COLLS CLIMB TO TOP SPOT
Hardcastle calls tune as visitors are too strong for lively Linnets
RUNCORN LINNETS 0 ATHERTON COLLIERIES 3
AN EXCELLENT crowd of 480 took to the Millbank Linnets Stadium for this critical second vs third clash and witnessed a clinical display from Atherton Collieries who secured an impressive victory to move top of the league table. Without ever totally dominating the play, Colls were certainly the more threatening side throughout while limiting the threat to their own goal to just the odd high ball into the penalty area that Greg Hartley dealt with comfortably. A tight first half was separated by a fantastic free-kick to open the scoring for Atherton, Vinny Bailey bending a sweet free kick straight into the far top corner of the net from a free kick on the left edge of the penalty area. The pacey and direct Ben Hardcastle was influential in everything that Colls did going forward.
The attacking midfielder often nicked the ball from Runcorn and counter-attacking at pace, created several chances for his side and turning in a man-of-the-match performance. Runcorn actually started the second half as the better side and looked to get back into the game. But when Linnets lost the ball in midfield a lightning counter attack set Ben Conway in to slam the ball home and make the task for Runcorn an extremely difficult one. The game was put to bed late on when Ian Rowlands took advantage of a static Runcorn defence to fire past Dylan Fourth and complete the rout. Runcorn never really played a meaningful part in the game and were well beaten by their visitors in the end.
STAR MAN: Ben Hardcastle (Atherton C) ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★