Road defeat despite positive performance
Following on from last week's victorious FA Cup game the blues travelled to Runcorn Town in the opening game of the league campaign.
Road defeat despite positive performance
Following on from last week's victorious FA Cup game the blues travelled to Runcorn Town in the opening game of the league campaign. There were two enforced changes to the starting line-up as David Brown and Tom Keyworth were unavailable due to illness and injury. This provided opportunities to Jack Blundell and Matthew Morgan who were both heavily involved last season. The blues started positively getting Rick WIlliams on the ball in the opening exchanges. First he fired a shot just over the bar and minutes later he raced away down the left hand side of the box to face the keeper one against one. Unfortunately, Ricks effort was tame and it was easily saved by the keeper.
Despite a positive start it was Runcorn who took the lead five minutes in. A ball forward should have been dealt with by the blues defence, however, the ball somehow landed to the Runcorn forward who dispatched with ease. Runcorn further capitalised on the Roads shaky start at the back as another ball in the box found the onrushing midfielder who placed accurately into the top corner. Despite having only two opportunities it was Runcorn who were two up in the opening twelve minutes with some smart finishing. Runcorn were continuing to use their direct approach whereas the the blues were continuing to pass the ball on the floor trying to get their forwards on the ball in the final third. This approach nearly got the blues back in the game as his run got the blues a corner. From the resulting corner Rick had another attempt at the back post which just went wide of the post. A minute later it was Jack Langfords turn to shoot but his effort went just wide. It was an end to end game with all of this happening in the opening 15 minutes. The game continued in this fashion for the following twenty minutes as Runcorn had two attempts that flashed past the post and Rick Williams had another shot that went missed the target. It was two contrasting styles of football as the blues were trying to pass the ball on the floor whereas Runcorn were trying to hit their danger man Cairns early over the top. It was Morgy who had the next good effort of the game as he pulled the ball back inside onto his favoured right foot and he unleashed a good effort on goal. However, the keeper saw it coming and tipped the ball wide of the goal. The blues were now on top and it was Morgy again who was at the heart of the next chance. He clipped a great pass for Connor who could have hit a lob early but he took an extra touch and his shot which was saved. The blues continued to press with attempts from Jack Poxon and Jack Langford not able to break the deadlock. However, the blues were now firmly on top and we didn’t have to wait long until we got the results from our efforts. It was Jack Blundell who got a goal back from a corner. It was driven in by Morgy and after a header was blocked it fell to Jack who applied the finish. One was soon made two as a rough tackle from behind on Connor resulted in a free-kick. Connor dusted himself down and hit a great free-kick around the wall and into the net. As a result the blues were level and were deservedly on level terms.
The second-half started in a similar fashion. The blues continued to play the ball on the floor with some exciting football. James Ormrod, Jack Langford were playing some great one touch football on the floor. This allowed Morgy, Jamie, Connor and Rick to get on the ball higher up the pitch. The blues appeared to be enjoying themselves against one of the stronger teams in the league. Connor soon had the first chance of the half as he forced a good save from the keeper. Runcorn shown they were still a team well in the game as on the 53rd minute a long ball forward found the striker running towards goal but his shot fired over the bar. It was a reminder that despite the positive play Runcorn were still dangerous. Unfortunately, a mistimed tackle on Connor Hughes forced the blues into the first change of the game. Connor who had played so well in the opening 45 was forced to come off. It was a real shame as Connor appears to be getting himself back into form after a difficult spell last season. Joe O’Brien was his replacement. There was a reshuffle in the team and Morgy was now partnering Rick up-front. He was involved in the next chance and his touch found Jamie Roe on the edge of the box. However, his volley was always rising. With the blues now well on top it was Morgy again who was involved in the next talking point. He advanced into the area and got to the ball before the Runcorn defender. There was clear contact and the referee duly obliged. With Connor off the pitch Rick stepped-up it was an excellent penalty and it opened his account for the season. The next fifteen minutes were even as the blues were now trying to keep the ball and Runcorn were pushing for an equaliser. Runcorn continued to play long balls into the box. This provided them with a good chance as the ball bounced kindly for one of their midfielders. Despite the ball bouncing kindly his shot was rushed and it was always rising high and wide. Runcorn were now pushing heavily for the equaliser as time was running out. There efforts were soon rewarded as a ball forward was not dealt with by the blues defence. The Runcorn forward hit a shot on goal. Ryan saved but he could only parry the ball on to the bar. The rebound fell to the Runcorn substitute and he headed over the line. The ascendency was now with Runcorn and they felt they could now go on and win this game. There was two major talking points to the game left. Unfortunately, both of them went against the blues. First, Rick Williams raced down the wing and he pulled the ball back for Morgy who volleyed from 6 yards out over the bar. The second talking point was the winner for Runcorn. A ball was flicked on and the Runcorn striker applied the finish with minutes remaining.
It was a bitter pill to swallow as over the 90 minutes we could have won the game. However, Runcorn continued to battle away and must be credited for the way they come back into the game.
We now face Congleton on Monday night. The lads must believe that more performances like that they will win more games than they lose.