From sub­lime night to real off day for Lin­nets

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Theguide -

RUN­CORN LIN­NETS ................................. 5 WINSFORD UNITED ................................. 0

IN the Weekly News the day be­fore (as well as the match pro­gramme) Run­corn Lin­nets manager Michael El­li­son told of how he had de­manded a re­sponse from his play­ers af­ter last week’s dis­ap­point­ing re­sult in the FA Cup.

What he got was a re­sponse of epic pro­por­tions as his men turned in an at­tack­ing mas­ter­class to send Winsford back down the M6 on the end of a 5-0 thump­ing.

The Mill­bank Lin­nets Sta­dium was host­ing its first-ever Fri­day night match and the bumper crowd of al­most 400 was treated to an ex­cel­lent evening’s foot­ball in lovely Au­gust evening warmth.

The score­line sug­gests a walk in the park for Lin­nets but that was far from the case with Winsford match­ing the hosts for much of the first half.

Nei­ther team cre­ated much in the way of early clear-cut chances de­spite a glit­ter­ing dis­play of high-paced, slick, at­tack­ing foot­ball, the de­fences of both sides com­ing out on top.

Lin­nets came close to scor­ing a con­tender for own goal of the sea­son when Kieran Nolan scooped a pass back to Terry Smith from 20 yards away. This looked as though it might drop un­der the cross­bar but the goal­keeper did well to scram­ble the ball clear and to safety.

Winsford’s stub­born rear­guard was breached on 36 min­utes when Paul Shan­ley sent Mike Simp­son away down the right wing, and his per­fect low cross took both goal­keeper and de­fence out of the game to al­low Callum Lucy to vol­ley in at the far post.

Lin­nets went about seiz­ing con­trol of ● Callum Lucy cel­e­brates his first half dou­ble for Run­corn Lin­nets against Winsford United last Fri­day evening. the match and dealt the vis­i­tors a crush­ing blow in the sec­ond minute of firsthalf stop­page time.

Lucy blud­geoned his way into the penalty area through a seem­ingly im­pen­e­tra­ble wall of blue and un­leashed an ex­plo­sive left-footed drive that Winsford goal­keeper Michael Lan­g­ley got both hands on but could not even alter the flight of the ball.

Winsford would have been sat in the dress­ing room won­der­ing how they were two goals be­hind, but it was to get much worse for them.

Much of the early sec­ond half was an at­tri­tional af­fair with nei­ther side cre­at­ing any chances of note, but this changed with 25 min­utes to go when Paul Shan­ley found space on the right and his cross to the near post was slot­ted home by sub­sti­tute Stu­art Well­stead.

With Winsford heads now dropped, the hosts went about clos­ing the game out in style. An­thony Hickey, on as an early sub­sti­tute for the in­jured Zac Aley, got his name on the score­sheet with 15 min­utes re­main­ing. Shan­ley found space again on the right of the penalty area and served up an­other per­fect cen­tre into the path of the on-rush­ing Hickey, who beat the goal­keeper to score the fourth goal of the night.

The fi­nal goal was both cre­ated and scored by sec­ond half sub­sti­tutes.

Vice-cap­tain Mark Houghton was the fi­nal sub­sti­tute of the con­test and he helped to set up the goal from the right side of the penalty area.

Houghton’s cross was con­trolled by Well­stead, whose touch and shoul­der drop took two de­fend­ers out of the game. He then ri­fled the ball past Lan­g­ley to score a classy sec­ond him­self and bring a thor­oughly sat­is­fy­ing and en­ter­tain­ing evening to a close.

There were sim­ply no neg­a­tives to take from this per­for­mance. The de­fen­sive unit did all that was asked of it, which was more than the score­line sug­gests, but in at­tack the Lin­nets were ab­so­lutely dev­as­tat­ing. It’s not of­ten that you see chances con­verted so clin­i­cally at this level and in­deed sev­eral lev­els above.

What was es­pe­cially pleas­ing was the dis­play of strength in squad depth, with all three sub­sti­tutes adding sig­nif­i­cantly to the game and be­ing di­rectly in­volved in three of the goals. SO from the highs of Fri­day evening, Lin­nets plum­meted to the lows of Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day af­ter­noon as they crashed to a dread­ful 4-0 de­feat to a ram­pant West Dids­bury & Chorl­ton out­fit.

A straight red card shown to Lin­nets de­fender Tom Hard­wick for use of an el­bow added to the mis­ery for Michael El­li­son’s men. By the time Hard­wick de­parted just be­fore the in­ter­val, Lin­nets were al­ready three goals down as Saul Hen­der­son with a brace and Nic Evan­geli­nos all found the net.

Hen­der­son com­pleted his hat-trick early in the sec­ond half and it was to Run­corn’s credit that they shipped no fur­ther goals from that point.

El­li­son will cer­tainly be look­ing for a rapid and very pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from his play­ers this Satur­day when they en­ter­tain Padi­ham at the Mill­bank Lin­nets Sta­dium (kick-off 3pm).

James Eastup

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