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13th April 2019, Runcorn Linnets FC v Colwyn Bay : 4-0 Sponsored by Tony Jones

By Ste Bignall

Runcorn Linnets showed no signs of play off-chasing nerves when Colwyn Bay visited the Millbank Linnets Stadium on Saturday.

A patient and clinical performance guided Ello's men to a fine victory which saw them leapfrog Ramsbottom United into third place in the EVO-STIK League West Division table.

This fixture could well prove to be Colwyn Bay's first and last competitive visit to The Millbank as the North Wales side have taken the historic decision to move into the Welsh football pyramid from next season, having not featured in a domestic league competition since 1983.

Everyone at Runcorn Linnets wishes the Seagulls the best of luck in their next step.

Freddie Potter and Paul Shanley returned to the starting eleven in place of Tom Bailey and Ronnie McCarthy, the side otherwise unchanged from the win at Newcastle Town a week earlier.

Runcorn should have taken the lead in the very first minute. A fine move between Ally Brown and Freddie Potter created a chance for Mitch Bryant seven yards from goal. Mitch lifted the ball over the goalkeeper but also the crossbar.

With only two minutes on the clock, Paul Shanley was the victim of a poor decision by the referee. Beating his man and making a run towards the penalty area, Shanners had his standing leg taken from under him and was sent tumbling to the ground.

There were no complaints from our visitors as Colwyn Bay set themselves up to defend what they thought would be a free kick to Runcorn.

But to the astonishment of players and supporters alike, Shanley was booked for simulation.

Ryan Gibson had a volleyed attempt from outside the penalty area saved before Colwyn Bay were gifted a clear run at goal, when the ball was lost in the Linnets midfield. However, Tom Scott stood up well to make a sound one-on-one save.

The game settled down after the opening 20 minutes minutes, Runcorn being happy to retain possession and probe the Bay defence to work an opening.

Kris Holt did well to win the ball in midfield before firing a low shot towards the far post, Bay's 'keeper Patrik Rutter doing equally well to get down to and hold the effort.

And as half time approached, Antony Hickey ran at pace towards the Seagulls' penalty area before shooting just wide from 20 yards out.

In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, the deadlock was broken. Louis Corrigan's wicked inswinging corner beat everyone to find its way into the net to give the Linnets a deserved lead.

The lead was doubled in the 55th minute - a Louis Corrigan corner once again doing the damage.

Corrigan picked out Aaron Morris 12 yards from goal and Aaron connected with the ball perfectly to send a powerful header beyond the reach of Rutter.

Five minutes later, 2-0 became 3-0 with a brilliant Linnets goal. Peter Wylie's diagonal ball into the box was headed down by Mitch Bryant into the path of Freddie Potter, and the Wizard slammed home a first-time volley across the goal. Rutter got a hand on it but was powerless to keep out the well-struck shot.

Paul Shanley was replaced by Zac Aley in the 65th minute. With the shadow of the earlier booking following Shanners around, Ello no doubt thought it best to remove him from the firing line and not risk any further sanctions.

Scott was called into action on a couple of occasions as the Seagulls refused to roll over. Firstly, the Linnets 'keeper saved with his feet from close range before soon following up with an excellent diving save from a fierce, low strike.

Hickey and Holt were both withdrawn as the game approached its final 10 minutes, Hickey having again turned in a good showing on his return to the club.

And I would also like pay huge credit to Kris Holt. Having played 90 minutes against Newcastle Town last Saturday, Holty then completed the Manchester Marathon the following day to raise money for charity!

So to turn in another very strong 80 minutes of football six days later is truly immense. Well done, Holty! God knows how you managed it though!!

In the 90th minute, a comfortable afternoon was sewn up when Ryan Gibson got away up the right wing to pick out Potter, who was on hand at the far post to tuck the ball away from just a couple of yards out. This brought an end to what had been an excellent 90 minutes' work by the Linnets.

Attention now turns to another difficult game on Saturday as we visit Trafford FC, ko 3pm.

See you all there!

3 games to go!!

Runcorn Linnets: Tom Scott, Louis Corrigan, Aaron Morris, Peter Wylie, Ally Brown, Kris Holt, Ryan Gibson, Antony Hickey, Freddie Potter, Paul Shanley, Mitch Bryant. Subs: Frank Jones, Danny O'Brien, Zac Aley. Not used: Tom Bailey, Kurt Sherlock.

Attendance: 369.



NB. The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Runcorn Linnets FC or its Board.

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