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First Team - Match centre

Runcorn Linnets
Widnes
Full time
K Towey (15'), S Akrigg (19')
Sat 17 Feb 15:00 - Hallmark Security North West Counties Football League - Premier Division Attendance 608

REPORT: Runcorn Linnets 0-2 Widnes

Bosses strike to secure Derby win

Widnes FC played the role of party poopers to perfection on Saturday as goals from joint managers Kev Towey and Steve Akrigg secured a 2-0 Halton Derby triumph over Runcorn Linnets.

Linnets were marking the official unveiling of their new £1.4million clubhouse at the Millbank Linnets Stadium, but a momentous day off the pitch for the hosts ended in relative disappointment on it as Towey and Akrigg struck within four first half minutes to secure a deserved three points.

The victory for Widnes closes the gap at the top of the Hallmark Security League Premier Division to seven points as the Whites handed Linnets a first home league loss for 13 months in front of a bumper crowd of 608.

Runcorn Linnets FC Vs Widnes FC
199 photos

Widnes were without influential midfielder Stuart Cook who suffered a calf injury in training, while Jay Roberts (ankle) and Jack Banister (tonsillitis) were only fit enough to make the bench.

The joint bosses made five changes to the side that lost at Marine in midweek, with Jack Graham, Michael Grogan, Akrigg, Chris and George Lomax all earning recalls.

The first five minutes belonged to Linnets. Runcorn pressed early with Adam Jones blazing over after Akrigg blocked a Kristian Holt shot, before Paul Shanley latched on to Freddie Potter's neat flick-on only to hit the foot of the post with his effort.

Widnes settled into the game and took a 15th minute lead. After Sean Myler was fouled on the edge of the box, ex-Linnets hero Towey stepped up and found the back of the net with a sumptuous free-kick that beat Runcorn goalkeeper Terry Smith via the underside of the bar.

Relaxed and composed with an early advantage, Widnes continued to threaten with skipper Kev Pollard heading over from a Chris Lomax corner when he arguably should have doubled the visitors' advantage.

Linnets looked suspect when defending set-pieces, and Widnes capitalised to stun the bumper home faithful with a second goal in four minutes.

The joint managers combined as Towey's floated corner towards the back-post left Smith scrambling, with Akrigg powering home a header much to the delight of the travelling Widnes support.

Two goals to the good, Widnes took control with defender Mike Burke shepherding the threat of Potter while stand-in right-back Graham nullified the always-lively Linnets skipper Shanley.

The visitors continued to threaten, with George Lomax effortlessly dropping the shoulder to carry Grogan's neat pass into the Linnets area only to fire over.

Michael Ellison's hosts, on a 12 match winning streak heading into this contest, took their time in recovering from Widnes' quick double-salvo to end the half strongly. Potter dragged a shot wide of the far post after Pollard was caught in possession before Jones forced a terrific fingertip save out of Widnes keeper, and former Linnet Richie Mottram.

Half time: Runcorn Linnets 0-2 Widnes

The second half was devoid of clear-cut chances, with Widnes content to sit back and hit Linnets on the break whilst allowing Runcorn to control possession.

Ellison's men struggled to penetrate Widnes' backline as Burke and Akrigg routinely put their bodies on the line for the cause while Graham and Phil Doran continued their fine performances at both fullback positions.

Neither side particularly worked their opposing goalkeeper, with Widnes' best chance falling to George Lomax who did well to bring down Burke's pass before shooting wide while substitute Ben Hodkinson fired narrowly over.

The Derby threatened to boil over at times and as the contest because a touch feisty at times with a number of players from both sides finding themselves in referee Nathaniel Cox's notebook.

Louis Corrigan had a free-kick deflected Widnes for Linnets, but aside from the odd goalmouth scramble, the visitors held firm and ended the hosts' unbeaten home league record.

Full time: Runcorn Linnets 0-2 Widnes

Widnes are now unbeaten in 13 league games, winning 12 of those contests. While victory over the league leaders doesn't blow the title race wide open, Akrigg and Towey's men have certainly put themselves in the conversation in the race for promotion.

However, the games continue to get tougher for Widnes who now face another difficult away trip to City of Liverpool next Saturday.

Michael Grogan

Player of the Match

Michael Grogan

Key moments

15:00
Goal Kev Towey scores for Widnes
19:00
Goal Steve Akrigg scores for Widnes

Videos and photos

Runcorn Linnets FC Vs Widnes FC
199 photos

Highlights

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90:00 Clean Sheet Bonus
Richie Mottram keeps a clean sheet for Widnes
90:00 Player of the Match
Michael Grogan is awarded player of the match for Widnes
83:00 Yellow Card
Michael Grogan is yellow carded for Widnes
81:00 Yellow Card
Chris Lomax is yellow carded for Widnes
78:00 Sub Off
George Lomax is substituted off for Widnes
78:00 Sub On
Danny Laverty is substituted on for Widnes
69:00 Sub Off
Kev Towey is substituted off for Widnes
69:00 Sub On
Ben Hodkinson is substituted on for Widnes
End of period 1
19:00 Assist
Kev Towey makes an assist for Widnes
19:00 Goal 0 - 2
Steve Akrigg scores for Widnes
15:00 Assist
Sean Myler makes an assist for Widnes
15:00 Goal 0 - 1
Kev Towey scores for Widnes
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Runcorn Linnets
  • Widnes
  • 0
  • Sean Myler Assist 15:00'
  • Kev Towey Goal 15:00'
  • Kev Towey Assist 19:00'
  • Steve Akrigg Goal 19:00'
  • Kev Towey Sub Off 69:00'
  • Ben Hodkinson Sub On 69:00'
  • George Lomax Sub Off 78:00'
  • Danny Laverty Sub On 78:00'
  • Chris Lomax Yellow Card 81:00'
  • Michael Grogan Yellow Card 83:00'

Team selection

Mottram, Richie Mottram, Richie
Graham, Jack Graham, Jack
Doran, Phil Doran, Phil
Akrigg, Steve Akrigg, Steve
Burke, Mike Burke, Mike
Lomax, George Lomax, George
Lomax, Chris Lomax, Chris
Pollard, Kev Pollard, Kev
Grogan, Michael Grogan, Michael
Myler, Sean Myler, Sean
Towey, Kev Towey, Kev
Runcorn Linnets
  • 1. Terry Smith
  • 2. Louis Corrigan
  • 3. Aaron Morris
  • 4. Jimmy Moore
  • 5. Danny O'Brien
  • 6. Kieran Nolan
  • 7. Kristian Holt
  • 8. Adam Jones
  • 9. Freddie Potter
  • 10. Paul Shanley
  • 11. Antony Hickey
  • 12. Mark Houghton
  • 13. Matthew Holmes
  • 14. Stuart Wellstead
  • 15. Chris Lawton
  • 16. Kyle Hamid

League round up

Other Premier Division results

1874 Northwich
2
1
Runcorn Town
Abbey Hey
4
2
AFC Darwen
P
P
West Didsbury and Chorlton
1
0
AFC Liverpool
1
3
Irlam
Charnock Richard
4
1
Squires Gate
3
2
City of Liverpool

League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Runcorn Linnets 30 73
2. Widnes 32 63
3. Charnock Richard 27 57
4. Bootle 27 52
5. Hanley Town 27 51
6. Runcorn Town 26 51
7. City of Liverpool 24 41

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