Silhill 1sts 0, St Francis 0
Now unbeaten in seven AFA Premier Division matches since March 12, relegation battlers Silhill showed further resilence on Saturday in a scoreless draw at home to third-in-the-table Oldbury outfit St Francis.
Fit Sils maintained a surprisingly fast tempo, tight discipline and kept the bulk of possession throughout, despite the hot sun which left St Francis visibly panting.
In the first 45, Malcolm Ward crossed, Andy McDonagh ran on to provide a telling assist and Jamie Rathbone headed fractionally over the St Francis crossbar.
Also in that half, the ever dangerous David Icke headed over the bar from McDonagh’s inspirational approach.
33 minutes into the second period, Darren Lea rattled the lefthand upright from an attack down Sils’ left.
Justin Perry hit just wide two minutes later, and on another occasion his low yet venomously hit freekick was amazingly saved by the St Francis glovesman Steven Jenkins, who got down to it expertly.
Sils’ other close scoring shots accrued to the hard-working duo of James Davis and Nick Spencer, and to their substitutes Ben Adams and Jack Shephard in the final quarter-of-an-hour.
Although Sils’ centre midfield iron man and skipper Darren Lea was voted as man-of-the-match for his renowned ball winning and distribution skills, not far behind on Saturday was his rivets-for-breakfast rightback and pace ace Andy McDonagh, who was continually storming from defence down the right wing to arrow in deadly crosses behind the visitors’ defence.
The man-of-the-match accolade for St Francis went to their imposing centre half Nathan Westbury.
Nevertheless their team captain for the first time and goalkeeper Steven Jenkins, son of team bosses Neil and Sue, was equally impressive in holding onto any of Silhill’s corners and hopeful strikes that came anywhere within his range.