was at the centre of Silsden’s two main chances. He hit the side-netting in the first. Hurles-Brook’s long range attempt or cross was then fumbled by returning goalkeeper Jim Pollard. Wademan pounced and his goal-bound effort was headed off-the-line by a home defender.
Aiden Nagi had Maltby’s best second half opportunity to kill Silsden off. With Danny Forrest sending up his big defenders to bolster the attack, Silsden understandably left gaps at the back and Nagi broke clear. His chance faded though when he went too far out wide after bearing down on goalkeeper Alfie Darke.
The jumpiness of Maltby manager Louis Axcell on the touchline told just how nervy and tense the finish was. With Silsden launching highly threatening high bombs forward in search of the equaliser, Axcell spent most of the four minutes of injury-time waving his phone in the air whilst pointing at it and shouting ‘come on ref, how long are we playing, you’ve had your four minutes’. When the final whistle finally went, he was certainly a relieved man.
What They Said
Maltby Main manager Louis Axcell
“Up until the penalty miss I thought we were the far better team. The lads were doing exactly what I expected, but then for some reason it was like a different set of eleven.
“We dropped our standards and we didn’t work hard enough and left ourselves fighting for a result at the end which we shouldn’t have been doing. We should have been comfortable.
“Saying that, we could have had three in the last ten minutes. It was tense and obviously when you’re 1-0 up you’re wanting the referee to blow his whistle. We’ve just said in there that it is probably the best three points of the season because we didn’t play very well.
“I think they could grumble that they deserved a point, but I don’t think they penetrated us and created chances. I think they had some possession second half, but our goalkeeper didn’t have a real deal to do. I would argue we had the better chances and probably edged the game over the 90. To be fair to them it was pretty close, but from our point of view we should have been out of sight, without a doubt.”
Silsden manager Danny Forrest
“It was a frustrating one. We knew coming to Maltby was going to be a tough physical ask because they have quality.
“We came to try and stop them and I felt we did. The first 15/20 minutes they put it on us and nicked the goal which had proved to be the difference. But I felt after that we pretty much dealt with them and had our chances to get something to get from the game which would have been deserved.
“We could have possibly created more chances, but that wasn’t for the want of trying. We changed the shape a little bit of effect that, but you have to remember they have good players at the back that probably nullified us.
“I feel we deserved and were worthy of at least a point. It is a little disappointing, but the work-rate, positive application and an ethic to work hard, that’s what we expect every week and they’ve set the standard and we expect that every week now.”
Maltby Main: Pollard, Cutts, McGowan (Smith 62), Morton, Austin, Beatson, Fletcher (Chipps 75), Williams, Hopewell (Nagi 57), Dunne, Hill.
Silsden: Darke, Barnes, Parsons (Pownall 65), Kaine, Airey, Foley, Maltby, Mitchell, Wademan (Thompson 65), Shazad (Fox 73), Hurles-Brook. Subs unused: Hudson, Morgan.
Who Was In Charge
Chris Rose (6/10)
How Many Were There
Man of the Match
Connor Cutts (Maltby Main)