Tro­phy woe but Lin­nets do stay at the sum­mit

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - In Business -

ATHER­TON COL­LIERIES ......................... 4 RUN­CORN LIN­NETS ................................. 2

RUN­CORN LIN­NETS’ maiden voy­age in the Build­base FA Tro­phy ended on Satur­day with­out ever re­ally started.

Their wretched form in cup com­pe­ti­tions over the last four years shows no signs of let­ting up.

A much-changed Lin­nets side were dealt a blow from which it proved too dif­fi­cult to re­cover – Paul Shan­ley be­ing sent-off with barely 30 min­utes played. The ref­eree showed the Lin­nets skip­per for the day a sec­ond yel­low card for what he ad­judged to have been a dive, af­ter an ear­lier cau­tion for a foul.

Miss­ing per­son­nel prompted Michael El­li­son to change his usual shape with Josh Do­bie, Bobby Evans and Adam Gilchrist all brought into the start­ing XI.

Fred­die Pot­ter, Ron­nie Mc­Carthy, Kyle Hamid and Kurt Sher­lock missed out com­pletely while Danny O’Brien and Mike Simp­son started the match on the sub­sti­tutes’ bench.

The open­ing ex­changes were very low key, the game be­ing played at a slow and steady pace with Lin­nets kick­ing up the sig­nif­i­cant Skuna Sta­dium slope.

Colls had a good chance to open the scor­ing when Jor­dan Cover found space at the far post but sliced his shot wide.

It would only be a stay of ex­e­cu­tion for the Lin­nets, though, as the hosts did break the dead­lock on 25 min­utes.

Adam Far­rell nicked the ball from the feet of the Lin­nets back­line and took an early shot from 25 yards that beat goal­keeper Dy­lan Forth low at his right post.

The next 10 min­utes of the game were packed with in­ci­dent as Colls took con­trol and looked to ex­tend their lead.

Not long af­ter con­ced­ing the opener, the Lin­nets’ task was made all the more dif­fi­cult as Shan­ley was given his march­ing or­ders, dis­missed by the ref­eree for sim­u­la­tion with the winger claim­ing he had been felled in the home side’s penalty area.

With Lin­nets rat­tled, Colls had a great chance to dou­ble their lead when a ball to the far post found play­ers to spare. But with too much time on their hands, in­de­ci­sive­ness got in the way and the chance was wasted.

On 36 min­utes, and to­tally against the ● run of play, Run­corn found an equaliser.

Kris Holt, a for­mer long-serv­ing Ather­ton player, won the ball in a chal­lenge 25 yards from goal and, in very sim­i­lar fash­ion to Colls’ goal, he hit an early strike from well out­side the penalty area that found the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Gilchrist was sub­jected to a fe­ro­cious tackle in front of the dugouts as half-time ap­proached, and with play­ers from both sides sur­round­ing the ref­eree, only a yel­low card was shown for the chal­lenge.

Louis Cor­ri­gan was also booked for his protests af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Colls came out strongly in the sec­ond half and took con­trol of the cup-tie. Within five min­utes, they had re­taken the ad­van­tage when a cross from the right by Con­nor Gaul was headed in from close-range by Cover.

It then took three bril­liant quick­fire saves by Forth to keep Lin­nets in the game. He saved twice from close-range and then again from a free header off an Ather­ton cor­ner.

In the 69th minute, Colls as good as sealed the deal with the sim­plest of goals. With time and space on the right of mid­field, a ball picked out the run of Cover, who had the free­dom of the Lin­nets penalty area to round Forth and slide home his side’s third goal.

Con­nor Mc­Carthy, the stand­out Lin­nets player on the day, gave his side some hope with 13 min­utes re­main­ing with a goal of real qual­ity.

Re­gain­ing pos­ses­sion from an op­po­si­tion full-back on the cor­ner of the 18-yard box, Mc­Carthy turned to hit a first-time shot that curled be­yond the stretch of Colls goal­keeper Dale Latham and into the far bot­tom cor­ner.

How­ever, un­like in the 3-2 league de­feat on the same ground a week ear­lier, the late Lin­nets’ charge never came.

Colls, in fact, went one bet­ter this time by scor­ing a fourth goal.

A free-kick on the edge of the Lin­nets’ penalty area by James Sigsworth took a de­flec­tion off the de­fen­sive wall and spun away into the bot­tom cor­ner, leav­ing Forth with no chance of mak­ing a save.

The re­sult was the right one on the day. Run­corn never got go­ing in the game and did very well to be in with a shout un­til the last five min­utes.

Colls face a trip up to the North East to face Marske United in the next round. RUN­CORN LIN­NETS ................................. 0 RAD­CLIFFE FC .......................................... 0 RUN­CORN LIN­NETS drew a rare blank on Tues­day evening when they shared a goal­less draw with Rad­cliffe FC at the Mill­bank Lin­nets Sta­dium.

From the kick-off, it was clear that both sides had come to play foot­ball and take all three points.

The big chance of the match came on 26 min­utes to the usu­ally ruth­less Con­nor Mc­Carthy. Danny O’Brien had picked out the run of Paul Shan­ley with a su­perb ball to the far post and the lat­ter un­selfishly headed the ball across into Mc­Carthy’s path. It could only have been a mo­men­tary lapse of con­cen­tra­tion as Mc­Carthy swung his boot over the top of the ball when any con­tact at all would have bro­ken the dead­lock. In­stead, the ball trick­led past the post and out of play.

First half stopage time saw a su­per save from Rad­cliffe goal­keeper Ol­lie Martin as Mc­Carthy forced his way into the penalty area and got a pow­er­ful shot away from 10 yards. But Martin was out quickly to make a brave block.

Five min­utes into the sec­ond half, Martin kept his side level again with a dou­ble save at the foot of the goal­post, ini­tially from Mc­Carthy’s header and then from Fred­die Pot­ter’s re­bound.

From the re­sult­ing cor­ner, an­other Lin­nets ef­fort on goal some­how did not go in. Louis Cor­ri­gan swung in a wicked flag-kick that found its way to Peter Wylie on the Rad­cliffe line, but the pace of the ball and the fact it came through a crowd of play­ers caught the Lin­nets player by sur­prise. He could not con­tort his body quickly enough to force the ball over the line and Rad­cliffe scram­bled it clear.

On 77 min­utes, it looked like the dead­lock had fi­nally been bro­ken when a Rad­cliffe free-kick to the far post was pow­er­fully headed in. How­ever, it was chalked off for off­side.

Late in the game, Run­corn won a free kick five yards out­side the Rad­cliffe penalty area. Louis Cor­ri­gan pulled the trig­ger, his free-kick beat­ing the wall and bend­ing below the cross­bar only for Martin to pro­duce a fly­ing save to guar­an­tee his side a point.

James Eastup

The in­ci­dent in­side the Ather­ton penalty area, which saw Paul Shan­ley (or­ange) sent off – the ref­eree giv­ing the Run­corn Lin­nets skip­per for the day a sec­ond yel­low card, af­ter rul­ing he had taken a dive.

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