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Match report - Runcorn Linnets 0 City of Liverpool 2

By Dave Bettley

Last season's beaten finalists Runcorn Linnets exited the Liverpool Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage after failing to score when on top.

City of Liverpool struck twice in a dominant second-half display, Linnets having enjoyed the better chances before the break.

It was a third successive APEC Taxis Stadium victory for CoL, who have also triumphed on their last two league visits.

Drawn at home in this cup-tie, they were forced to switch it to Murdishaw after a dispute with landlords Bootle FC prompted the termination of their groundshare.

Any ensuing confusion was only increased by the sides wearing change kits, similar to the first-choice colours of their opponents.

Both teams also showed several changes from their winning weekend line-ups in Pitching In Northern Premier League West, Runcorn ultimately being left to rue missed early chances.

They were foiled by an outstanding save from 'keeper Calvin Hare and seconds from the interval by a goalline clearance from one of his defenders.

Centre back Shaun O'Mahony was the Runcorn player to miss out both times.

Firstly, from a move he had instigated himself with a pass from midway in the opposing half, the Irishman made up ground to reach Adam Moseley's right-wing cross.

But O'Mahony's close-range attempt was repelled by the sharp reactions of Hare, who leapt to turn the ball away from under his crossbar.

CoL were then rescued by centre half Adam Rooney being alert to a goalbound O'Mahony backheel at a corner.

In between these opportunities, Eric Byrne (who was industrious in on his first Runcorn start), watched Hare save his attempted lob at full stretch, the 17-year-old midfieldman having burst menacingly onto Ryan Brooke's cushioned lay-off header.

Having been well in the game before the break, without posing too many problems for Linnets defence, the visitors redoubled their efforts after the interval.

Josh Quarless glanced a header wide before ex-CoL full back Peter Wylie's timely intervention at the far post kept out a deft chip by the same striker from the right of the penalty box.

Just past the hour mark, elusive wide man Ismail Sonko sent the visitors into a lead, which had been coming.

He exploited Bayleigh Passant's misjudgement of a ball into his area.

Linnets might have bounced back immediately but Hare charged down an effort from Kieran Knapper. The substitute winger sent the rebound against the angle of the right post and bar.

It was as close as the hosts would come to an equaliser.

With top scorer Ollie Molloy also joining the fray, Linnets had no shortage of attacking options in the closing stages - too many, perhaps as they became top heavy.

Runcorn's fate was sealed in the 87th minute when Max Allen ran through the middle to score CoL's second, Linnets appealing in vain for offside in the first phase of the move.

Runcorn Linnets: Bayleigh Passant, Peter Wylle, James Short (Sam Barratt, 90+3 mins), Antony Kay, Alex Jones (Jacques Welsh, 76 mins),  Sean O'Mahony, Adam Moseley, Eric Byrne (Kieran Knapper, 58 mins), Ryan Brooke, Lewis Doyle, Mackenzie O'Neill (Olly Molloy, 76 mins).

Attendance: 317.

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