Rammy raid a suc­cess

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - In Business -

RAMS­BOT­TOM UNITED .......................... 2 RUN­CORN LIN­NETS ................................. 3

RUN­CORN LIN­NETS made the trip to Lan­cashire on Satur­day af­ter­noon to take on and com­plete the dif­fi­cult-look­ing task of over­com­ing Rams­bot­tom United away from home.

The well-cov­ered and tightlyap­pointed ground along with rain and an oc­ca­sional hoot from pass­ing steam en­gines on the East Lancs rail­way, made for a tremen­dous at­mos­phere for what would end up an en­thralling en­counter be­tween two very strong sides.

Dy­lan Forth re­turned in goal for Lin­nets with Kyle Hamid miss­ing out through sus­pen­sion and be­ing re­placed by Bobby Evans. Striker Con­nor McCarthy was un­avail­able for se­lec­tion, prompt­ing a change in shape with mid­fielder Zac Aley com­ing in.

The pitch was wet but not sod­den and sup­ported the fast-flow­ing foot­balling style of both sides.

It was not long be­fore a slick move gave Lin­nets a chance to open the scor­ing on five min­utes. The ball was worked into the Rams­bot­tom penalty area from the left, and when Paul Shan­ley turned away from goal just in­side the penalty area, a nearby de­fender mist­imed his tackle and tripped the winger hand­ing a spot-kick to Run­corn.

Louis Cor­ri­gan re­sumed com­mand of penal­ties once again to curl his spot-kick into the top cor­ner, to­tally un­sav­able even if goal­keeper Sam Ash­ton had gone the right way – which he did not.

Run­corn had a cou­ple of half chances fol­low­ing the open­ing goal but as the game set­tled down, it was Rams­bot­tom who started ask­ing the big­ger ques­tions.

A fast at­tack up the right wing al­lowed space for a shot that Forth turned away su­perbly, but luck was not to be on the Run­corn goal­keeper’s side.

The ball, although cleared, was im­me­di­ately played for­ward again to just out­side the box where a per­fectly-timed Lin­nets chal­lenge was very harshly pulled up for a free-kick by the ref­eree.

You al­most knew that Run­corn were about to get stung, and Thomas Kennedy pulled off a sub­lime equaliser from the free-kick, his left-footed ef­fort curl­ing ● and dip­ping into the top cor­ner, giv­ing Forth no chance.

The hosts would have wanted to take con­trol, fol­low­ing their equaliser, but within two min­utes they found them­selves be­hind again.

With 26 min­utes on the clock, Shan­ley again beat his man, near the left edge of the United penalty area but was cyn­i­cally brought down.

Cor­ri­gan swung in a dream of a free­kick that was beg­ging to be knocked into the net. Cen­tre-back Peter Wylie duly made no mis­take with his header from a few yards out.

Run­corn had the bet­ter of the re­main­ing first-half min­utes as they looked to ex­tend their ad­van­tage.

On 39 min­utes, a great foot­balling move set Kris Holt in on goal. His fierce strike was des­tined for the bot­tom cor­ner but kept out by a re­mark­able slid­ing block from a Rams­bot­tom de­fender.

Rams­bot­tom made a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion at half-time (one of the play­ers re­placed be­ing for­mer Lin­net, Tony ‘Kaka’ Don­ald­son) and they came out with re­newed vigour.

Rams­bot­tom had a great chance to equalise in the 46th minute when, with a clear sight of goal, they sliced an ef­fort wide at the far post.

In the 53rd minute, the dy­namic of the game changed as Rams­bot­tom were re­duced to 10 men.

Run­corn striker Fred­die Pot­ter and Kyle Ja­cobs went in for a 50/50 chal­lenge with the United man go­ing in over the top of the ball. The ref­eree was close by and drew his red card im­me­di­ately.

De­spite falling be­hind in terms of num­bers on the pitch, Rams­bot­tom soon drew the scores level af­ter an­other ques­tion­able de­ci­sion.

An­other strong Lin­nets tackle was made in the area – a penalty be­ing awarded, de­spite the ball ap­pear­ing to be won and mo­men­tum in the af­ter­math bring­ing down for­mer West Dids­bury & Chorl­ton player Nic Evan­geli­nos.

Rammy’s Nialle Rod­ney suc­cess­fully con­verted from 12 yards.

The equaliser gal­vanised Rams­bot­tom once again and they should soon have taken the lead. With Lin­nets slightly rat­tled, United worked an open­ing for a clear sight at goal 10 yards out.

The re­sult­ing shot drew an im­mense save from Forth, but the re­bound fell per­fectly for Jamie Rain­ford, who thank­fully for Lin­nets cleared the cross­bar with his at­tempt at the gap­ing goal.

With 15 min­utes re­main­ing and 10-man Rams­bot­tom well in the game, the hosts shot them­selves in the foot in a per­plex­ing mo­ment of mad­ness.

Break­ing up a Lin­nets at­tack, Kieran Lugs­den drove for­ward with the ball and was dragged to the ground by Run­corn mid­fielder Evans, the sort of chal­lenge that coaches would ex­pect their play­ers to make in very par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances and one that in­vari­ably earns the of­fender a de­served yel­low card.

All of the afore­men­tioned took place, but Lugs­den then in­ex­pli­ca­bly ap­peared to aim a punch at Evans, who was on the ground among a tan­gle of legs.

The ref­eree had no he­si­ta­tion in bran­dish­ing his red card to a Rams­bot­tom player for the sec­ond time, leav­ing it nine ver­sus 11 with a score of 2-2 and 75 min­utes played.

This gave Lin­nets a golden op­por­tu­nity to go for the win, and on 80 min­utes Pot­ter scored the goal which would set­tle the out­come.

With seem­ingly oceans of space to move the ball around, and the Rams de­cid­ing not to go for an all-out rear­guard ac­tion, Aley had space on the left wing to de­liver a gem of a cross.

Pot­ter an­chored his feet, picked his spot and headed the ball across the goal­keeper and into the bot­tom cor­ner to spark an erup­tion of joy among the large trav­el­ling con­tin­gent of Run­corn fans.

With noth­ing to lose, de­pleted Rams­bot­tom gave their all to try to res­cue an un­likely point.

Run­corn did not man­age the clos­ing 10 min­utes par­tic­u­larly well, of­ten caught in two minds whether to play down the clock or at­tack in num­bers for an­other goal.

This led to some passes go­ing astray in dan­ger­ous po­si­tions and sev­eral set­pieces be­ing con­ceded. But the Run­corn rear­guard was on top form and dealt with any threat that United made.

This was a very fine away vic­tory for Michael El­li­son’s side. For long spells, there had been very lit­tle to seper­ate the teams, with Rams­bot­tom look­ing as good as any side Run­corn have faced so far this sea­son.

But El­li­son’s men rel­ish the big games against the top sides and of­ten save their best for these oc­ca­sions.

The win, cou­pled with re­sults else­where, saw Lin­nets re­turn to the sum­mit of the Evo-Stik League Di­vi­sion One West ta­ble.

James Eastup

Peter Wylie heads home the sec­ond goal for Run­corn Lin­nets against Rams­bot­tom United last Satur­day af­ter­noon.

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