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Match report - Mossley 0 Runcorn Linnets 3

Runcorn Linnets bounced back from what many had felt was an unlucky home defeat by Hanley Town and did it in style with three first-half goals effectively putting the contest to bed by half-time.


The second half was not just about containment as Linnets continued to create openings, which could have enhanced their score, but not conceding would have been the top priority at the break.


Manager Billy Paynter saw his side protect their lead admirably and with very few, if any, alarms. The threat from Mossley, keen to salvage pride, was contained without the need for any heroics from Bayleigh Passant in goal.


Seel Park, a traditional non-league ground on the edge of the Pennines with scenic views of surrounding hills has been a regular destination since Runcorn Linnets were promoted to the Pitching In Northern Premier League and prior to that, for followers of their predecessor Linnets down the years, firstly in the Cheshire League and then the NPL of the 1970s.

The NPL then operated with one division, immediately below the Football League, and there were some heavyweight battles between the Lilywhites of Mossley and Runcorn AFC.

This was a very happy return for the contemporary Linnets, despite them being without top scorer Ryan Brooke, due to an injury picked up against Hanley, and losing James Short along the way.


Damage had been sustained by the skipper as he tried to turn in pursuit of a Mossley attacker late in the first half. He left the field very gingerly with Eden Gumbs taking over in the left back position and Adam Moseley being introduced out wide.


On the plus side, the visitors had welcomed back  Sean O’Mahony, who weighed in with a crunching yet perfectly-fair early tackle to herald his comeback and also set the tone for a very determined Runcorn display..

O’Mahony took his place alongside Peter Wylie at the heart of Linnets’ defence, Antony Kay being moved into a more advanced central position.

It is a role familiar to Kay from his long Football League career and he rolled back the years with a real midfield general’s performance.

At the top end of the pitch, Olly Molloy proved a handful for the Mossley defence in Brooke’s absence, promptly setting up the opening goal before scoring twice himself.

The Linnets started well and got their just rewards after five minutes with a move launched by an excellent ball-winning challenge from Kay in the centre circle.

Molloy cushioned down a header to the on-rushing Lewis Doyle, whose right-footed shot beat Mossley's goalkeeper Chris Thompson.

Runcorn continued on the front foot and deservedly opened a 2-0 lead when an excellent one-two between Eden Gumbs and Molloy put the centre forward through.

Molloy sent a delicate chip over the goalkeeper from the left of the penalty area.

Just before half-time, great persistence down the right from sub Adam Moseley helped him to retrieve the ball, which was initially running away from him, before skipping back inside to beat his opponent for pace and deliver a cross.

Molloy had anticipated it and was in space to put in a great finish to make it 3-0.

The second half started the same with Runcorn dominating their opponents. They nearly scored a fourth when James Hooper’s cross-cum-shot whistled past a post.

Runcorn had a chance just before the end, a corner from the right being met by Jacques Welsh, whose shot  went just wide.

The hosts had tried to get back into the game but great defending and team work was enough for Linnets to cross the line with not only all three points but also a clean sheet.

Runcorn’s task now is to keep the momentum going when they host Leek Town on Tuesday at APEC Taxis Stadium.

A big shout out goes to the travelling Runcorn Linnets fans, who had turned out in good numbers in Greater Manchester and provided outstanding backing for the team.

Runcorn Linnets: Bayleigh Passant, Sam Barratt, James Short (Adam Moseley, 40 mins) , Antony Kay, Peter Wylie, Sean O’Mahony, Eden Gumbs, Jacques Welsh, Olly Molloy, Lewis Doyle, James Hooper (Mwiya Malumo, 80 mins). Subs not used: Josh Roberts (GK), Joe Lynch, Will Saxon.

Attendance 531.


Olly Molloy celebrates his first goal, Linnets' second of the game. (Picture by Neil Thornton).

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