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Match report - Chasetown 0 Runcorn Linnets 1

Joe Lynch unwrapped an early present of three vital points on the Saturday before Christmas as Linnets avenged an opening-day defeat by Chasetown. 

The rematch wasn't the most fruitful in terms of goalmouth action. 

But Lynch's rasping 37th-minute volley from a home half-clearance was worthy of winning any game, although there was an element of controversy about it. 

Home 'keeper Matt Sergeant was adamant that Linnets striker Olly Molloy, in an offside position, had got a touch before on the midfielder's ultimately decisive effort into the bottom corner. 

The winning goal had come out of the blue with both sides having struggled up to that point to convince that a breakthrough was on the cards. 

The hosts had come closest when George Cater forced an excellent blocking save from Bayleigh Passant. 

Sam Wilson, Linnets' new loan signing from Warrington Rylands, had taken his place alongside Alex Jones in a new-look centre back partnership.

The pair had boasted just one Linnets appearance between them at the kick-off but dealt with the Staffordshire side's attacks confidently.

Peter Wylie moved out to full-back with Sam Barratt taking a rare breather on the bench.

The Runcorn substitutes also included Port Vale loanee Caelan Ryan, an 18-year-old striker who has represented Thailand at Under 20s level. 

Once in front, Runcorn looked largely in control, becoming the first away side to win on the new 3G pitch at the Scholars Ground, unveiled at the start of this month.

Opportunities at either end remained at a premium in the second half, Jacques Welsh testing Sargeant with a shot which the 'keeper tipped over. Another effort by Will Saxon cleared the crossbar, after appearing momentarily to be dipping in. 

Runcorn survived four minutes of second-half stoppage time to take the spoils with Jones making a timely clearance seconds from the final whistle. 

Runcorn Linnets: Bayleigh Passant, Peter Wylie, James Short, Jacques Welsh, Sam Wilson, Alex Jones, Will Saxon, Joe Lynch, Olly Molloy, Lewis Doyle, Adam Moseley (Eden Gumbs, 56 mins). Subs (not used): Sam Barratt, Cameron Rooney, James Hooper, Caelan Ryan. 

Attendance: 518.

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