Barnoldswick Town 1, Runcorn Linnets 5
This sounds like a last-day North West Counties League Premier Division mauling but it wouldn’t have been if Barnoldswick Town’s shots that hit the woodwork had gone in.
Even though he had not fully recovered from a leg injury, Town had Lyle Davy back in goal rather than Stewart Airdrie, which meant the latter was on the bench.
The game started in lively fashion, Kyle Hamid flashing a shot just wide from the edge of the Town penalty area after five minutes.
Town’s first attempt came four minutes later when Linnets keeper Andrew Robertson got his finger-tips to a Carl Ellerton thunderbolt to push the ball onto the bar.
There was then debate as to whether the ball had crossed the line, before Robertson recovered to save Matthew McNamara’s relatively weak header from the rebound.
Two minutes later, Runcorn took the lead. Chris Ridehalgh cleared a cross along the edge of the Town penalty area but it hit team-mate Harry Thompson on the backside and rebounded past them both, Kevin Towey pouncing to score.
Town were no means out of it, however, as McNamara showed when he picked the ball up on the edge of the Runcorn area and took it to within two yards of Robertson’s near post but his shot hit a post and bounced away.
Runcorn had a great chance to double their lead after 25 minutes. A cross to the far post found Mark Haughton but he scooped his shot over the bar from two yards out.
Straight down the other end, Thompson worked a great opening for himself, only for Robertson to save with his feet. The goalkeeper repeated the dose six minutes later from McNamara.
It was now Runcorn’s turn to break quickly, and the ball was played across Town’s area where it found Chris Lomax, whose shot didn’t seem to have any power as it lobbed towards Davy’s goal, but it couldn’t have been better placed as it dropped over Davy’s outstretched hand into the top corner.
Town’s last chance of the half came after 41 minutes, McNamara shooting wide.
At the other end, Michael Burke headed forcefully over from six yards, while Anthony Hickley drove a fierce shot just over the bar.
The second half started in lively fashion, with Towey putting Haughton in, only for him to shoot over, while for Town, James Gill beat Robertson from 25 yards but once again hit the woodwork.
Town were on top and fought back with an Ellerton goal on the hour. The ball broke free inside the Linnets six-yard box, and Ellerton, who had been threatening to score recently, reacted first.
His initial shot hit a post and bounced back, but he managed to edge the ball over the line from two yards out.
Within 30 seconds, how-ever, Runcorn had made it 3-1 when a cross along Town’s six-yard line found Towey, who bagged his second.
Town brought on Aaron Hollindrake and Liam Garbutt for Sam Reeves and Gill but Runcorn substitute Gavin Salmon scored in the 84th and 86th minutes to see the game off.