REPORT: Widnes 1-0 Silsden
Towey winner lifts Widnes into automatic promotion places
A 68th minute minute winner from top scorer Kev Towey lifted Widnes into second in the Hallmark Security League First Division as they beat Silsden 1-0 at the Select Security Stadium.
The Whites knew that a victory against the Cobbydalers would see Joey Dunn’s side climb into the automatic promotion places for the first time under Dunn’s stewardship with five games to play.
It looked likely as Widnes were awarded a penalty with less than a minute on the clock, but Towey’s spot-kick was saved by Silsden ‘keeper Callum Jakovlevs.
With the game finely poised at 0-0, Towey redeemed for his penalty miss as he found what proved to be the winner as Widnes stretched their current run of form to nine consecutive league victories.
Manager Dunn named an unchanged lineup from Saturday’s 8-0 win over St Helens Town. He did however welcome back duo River Humphreys and Kev Pollard who were both unavailable for the victory over Widnes’ local rivals.
Inside the opening minute, Widnes were given a chance to get off to a flying start as they were awarded a penalty.
Towey was pulled down in the area by Silsden defender Daniel Illingworth in the area, leaving referee James Morgan with little choice but to point to the spot and show Illingworth a yellow card.
Towey stepped up, only to see his spot-kick beaten away by a decent Jakovlevs save.
From that point onwards, both teams settled into a rhythm as Widnes found it difficult to break down a well-organised Silsden outfit.
Alex Davies did well to get in behind the Cobbydalers’ back four but Matthew Moses made a superb challenge to take the ball wide for a corner that eventually came to nothing.
Towey then came close to an opener as he cleverly turned his man only to see his shot blocked by a decent Jakovlevs saved.
Silsden grew into the half as it went on and enjoyed a good spell following the half-hour mark. Midfielder Joshua Eastwood was given time and space to surge forward only to fire an effort wide of the post.
However, Widnes ended the half strongly. Davies turned inside and out to engineer space for a cross that was glanced wide by George Lomax inside of the six-yard area. Tom Mitchell then headed a Luke J Edwards cross wide, before Towey couldn’t quite grab an elusive touch to divert a clever Sam Sheen towards goal.
‘Keeper Jakovlevs was called into action inside first-half stoppage time. Josh Kaine’s wayward header released Lomax through on-goal. The Silsden shot-stopper raced out from his goal and produced a miraculous save to pluck the ball out of mid-air and away to safety.
Halftime: Widnes 0-0 Silsden
Both teams looked cagey in the opening stages of the second half but it was the hosts who had the first opening.
Winger Davies cut inside from the left and fired inches wide of the post with a 25-yard effort that would have had Jakovlevs beaten had it been on target.
Silsden’s resistance was finally broken midway through the second-half as Widnes took the lead.
Midfielder Sheen burst forward and bullied his way into the area. He kept possession of the ball and rolled it into the feet of Towey, who held off the challenge of Kaine before finding the bottom corner with a neat finish.
Towey’s goal was his 38th of the season, and Widnes’ 100th league goal of the campaign.
The hosts almost added an instant second. Towey turned provider as he threaded a well-weighted ball through to Lomax who looked certain to score but Jakovlevs produced a stunning save to tip the striker’s effort on to the crossbar and over for a corner.
Pollard and Humphreys were both introduced late on as Widnes looked to see the game out.
Dunn’s side had a chance to seal it late on as the ball fell to Lomax on the edge of the D in acres of space deep into second half stoppage time. However, the striker could only curl his effort over the bar but it mattered little, as Widnes held on for a massive three points.
Fulltime: Widnes 1-0 Silsden
Next up for Widnes is a Easter Weekend double-header. Joey Dunn’s side host second-bottom Eccleshall at the Select Security Stadium on Saturday before travelling to Chadderton on Bank Holiday Monday.