What a difference a day makes so goes the song, but in Chaddy's case it was what a difference 180 minutes makes, as the benefit of the 2 games that Silsden AFC have played more than Chaddy at this early stage of the season was evident and the Cobbydalers greater match fitness was key in their 0-2 win.
Let's not beat about the bush, this was a hard fought win for Silsden AFC, and how much it meant was evidenced by the scenes on the bench when they scored their second goal, and the celebrations in the away dressing room after the game.
Chaddy were without Chris Pauley, Leon Iluobe, Mike Smith, Grant Marshall, Devon Matthews, Craig Schumann, Jordan Anderson, Tim Astley, Andy Bainbridge for this clash against a side who had P4 W4 as their record going into the game, so it was always going to be a challenge, especially in the unfamiliar surroundings of Atherton Collieries AFC.
Chadderton kicked off playing up the slope, both teams set about the game at fast pace, clearly both hungry for the 3 points a win would bring. There was no clear cut chances until 15 minutes when Danny Havern was called upon to make a good save, Chaddy then went up the other end and Tom Hughes had a half chance from a corner which Silsden AFC had conceded. 5 minutes later and Luke Heron had a curling left foot shot that went close to giving Chadderton the lead. We saw Silsden come into the game much more, forcing Chadderton onto the back foot and bring the defence into play, young James Dwyer again having a great game at the heart of the Chaddy defence. Chaddy's keeper Dan Havern was now called into action and made a fine save with his left hand to stop a goal bound effort. Another Silsden attack led to them hitting the woodwork and then almost on half-time Dan Havern again made a good save from a chip after a slip-up by the normally reliable Dom Welsby. It was a high tempo first half, with not much between the two sides, Silsden having had the better chances to score, with Mikey Moss running his legs off at the spearhead of the Chaddy attack. HT : 0-0
The 2nd half started where we left off, action packed and Tom Hughes tried his luck with a shot to no avail. On 54 mins Silsden made a change and this succeeded in giving them a boost as they attacked and dragged a shot just past the left hand post. 59 minutes saw a good chance for Chaddy, Gaz Hill finally getting a chance to come forward for his trademark attacks into the box, he made a lovely run and finished with a shot that flew just wide of the Silsden post.
The game had become like a quality boxing match, with two tough opponents giving as good as they got. On 70 mins the break through finally came, and went the way of Silsden AFC. Some nice play saw ex-Chadderton striker Niall Sultan through and he curled a neat finish to the left past Dan Havern ; 0-1 to the visitors. This Chadderton team as we have said before, has team spirit in abundance and heads never go down and they went again to try and grab the goal that would get us back into the game. At this point the superb Dale Minor was booked for dissent as a rare mistake from Gaz Hill saw saw a shot saved to his left by Dan Havern.
On 75 minutes Tank made a final change to try and get us back into the game, we went 3 at the back pushing an extra man forward to help the tireless Mikey Moss. Dom Welsby came off and Mark Howard threw Nathan Quinlan into the game to reinforce the attack and try to get something from the game. Then just on the 80th minute, Chadderton captain Vinny Howell made one of those rare mistakes of judgement that often lead to a goal, a misplaced pass went straight to a Silsden AFC player, who dribbled through the Chaddy defence before crashing in his shot, cue scenes on the Silsden bench as they celebrated the likely matchwinner. 0-2
Chadderton responded with a shot from Luke Heron which was gathered by the Silsden keeper. The final whistle blew, and it was handshakes all round for what had been a gripping encounter. Silsden having the only 100% record have clearly started on fire, but a Chaddy team with faces missing had given them plenty to think about, and had made the visitors fight for every ball and blade of grass.
So P3 W1 D1 L1 tells a story, but not a complete one, the football played at Litherland REMYCA being possibly the best the team has played since Mark Howard's arrival merited a victory, and Silsden had been made to fight for the 3 points.
We now finally get some rhythm going with games, and 2 away trips to Eccleshall and Daisy Hill on Saturday and Monday, offer us a chance to carry our form into these games and turn it into the points it so richly deserves.
The attendance was a fantastic 87, and thanks to every one who came over from Chadderton and north Manchester for this one. Of course many, many thanks to Atherton Collieries FC for helping us stage this 'home' game whilst our pitch and floodlights are upgraded.