Hillmen take point at Millbank
Glossop almost spring upset on table toppers Runcorn
Top of the league Runcorn Linnets welcomed Glossop North End to the Millbank Linnets Stadium, the visitors travelling with both hope and expectation of causing an upset on the road, having done so once already this season away at high flying Radcliffe.
Both sides used the wet conditions to make some big sliding tackles early on, testing the officials as things threatened to get a little tasty.
Glossop looked the better side all over the pitch and the home fans lamented how their side just couldn't cope with the height of Glossop's centre halves, nor the running of their wide forward men.
One of those forwards, the impressive Dominic Marie, created an early chance for himself with a crafty Cruyff turn and shot from the edge of the box. The keeper saved well but it was a warning for sure.
Runcorn then skied an effort of their own after a clever 1-2 on the edge of the Glossop area. Other than this chance they posed little threat to Russell Saunders' goal and anyone who didn't know the identity of the teams might've assumed Glossop were the top of the table side and Runcorn the team down in 18th.
A Glossop header from a corner was somehow cleared off the line to keep the game goalless and it was clear that the 6 foot 6 frame of new addition Moussa Samassa was causing problems from set pieces. The presence alone of Samassa and fellow centre half Keenan Quansah gave Linnets plenty to think about. At the back, the new pairing were just as impressive and a tight back 4 with Matty Russell and Josh 'Pasta' Stachini as full backs looks like it could be emerging.
The first booking of the game came following a Runcorn foul that looked a bad one from the sidelines. The reaction of the Glossop players backed this up as well.
Refusing to be sucked in to a scrap, Glossop responded in the best way possible. Around the 20 minute mark they took the lead as Dominic Marie cut in from the right and struck well after controlling a long cross field ball, delivered beautifully from Kane Hickman. A brilliant goal that was very nearly followed up with a second soon after, but this time the keeper denied Marie with a diving save high to his right hand side.
The second goal did eventually come from the resulting corner though, as Pete Boyle smashed home after a pinball wizard attempt of a clearance.
Perhaps Glossop's best 45 minutes of the season ended with the visitors picking up a soft yellow card just before the break.
Adam Latham came on for the second half for Glossop as they prepared to batten down the hatches. There was a fair bit of that going on around the ground as well, with the weather taking a turn for the worse. Miserable conditions with a lively gale and stair rodding downpours.
Remarkably, it wasn't Runcorn who came flying out of the traps, but Glossop who started the brightest. They were sharper and first to the ball all over the park and again the home fans called out for better from their men in yellow.
Yellow was indeed the colour of the day, as the referee was forced to reach into his pocket several times over in the second half with both sides making hard challenges on the slippy surface.
Eventually, Runcorn found their feet and as Josh Stachini was forced off with a suspected serious knee injury, Glossop's resilient back four was altered unexpectedly.
The officials had been under pressure from the home side all game and perhaps that was weighing on their shoulders when Runcorn appealed for a penalty. Having waved two appeals away already, this time the referee pointed to the spot and handed Linnets a lifeline. Louis Corrigan stepped up and closed the gap to a goal with seven minutes of normal time remaining.
A few poorly struck free kicks frustrated Linnets fans and it looked as though Glossop would hold out for the win. As the wind swirled and the storm kicked up a notch, Runcorn found a way through and Ryan Gibson struck home the equaliser from the edge of the six yard box in added time. Again Glossop felt aggrieved and the defenders swore blind that the goal scorer was two or three yards offside but when you're at the foot of the table, these are the kind of decisions that seem to conspire against you.
For Runcorn it was delight but they had left it late to keep their unbeaten home record in tact. A draw might feel like a loss for the Hillmen, given their performance and work rate, but this should help them kick on up the table.
Matchday Report by Culain Wood
Photograph by Steve Dyson
Highlights by Bandit Productions - GNEtv