Runcorn Linnets Ladies suffered defeat in their first ever North West Woman's Regional Football league game at the hands of Chester FC Woman by 5 goals to 3 today. But the score line does not do justice to the Linnets who were for long periods after they had settled their early nerves the better footballing side on the day.
The home side intent on a one dimensional predictable style reaping the rewards in the early stages of the game scoring two goals and adding a third through a wicked deflection from a free kick in the first 16 minutes, the Linnets looking nervous suffering stage fright on the opening day of the new season
The game was littered with contentious decisions no more than when Lile Ashley turned the Chester defence only to be pulled down when clean through. Within the letter of the law the red card should have been brandished for the last player the lucky home defender only receiving a yellow. Ashley pulled a goal back in the 27th minute from a direct free kick from distancing creeping under the crossbar just out of reach from the home keeper who collided with the upright in her attempts to keep out Ashley’s effort. As the game flowed both sides hit the woodwork before the half time whistle.
HT Chester FC Woman 3 (3,7 16) Runcorn Linnets 1 (Ashley 27)
Ten minutes into the second half Runcorn were denied another certain penalty when Marcia Jones-Sacharewicz was sent clean through into the box with only the keeper to beat just as she was about to pull the trigger the striker was given a push in the back but again the decision didn`t go the Linnets way.
Ashley scored her second of the game from a through ball by Becky Barker on 57 minutes as the momentum began to swing Runcorn`s way. But all that good work was undone minutes later, Linnets winning a throw on the halfway line, instead of working the line opted to go short immediately losing possession, Chester reaction was quick and slick, the ball played down the left, Linnets right back out of position the ball was cut back from the by-line and finished off restoring Chester’s 2 goal advantage.
Runcorn from the kick off pressed forward, Jones-Sacharewicz was only a coat of paint away from a Linnets third on 74 minutes as her lob looked to be going in but bounced agonisingly the wrong side of the post
Then Chelsea Gillies having been subbed earlier in the half came back into the fray to hit an absolute scorcher to make it 4-3 on 80 minutes. The Chester keeper receiving a yellow card for trying to delay the ball being returned to the centre spot quickly.
At this point the Chester bench with 10 minutes to go were issuing instructions to take the ball into the corner such was their panic. Gillies picked up a yellow card as she tried to stop a Chester counter attack. But another error by the Linnets defence allowed Chester a sloppy fifth goal which had that not gone in it was on the cards the Linnets would of equalised.
Full Time: Chester FC Woman 5 (3,7 16 59, 89.) Runcorn Linnets 3 (Ashley 27, 57. Gillies 80).
Runcorn: Shone, Isherwood, Middleton, L Clifton Stringer, Graham, Dyson, Gillies, Bazley, Hewitt, Barker, Ashley.
Subs used Gibbons, Jones-Sacharewicz, Kelly, Wieland.
Manager John Pickering was dealt a blow in the warm up with injury to left back Ellie Isherwood who after the paperwork had gone in was forced to start but was substituted in the first minute. After they got over the initial nerves the young Linnets side settled down well and if they had played like they did in the second half they would have surely come away from this game with something to saviour.
POM Ellie Dyson.
All views are that of the author and not necessary those of Runcorn Linnets Management or players.