North West Counties League

Premier Division

Silsden 1

Whitchurch Alport 2

What is it about games involving Silsden and Whitchurch Alport? The sides have played each other six times since Alport joined the league, and on each occasion the away team has taken all three points.

The Reds took the lead after just eight minutes from the penalty spot after a handball offence in the area. Cool marksman Alex Hughes casually stroked the ball into the bottom corner of the net, but Joe Gaughan levelled for the home side just seven minutes later with a ferocious shot that crashed against the underside of the crossbar, bouncing into the net off the back of the unfortunate Dave Parton in Alport’s goal.

And when the winner came midway through the second half it came from the unlikeliest of sources.

Leon Ashman grabbed his first goal for the club by sticking out a leg in the six yard box to convert Hughes’ low cross into the danger zone.

This was the proverbial game of two halves with the hosts having the best of the first 45 and Alport undoubtedly the better side after the break. Player manager Luke Goddard restored himself to the starting XI after a five-month absence and there was also a welcome return for skipper Simon Everall who hadn’t played since November.

Arron Johns had been left on the bench for this match but once he was introduced, Whitchurch began to impose themselves. He dragged a shot wide of the near post but minutes later the winning goal arrived when Ashman pounced with a real poacher’s goal. It was celebrated wildly with all 10 outfield players joining in.

This wasn’t winning ugly in the true sense, although Alport had to dig deep to protect their lead.

This was chalk and cheese compared with last week’s outing on the Fylde coast, defensively and offensively.

And few would argue that Alport deserved to start 2019 with a very welcome away win against last year’s first division champions.