A trip into the unknown against newcomers Mersey Valley ended in a comfortable 9-1 victory for the Linnets Ladies today. After a two week break it took the visitors just 45 seconds to take the lead after a neat one two between Becky Barker and Chelsea Gillies . The home sides vulnerability at corners was there for all too see as Demi Lee Rogers headed in unmarked from Lile Ashley`s corner on seven minutes to double the Runcorn lead. Slack play in the 12th minute saw Mersey Valley reduce the arrears when a ball behind the Linnets defence was pounced on by the home forwards. On 17 minutes in a carbon copy of the second goal Gillies powered in a header from another Ashley corner for the third. Before Ashley herself rifled in a shot from outside the penalty box. With Runcorn in the ascendancy Mersey Valley found it difficult to keep the visitors at bay although they still looked dangerous going forward. On 37 minutes Barker from barely inside the opposing half hit a free kick straight into the home goal high over the goalkeeper. As half time approached Ashley finished the scoring capitalising on a hesitant mix up in the home defence.
HT Mersey Valley LFC 1 (12) Runcorn Linnets 6 (Barker 1, 37. Rogers 7, Gillies 17, Ashley 19,45.)
Mersey Valley started the second half a more potent force and only an unbelievable double save by Megan Pickering in the 50th minute prevented a second home goal. With the Mersey Valley players looking on Runcorn moved swiftly up the pitch and Ashley pounced again. In a matter of seconds what should have been 6-2 ended up 7-1. With the Linnets probing at one end and substitute goalkeeper Lyndsey Hopley mopping up at the other Jess Bazley got in where it hurts to make it eight. The best goal of the game came on 86 minutes when a sublime flick from Marcia Jones-Sacharewicz totally took both home centre halves out of the game. Gillies raced through rounded the keeper and as a home defender got back on the line Gillies keeping her cool walked forward and just placed the ball in the net.
FT Mersey Valley LFC 1 (12) Runcorn Linnets 9 (Barker 1,37. Rogers 7. Gillies 17,86. Ashley 19,45,50. Bazley 81.)
Runcorn. Pickering (Hopley 65), Gibbons (Russell 62), Finnegan (Cawley 75), Edwards, Graham, Rogers injury (Hewitt 37), Gillies, Barker injury (Ashley 90), Hewitt Injury (Isherwood 13), Bazley, Ashley (Jones-Sacharewicz 54).
Manager John Pickering will be delighted with three more points after two weeks of inactivity. Utilising his entire squad giving them all game time today. As for our hosts generous in defeat to suggest we should have had two penalties as well during the game. They certainly possess players to hurt teams in the final third and their are wins to be had for them.
POM Jess Bazley.