Cairns sends Barlick to sleep at Silentnight
BARNOLDSWICK TOWN ......................... 0 RUNCORN TOWN ...................................... 1 SOLITARY goal from master marksman Craig Cairns was the difference as Runcorn Town bagged maximum spoils from their trip high in the Pennines to Barnoldswick Town last Saturday afternoon.
Runcorn started the game well and an early chance fell to Cairns who stabbed the ball past Barlick keeper Connor King but a quick recovery by Shaun Airey cleared the danger.
Barlick then attacked and a low driven cross from Joel Melia was hacked clear by centre-back Chris Rimmer.
At the other end, a cross from Simon Thelwell found Cairns who nodded the ball towards teammate Mark Reed but Jonathan Hodgkinson read the situation well and headed away.
Soon after, a powerful shot from Runcorn left-back Michael Carberry caused King to mishandle, but the goalkeeper recovered quickly to grab hold of the loose ball.
Barlick’s Melia then cut inside and shot goalwards, his fierce strike parried well by Runcorn keeper Andy Metcalf.
The home side were pressing at this stage and goalbound efforts from Zack Dale and Melia were both blocked.
With the perfect response, the game’s pivotal moment came on 17 minutes.
A long clearance by Metcalf was headed on by Thelwell to Cairns who immediately lobbed the ball goalwards over King who, despite a desperate effort, was unable to keep it out of the net.
Runcorn immediately looked for a second goal and a free-kick from Marcus James was powerfully headed goalwards by Thelwell bringing a good save from King.
Barlick responded and a tremendous 25-yard volley from Jake Lloyd was still rising as it cleared the crossbar, much to the relief of Metcalf.
Cairns then had a goal disallowed following a narrow offside decision by the assistant referee who was well placed to make the call.
In the last minute of the half a freekick from Runcorn’s Keiran Evans failed to beat the first Barlick defender who headed the ball clear as referee Martin
A● Ashworth blew for half-time.
The second period opened with Cairns and Reed causing major problems to the Barlick defence.
Cairns drove a cross in and Barlick right-back Liam Blades did well heading the ball to safety.
Melia, operating down the right, looked very lively for Barlick but his centre was not pulled back sufficiently and Metcalf held onto the ball averting any trouble.
Barlick continued to press and a through-ball to striker Mark Threlfall produced a lob that flew over Metcalf’s crossbar.
It was proving to be an excellent advert for Hallmark Security League football with two evenly-matched teams playing some good stuff, fully appreciated by the spectators at the Silentnight Stadium.
Runcorn then pressed and a superb move started by Joe Holt involving Paul McManus and Cairns ended when Evans’ netbound shot was blocked by an outstretched boot from Barlick left-back James Crorken inside his own penalty area.
A tremendous volley from Holt then struck Hodgkinson before rebounding to safety.
As time began to run down for Barnoldswick, Melia’s cross was only just too high for Threlfall. The home team were pressing forward at every opportunity and Runcorn were forced to defend in some depth.
Rimmer blocked, James cleaned up loose balls and both full-backs received extra help from midfield in an impres- sive defensive display to end the match.
But you always get a late chance and in the final minute of stoppage time, a cross from Melia found the unmarked Barlick substitute Ben Gorman who headed just inches wide of an open goal.
Runcorn were last night hoping to build on their perfect start to their league campaign with a home match against Northwich Victoria. Chris Herbert’s side then travel to Squires Gate this Saturday (kick-off 3pm) before playing host to Bootle at Pavilions next Wednesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm) for what promises to be an entertaining clash.
Craig Cairns was Runcorn Town’s match-winner at Barnoldswick Town last Saturday afternoon.