By Garry Clarke
RUNCORN LINNETS 1-1 1874 NORTHWICH
HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE PREMIER 13th SEPTEMBER 2016
Reduced to ten men after 28 minutes, 1874 Northwich battled to a 1-1 draw against Cheshire rivals Runcorn Linnets to take top spot in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division.
Neil Chappell was red carded after colliding with Runcorn’s Chris Lawton as both players were committed to competing for the ball in a 50/50 tackle which left the Linnets man rolling around the pitch as players from both sides surrounded the referee.
Heavy rain in the hours preceding the kick off freshened up the Millbank Stadium pitch which assisted the home side’s slick passing style. The opening period of the incident packed game was an evenly balanced affair between two teams committed to attack and after the sending off the home side controlled the remainder of the half.
Tom Bailey had had the ball in Runcorn’s net in the 5th minute, but being adjudged to be offside his effort was ruled out. Linnets Ronnie McCarthy fired in a long rang shot which Greg Hall did well to save, while the same player was just off target with another effort. Matt Woolley clipped a free kick over the bar, while Linnets pacey winger Bev Burey was a constant threat down the right flank going close to scoring himself and setting up Mark Houghton who guided the ball inches wide of the goal on the stroke of half time.
Grateful for the half time break to reorganize his troops, manager Ian Street introduced Stuart Wellstead in to the action and four minutes into the second half the substitute set up Bailey to open the scoring. As Runcorn struggled to clear their lines, Woolley chipped the ball over the Linnets defence into the path of Ryan Mitchell, who laid the ball off to Wellstead, who then crossed to Bailey, who turned the ball home.
Wellstead went close to adding a second in the 65th minute, latching onto a long diagonal ball played in behind the Runcorn defence by Woolley, he unleashed a first time thunderbolt of a shot which flew the wrong side of the post by inches.
1874 attacks in the second half were few and far between as Runcorn with their one man advantage dominated the second stanza, but instead of continuing to play as they did in the first half they started to rely on a longer ball game.
Mounting a resolute “backs to the wall” rearguard action to keep their marauding hosts as bay, claret shirted defenders threw their bodies in the way of goal bound shots and scrambled desperately to clear the ball on occasions, while Hall was outstanding cutting out dangerous crosses and pulling off several top class saves.
For all their brave efforts 1874 could not keep Runcorn out for ever, and they finally cracked in the 71st minute. A free kick was lofted into the 1874 area and, after ricocheting around the box, it fell to former 1874 player Steve Foster who scored from close range.
In the closing minutes of a thrilling game – which kept the large crowd entertained throughout – Runcorn launched wave after wave of attacks.Lawton headed a corner against the bar, but they could not find a way past a determined 1874 who held out to take the point needed to rise above Atherton Collieries to the summit of the table.
Linnets – Hunt, O’Brien, Morris, Lawton, McKenna, Burey, Wade, McCarthy, Shanley, Donaldson (Foster 59), Houghton Subs not used – Carlson, Mbdokele, Thorpe, Kennerley
1874 – Hall (GK), Connor, Mitchell, Thomas, Russell, Chappell, Jones, Matthew Woolley, Hind, McGowan (Wellstead 46), Tom Bailey (Jack Woolley 79) Subs not used Rick Bailey, James
GOALS Runcorn: Foster 71 1874: Tom Bailey 49
Sent off Chappell Referee Alan Bennett Attendance 439
|Tue 13 Sep 2016||7:45 pm||Hallmark Security League Premier||2016/17|
|Millbank Linnets Stadium|
|Stockham Ln, Runcorn WA7 6HP, UK|
|#||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|1||Greg Hall||1 (86')||0||0|
|4||Ryan Mitchell||1 (70')||0||0|
|6||Neil Chappell||0||1 (28')||0|
|7||Mark Jones||1 (58')||0||0|
|9||Tom Bailey 15||0||0||1 (49')|
|10||Scott McGowan 14||0||0||0|
|14||Stuart Wellstead 10||0||0||0|
|15||Jack Woolley 9||0||0||0|