Runcorn Town 2-3 1874: Greens prevail from minor second half setback
By Joe Dutton
1874 Northwich defeated Runcorn Town away in the league on Monday, after Scott McGowan’s late penalty proved to be the winning goal.
1874 controlled the pace of the action in the first 45 minutes, putting the home side on the back foot for the vast majority of the half.
The first real chance Northwich created came following a quick counter attack lead by winger Mike Koral on 22 minutes, after Runcorn lost the ball from their own free kick near the 1874 box. Koral played the ball to McGowan on the left, who curved over the right post.
As with most matches recently in the searing heat, drinks breaks were made by the referee, the first coming after 25 minutes.
Runcorn didn’t seem to be fully set after the one minute stoppage and 1874 nearly capitalised, as midfielder Jake Parker burst forward and set up Sam Hare for a shot, who’s effort went over the bar.
Chances started to come in high volume for 1874, this time left back Matthew Russell ventured into the Runcorn box, firing a shot at goalkeeper Adam Reid, who palmed it away from danger.
Seconds later, Koral fancied his chances on the edge of the box, as he shot with the outside of his right foot past the left post.
As the game approached half time, 1874 launched another attack at the Runcorn defence through Lee Knight, who managed to collect the ball from a fine pass by Mark Jones on the edge of the box, before firing a shot brilliantly into the bottom right corner for his second goal of the season.
1874 probably didn’t want half time to come at that stage, as they had Runcorn against the ropes right up until the end of the half.
As the second half began, the visitors carried on pushing Runcorn back and a second 1874 goal appeared to be on the cards.
Following a throw-in deep inside Town’s half, 1874 created a good passage of play around the box, as Hare, Knight and Parker were all involved, with the latter shooting first time into the bottom right corner for 2-0, giving Reid no chance.
The game looked to only be going one way, but just three minutes after 1874’s second, Runcorn were given a penalty after Lee Jackson was judged to have brought down Kevin Exell inside the box.
Paul McManus stepped up for the hosts and scored past 1874 keeper Tony Aghayere’s right, who almost kept it out after getting both hands to it.
Runcorn’s goal didn’t appear to disrupt 1874’s rhythm, as they kept making chances to get the two-goal lead back.
Right-Back Sam Hind joined a Northwich attack and after receiving the ball off Parker, he aimed high from the edge of the box, which Reid palmed out for a corner.
After the resulting corner was cleared, Jones collected the ball and played in Jackson, who found some space in the box and placed a shot just wide of the left post.
With around 20 minutes to play, 1874 brought on midfielder Nathan Okome for Parker, and within a couple of minutes, he unleashed a shot just outside the Runcorn box, which looked destined for the top right corner if not for a fine save by Reid.
Not long after this 1874 chance, Runcorn would equalise against the run of play. A long ball from the defence found Craig Cairns in the box, whose shot across goal from the left was saved by Aghayere, but the rebound was smashed into the roof of the net by Joe Holt.
1874, with a two-goal lead now gone, had to regroup and go again for the last fifteen minutes.
Another chance would present itself for the Greens with just under ten minutes remaining.
After Hare floated in a free kick, captain Matthew Wooley was pulled back in the box by Runcorn substitute Shaun Weaver and a penalty was given by the referee.
McGowan, who would have been eager to continue his goal scoring spree after getting four in last Saturday’s FA Cup game, calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner, with Reid diving the wrong way.
As the game approached the last few minutes, Okome would have a chance to seal the win for 1874, after he received the ball in space inside the Runcorn box, but lashed a shot high past the left of the goal.
1874 were able to see out the game in injury time, as Okome managed to do defence duties well, muscling Town substitute Richard McQuade off the ball for a goal kick, which would be the final action of the match.
In what was a well earned victory for 1874, the large contingent of fans that travelled left the ground knowing that their team will dig deep in matches, after seeing them come from a brief setback to win.