Atherton LR 0 Silsden 0

SILSDEN were frustrated in their bid to edge their way closer to automatic promotion and lost their hold on top spot.

Litherland took over the leadership on goal difference after they won 1-0 at Alsager Town on Tuesday night.

With five games to go, both sides are locked on 94 points and the destiny of the title is set to go right down to the wire.

Crilly Park has never been a happy hunting ground for the Cobbydalers and they struggled again on a pitch with an erratic bounce.

Silsden never got into their usual fluent stride against a side that had lost its previous six games.

The Cobbydalers were out of the blocks quickly with Niall Sultan seeing his cross cleared for a corner.

Minutes later Callum Jakovlevs hit a long ball down the right to Aidan Kirby who crossed for Chris Wademan who was deceived by the bounce.

Kirby then latched onto a through ball from Reece Kendal, but he was well tackled by the impressive Lewis Welsh.

Atherton’s Ben Giverin shot wide before Josh Kaine broke up another attack. Kirby then headed straight at keeper Ben Purdham.

Ten minutes before the break the Rovers keeper hesitated when Kirby swung over a cross. Arley Barnes reached it but shot over. A cross from Matty Moses found Kirby, but on the uneven surface he couldn’t keep his shot down.

Kirby should have opened the scoring at the start of the second half but, having been released by Wademan, his touch was too heavy and Purdham was able to gather. Barnes then sent Mark Everingham free, but the shot was cleared for a corner.

Wademan broke through two tackles but with only the keeper to beat his effort was over the bar.

Silsden thought they had broken the with 10 minutes to go. Kirby netted but the assistant’s flag was raised.

With the Cobbydalers pushing men forwards Atherton sensed and upset might be on the cards but Jacovlevs denied Aaron Walmsley before two superb tackles by Kaine broke up two speedy attacks. Kendal broke up a three-on-one situation and Jakovlevs gathered a deep cross.

Silsden face a tricky test on Saturday when they visit third-placed Whitchurch Alport.

SILSDEN AFC: Jacovlevs, Moses, Kendall, Kaine, Bentham, Rhodes, Barnes (Illingworth 50), Sultan, Wademan (Hancock 66), Kirby, Everingham (Tomas 67) Subs not used: Lee, Davis.

ATHERTON LR: Purdham, Tomlinson, Grundy, Walmsley, Welsh, Aspinall, Scott, Butler, Perry, Randall, Giverin (Furey 88). Subs not used Ayele, Kidd.