Report: Runcorn Linnets 2-0 Colls

An awesome crowd of 431 witnessed the match up between last season's 2nd and 3rd finishers in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division.  In last season's fixture Michael Clegg's team put in probably their best performance of the campaign with a stunning 4-1 triumph.  A repeat of this never looked on the cards. Colls suffered a blow in the warm up when Mark Battersby pulled up lame and had to be replaced on teamsheet by Jordan Cover who wasn't in tip top condition himself. Linnets started the game on the front foot and never relinquished control of the opening period. Paul Shanley had the hosts best early effort when he nodded narrowly wide from a deep centre but minute by minute the pressure was being cranked up on the Colls rearguard.  When the black n whites did it get possession it wasn't treated like a precious commodity.  Around the half hour mark a Linnets attacker headed over at the far post from yards out with the goal gaping but it wasn't long before the opener arrived.  Mark Houghton tucked a daisy cutter of a cross past Adam Reid from close range.  The lead was doubled late in the half.  A smashed clearance was headed on by Shanley and Houghton expertly lobbed the onrushing Reid.  A goal from nothing.  The Linnets faithful were more than happy with their heroes opening forty five minute work.  Colls looked lack lustre. A half time tongue lashing from the management team saw Colls come out with more fight and Gareth Peet's corner narrowly missed the head of Danny Lafferty who had evaded his marker.  Reid was forced into making a wonder save from an effort from 10 yards. Peet was really getting into the game and following a mazy dribble he tried to dink the ball over Linnets custodian Thomas Hunt from a tight angle. In hindsight he could have pulled the ball back.  On 60 minutes a kiddy club confrontation between Daniel O'Brien and Cover saw the former dismissed for lashing out.  The kick was ineffectual but the ref witnessed it.  Linnets were then reduced to single figures when Chris Lawton was adjudged to have body checked Peet on the edge of the box. A slightly harsh caution but it was his second.  It was a big last 20 for both teams with Linnets digging in and defending in numbers.  Colls struggled to the breakdown the green n yellow wall and only created a couple of chances in the box.  Firstly Ben Hardcastle shot wide following a melee and then James Brooks set up Peet but his power blaster was saved well by Hunt.  With the clock ticking in desperation Colls  had a couple of sorties from distance which blazed over. A deserved defeat against a team with live promotion aspirations despite their social media outlets trying to play 'the cooler' role.  The lads didn't get going all afternoon but you have to credit the opposition for that. Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Jamie Forbes, Josh Messer, Mark Ayres, Danny Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle, Vinny Bailey, Jordan Cover, Liam Wood, Gareth Peet - Substitutes: Matt Grimshaw, Dave Sherlock, Mark Battersby, Lewis Coleman, James Brooks Attendance: 431 Match report by Emil Anderson

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