Town made the long journey up in to the beautiful Yorkshire dales through a deluge of cloud and heavy showers.
The temperature was recorded at just 4 degrees, it felt like -4. Made of stern stuff these welcoming Yorkshire folk The pitch just playable with lots of surface water, rain continued throughout the 1st half making conditions difficult.
Town settled quickly and despite the missing regulars they dominated possession creating a number of half chances.
Gardner chased a lost cause forcing Silsden keeper Eddie Hall to hurry his clearance the ball fell to McShane who hit it first time towards the open goal but his shot lacked power and was recovered by a thankful Hall.
Toone was next with a powerful free kick from 25yds that Hall gathered safely.
Some clever footwork by Gardner created an opening but he was closed down by defenders before he could shoot.
Silsden responded and McNally hit a good shot that was rising as it cleared the crossbar.
McNulty tried his luck but his shot deflected off Toone making an easy save for Town keeper Plant.
Keddie fed a perfect ball through to Gardner who turned and hit a low shot that Hall held at the second attempt.
The conditions were getting worse and the Silsden secretary commented the referee would not have started the game had this had come down before kick off. Both teams handled the conditions well however and the pitch did not cut up.
When Gardner dispossessed Silsden centre half Fagan, the crowd were shouting for a foul, the referee waived play on, Town's centre forward pulled the ball back to Shanley who had his shot deflected for a corner.
From the resultant corner Town took the lead in the 27th min, Guest took the corner, Hall could only palm the ball away in to the path of Mark Keddie who hammered it 1st time into the net through a crowded 6yd area.
The floodlights came on to lighten the dull misty conditions as the weather detererated.
Shanley crossed to McShane who hit the post as Town looked for a second goal.
Silsden responded Storrie having a great run down the right, Gibson doing well to hack his cross for a corner.
From the corner Plant went low to his right to hold onto a header from Crabtree.
Silsden were now having there best part of the game, a powerful shot by Hargreaves was well saved by Plant then Guest was Town's saviour when he cleared the ball off his own goal line with Plant beaten.
HALF TIME: SILSDEN 0 - 1 RUNCORN TOWN As the 2nd half started the sun broke through but the rain continued to hammer down. I don't know what the temperature was now but it felt a lot colder than earlier at kick off.
Town doubled there lead in the 48th min., Shanley crossed to Andy Potter who volleyed it into the roof of the net.
Some neat play by Silsden's Dale resulted in a ball that had just to much pace on it, Plant gathering it safely.
A long range effort by Hill tested Plant who held on to the slippy ball as forwards waited eagerly for a rebound.
Shanley who was now back to his usual form following his long lay off raced clear down the right from his pinpoint cross Breen fired wide of an open goal.
Town got 3rd goal in the 68th min, Shanley hit a shot that came back off the upright straight into the path of James McShane who struck it first time into the roof of the net from 10yds. Town further increased their lead in the 72min, the goal proved to be the goal of the game resulting when from a free kick by Hill, Spearritt headed the ball for a corner, from the corner Plant caught the ball and threw it to Toone, he immediately found Guest in space who in turn fed Shanley, in one continuous movement the ball was passed to James McShane who fired it past Hall into the bottom corner.
Silsden to their credit and fitness did not lie down and finished the game strongly, Deakin-Pickard had a shot saved by Plant, Dale then hit the post following a pinpoint pass from McGowan, then from a McKenzie cross Deakin-Pickard saw his shot pushed onto the post by Plant. McGowan headed over the crossbar when unmarked.
Town were being forced to defend and Plant was clearly enjoying his late involvement in the game.
The last action of the match saw a tremendous shot from Hargreaves hit the crossbar.
FULL TIME: SILSDEN 0 - 4 RUNCORN TOWN SILSDEN 1 Edward Hall, 2 Moses, 3 Hargreaves, 4 McGowan, 5 Fagan, 6 Hill [c], 7 McNulty, 8 Crabtree, 9 McNally, 10 Storrie, 11 Lynch. Subs: 12 Joe Hall, 14 Deakin-Pickard, 15 Dale.
RUNCORN TOWN: 1 Plant, 2 Dalton [c], 3 Toone, 4 Guest, 5 Gibson, 6 Spearritt, 7 Shanley, 8 Keddie, 9 Gardner, 10 McShane, 11 Potter. Subs: 12 Breen, 14 Edwards, 15 Irlam, 16 Salt, 17 Burton.
Goals: 8 Mark Keddie, 11 Andy Potter, 10 James McShane x 2.
Referee: Mr M. Foster. Assisitants: Mr J. Starkie and Mr C. Duval Attendance: 127.