Town still set­ting the pace with more wins

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Sport - IRLAM.......................................................... 2 RUN­CORN TOWN ...................................... 3

UN­DE­FEATED Run­corn Town bagged their 14th vic­tory from 15 games in the Hall­mark Se­cu­rity League Premier Di­vi­sion last Satur­day with a 3-2 suc­cess at Irlam and still re­main the team to beat.

Danny Ec­cles be­came Town’s fourth goal­keeper in four matches as in­juries forced man­ager Chris Her­bert to shuf­fle his squad once again for this clash.

An early move up the left in­volv­ing Joe Holt pro­duced a cross that Craig Cairns hit forc­ing a full length save from Irlam goal­keeper Lee White.

Six min­utes were on the watch when Run­corn took the lead. Tom Craw­ford out wide on the right touch­line fed a per­fect ball to Shaun Dowl­ing who car­ried it for­ward be­fore hit­ting a low shot into the bot­tom corner from fully 25 yards.

Irlam re­sponded and Mark McGregor did well to clear a corner un­der tremen­dous pres­sure from Liam Mor­ri­son and Steven Mills.

The home team were press­ing and equalised in the 11th minute when Ma­cauley Hare­wood curled a cross into the Run­corn six-yard box be­hind Chris Rim­mer for Joel Amado to side-foot home.

Run­corn re­sponded and when Mark Reed headed the ball onto Cairns, the striker turned his marker and crossed into the area where Craw­ford was beaten to the loose ball by Ryan Led­son who hacked it clear for a throw-in.

Some good foot­work from Mor­ri­son on the edge of the penalty area re­sulted in a shot that Ec­cles at full length turned for an un­pro­duc­tive corner. It was an ex­cel­lent save from the goal­keeper.

Soon after, a free-kick from McManus fell to Craw­ford, in space, in the penalty area but the mid­fielder volleyed the ball just over the cross­bar.

Kevin Ex­ell and Cairns then com­bined for the for­mer to fire a fierce shot straight at White who held on to the ball.

Irlam had looked the more dan­ger­ous and they took the lead in the 30th minute when Jor­dan Icely took the ball across the Run­corn de­fen­sive line un­chal­lenged be­fore hit­ting a low shot into the bot­tom corner from 18 yards.

Run­corn came back and a tremen­dous shot from Holt de­flected off Mor­ri­son for a corner.

Cairns then put Michael Car­berry through on goal but White came quickly off his line to smother the ball at the feet of the Run­corn full-back. ●

In added-on time at the end of the half, Craw­ford and Holt com­bined to set up McManus but the mid­fielder’s shot flew well wide of the tar­get.

Trail­ing 2-1 head­ing into the sec­ond pe­riod, Run­corn cre­ated an early chance.

Fol­low­ing some in­ter-pass­ing be­tween Holt and Cairns, the ball found its way to Craw­ford who blasted goal­wards but his shot was still ris­ing as it cleared the cross­bar.

How­ever, 10 min­utes into the half, Run­corn were level.

Craw­ford found McManus on the edge of the area. McManus fired in a shot that bounced awk­wardly just in front of White. The keeper got his body be­tween the ball and his goal but Cairns was on hand to pounce be­fore White could re­spond and knock the ball into the net.

Irlam then forced Run­corn to de­fend a se­ries of cor­ners as they pressed for­ward and the visi­tors did well to stand up and not con­cede at this point with the de­fence su­perbly mar­shalled by standin cen­tre-back McGregor.

The game’s piv­otal goal came in the 69th minute. Car­berry played Cairns in on the dead-ball line. The ball looped over White to the un­marked Mark Reed who headed home on the back post.

A long-range ef­fort from Irlam sub­sti­tute Malachi Slaven flew wide of the tar­get as Irlam pressed for­ward look­ing for a late equaliser.

Run­corn, how­ever, de­fended well and saw out the re­main­der of the game to bag them­selves an­other max­i­mum haul of points. RUN­CORN TOWN ...................................... 1 HAN­LEY TOWN ......................................... 0 A DRA­MATIC last minute penalty coolly con­verted by Paul McManus en­sured Run­corn Town col­lected the three points at home to Han­ley Town last Wed­nes­day evening at Pavil­ions.

Han­ley started the game strongly and Run­corn’s debu­tant keeper, 16-year-old Ge­orge Williams was called into early ac­tion con­fi­dently cut­ting out a crossed high ball from Michael Con­lon. A fierce shot from Jon Shel­don was then tipped onto the an­gle by the ag­ile keeper.

Run­corn re­sponded and Joe Holt creat­ing an open­ing for Craig Cairns who blasted the ball high over the cross­bar.

Han­ley mid­fielder Andy Ni­cholls did like­wise from the edge of the penalty area be­fore some in­tri­cate foot­work shown by team­mate Theo Stair cre­ated an open­ing that again re­sulted in a shot fly­ing high over the Run­corn bar.

The game was be­ing played at a tremen­dous pace with the Run­corn de­fence do­ing well to re­pel the visi­tors’ at­tacks.

As the half pro­gressed Run­corn be­gan to threaten. A pow­er­ful shot by Mark Reed was de­flected for a corner. From the flag-kick, Han­ley did well to clear the ball from within a crowded goal area.

Shortly after, Run­corn had a pair of penalty ap­peals turned down. Cairns first ap­peared to fouled by Josh Thorpe. The Run­corn striker re­gained his bal­ance only to be felled by Han­ley goal­keeper Dane Jack­son as he at­tempted to block the ball. Ref­eree Carl Rooney, how­ever, saw noth­ing wrong with the chal­lenges.

Run­corn had an early op­por­tu­nity at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod when they were awarded a di­rect free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. How­ever, Tom Craw­ford’s dip­ping shot was frac­tion­ally too high.

At the other end, good play from Stair re­sulted in a shot that flew over the bar.

A short cross from Keiran Evans then found Mark Reed who flicked the ball into space in the penalty area. How­ever, none of his team­mates had read the sit­u­a­tion and the ball was cleared.

A short back-pass by Danny Jar­rett put pres­sure on Williams. The teenage goal­keeper’s clear­ance was charged down by Stair. The ball re­bounded be­fore rolling nar­rowly wide of the goal.

Han­ley threat­ened as the match en­tered its clos­ing stages. A shot from Ni­cholls took a wicked de­flec­tion off Jar­rett but Williams ad­justed his po­si­tion to cover the goal­bound ball.

With 90 min­utes played, Cairns was fouled. Run­corn pushed ev­ery­one for­ward, and as the ball was lofted into the area by Michael Car­berry, Thorpe and Shel­don both barged into the back of Chris Rim­mer to pre­vent him at­tack­ing the ball and match ref­eree Rooney im­me­di­ately awarded a penalty.

McManus duly stepped for­ward to ham­mer the ball into the net to se­cure three more valu­able points.

Paul Wat­son

Craig Cairns cel­e­brates ( front) after team­mate Paul McManus ( be­hind) net­ted a late penalty to win the points for Run­corn Town in their clash with Han­ley Town at Pavil­ions last Wed­nes­day night.

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