Silsden 2-2 Northwich Victoria

STEVE Wilkes rated Northwich Victoria’s performance in the first-half at Silsden on Wednesday as one of their best this season.

Goals from Kieran Kenny and Joel Brownhill established a two-goal lead by the break, but they could not prevent a comeback by the Cobbydalers afterwards.

“It was strange,” reflected the Vics boss.

“When we were walking off at half-time, I thought to myself that I can’t remember us playing better.

“Sadly we went from Barcelona to Rag Arse Rovers after that!”

The night belonged to teenage custodian Jonty Cottam, who made his debut for the first-team and is a graduate from Vics’ junior section.

The 16-year-old has improved steadily with guidance from goalkeeper coach Rob Sadler and has played a handful of games for Greenalls Padgate St Oswald’s in the Cheshire League to gain experience.

Wilkes said: “He showed a maturity beyond his years.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a goalkeeper that young start a game at this level, and he didn’t look out of place.”

However it was a young number one at the other end, Alife Darkes, who impressed first when he blocked Brownhill’s penalty after bringing down Darryhl Mason.

Vics were not to be denied for long and Kenny met a corner with a close-range header to put them in front.

They moved further ahead when Brownhill’s cross, intended for Mason, curled into the net without a touch from his teammate.

Silsden boss Danny Forrest came off the bench after the turnaround and halved his side’s arrears on 50 minutes with a perfectly-placed shot from the edge of the penalty area.

And he went one better shortly afterwards, looping the ball over Cottam from 40 yards to restore parity again at 2-2.

Harvey Whyte’s shot scraped an upright following a counter-attack before Wilkes sent on Dom Craig and Jordan Darr to try and disrupt the Cobbydalers’ momentum.

He said: “We were hanging on at the end.”

Silsden | Darke (GK), Moses, Everingham, Kaine, Illingworth, Bentham, McKiernon, Mitchell, Sorhaindo, Kirby, Wademan Subs not used Hardisty-Blackwell, Jakovlevs (GK), Darkin Goals Forrest 50, 53 Booked Illingworth, Mitchell, Wademan

Vics | Cottam (GK), Camozzi, Fleming, Winder, Kenny, Barski, Whyte, Clarke (Craig 67), Connolly, Brownhill (Pickup 90), Mason (Darr 67) Subs not used Fitzgerald, Taberner (GK) Goals Kenny 9, Brownhill 30

Referee Mark Powell

Attendance 146