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First Team - Match centre

Runcorn Linnets
Widnes
Full time
F Sinclair-Smith (45'), C Ready (90')
Mon 22 Apr 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League - West Division Attendance 636

REPORT | Runcorn Linnets 0-2 Widnes

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Widnes claim Derby Day spoils

Widnes claimed the derby spoils at Runcorn Linnets as they celebrated a 2-0 victory on Easter Monday.

Stoppage time goals in both halves from Finlay Sinclair-Smith and Conor Ready settled an enthralling encounter at the Millbank Linnets Stadium, denting Runcorn’s play-off ambitions in the process.

It sent the decent Widnes following into raptures as the Whites maintained their 100% record away from home against Linnets.

GALLERY | Runcorn Linnets v Widnes
82 photos

Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made three changes to the side that produced a late comeback to dispatch Colne on Saturday. Ben Hodkinson, struggling with illness, dropped to the bench as Chris Lomax was promoted to the front-three alongside Ready and Sinclair-Smith.

Elsewhere, ex-Linnet Mike Burke was recalled to the defence in place of Joe Herbert, while Sam Sheen was preferred to Harry Brazel in midfield on his return from suspension.

Widnes made a decent start and were denied by the woodwork inside the opening eight minutes when Shaun Holden’s cross-cum-shot rebounded against the crossbar, with Linnets sweeping away the ensuing danger.

There was little to separate the two sides as the first half became a war of attrition. Neither keeper was tested as Ryan Gibson hit a dipping effort over for Runcorn.

Linnets’ best chance of the half came following the half-hour mark. Paul Shanley got in behind for the hosts and hit an effort that squirmed beneath Richie Mottram towards goal, but Jay Roberts reacted quickly to clear the loose ball as Gibson looked poised to pounce.

George Webster would then test Runcorn keeper Tom Scott, who spilled the effort before collecting the loose ball at the second attempt, but Runcorn always carried a threat through Shanley who was denied again by Mottram who recovered well after a poor clearance.

Linnets perhaps edged the first half, but it was Widnes who went in at half-time one goal to the good. It was a Louis Corrigan error that provided the finest of margins as he made a mess of a long ball forward from Burke. Sinclair-Smith would pounce on possession and hit a volley into the top corner to muster a breakthrough.

Peter Wylie headed over for Runcorn from a corner early in the second half as the hosts started positively, but Widnes were content to soak up pressure and look to hit Linnets on the break.

It almost paid dividends moments later as Sinclair-Smith surged forward from the right to carve an opening. The ball eventually fell to Ready on the edge of the area, but he wasted a gilt-edged opportunity by striking off target.

Mottram was again called into action on the hour, reacting quickly to get a hand on a Shanley header who had cleverly peeled away from his marker to meet a deep free-kick.

Freddie Potter would then strike off target for Linnets before Ready hit a dipping volley wide as both teams exchanged half-chances with the game finely poised as a contest.

Linnets made a double change with 20 minutes to go as Mitch Bryant and Kurt Sherlock came off the bench, but Widnes’ solid back four proved difficult to break down.

Widnes responded with a change of their own as Hodkinson was introduced from the bench in place of Webster who had been on the receiving end of a number of heavy challenges in a performance mature beyond his years.

The Whites went for pace up front against a Linnets side committing more bodies forward, but the hosts couldn’t find a way past an inspired Mottram. The Widnes shot-stopper produced a fairly comfortable save to push Potter’s powerful volley over, before getting down well to his right to push a Corrigan free-kick away to safety.

Linnets’ cause was a dealt a blow when Bryant limped off injured late on, leaving Michael Ellison’s men a man short and a goal down.

Widnes duly capitalised and made the result safe inside second half stoppage time. An incisive break away led to Sinclair-Smith providing a cross for Ready to head home at the near-post, sparking jubilant scenes.

Nine minutes were added on by referee David Croft, and in truth, Widnes should have added gloss to an already impressive scoreline. Hodkinson would shoot straight at Scott after breaking clear of the Runcorn backline, and moments later, substitute Niall Watson would see an effort blocked by Scott before missing the target with his rebound.

Runcorn were afforded an opportunity to set up a tense finish when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Michael Grogan fouled Gibson, but Corrigan’s miserable afternoon was compounded as he could only strike the crossbar with his spot-kick.

Widnes were deserving of their win, dealing a heavy blow to Linnets’ promotion chances who have dropped outside the play-off places with a game to play.

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Richie Mottram

Player of the Match

Richie Mottram

Key moments

45:00
Goal Finlay Sinclair-Smith scores for Widnes
90:00
Goal Conor Ready scores for Widnes

Videos and photos

GALLERY | Runcorn Linnets v Widnes
82 photos

Highlights

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90:00 +9:00 Player of the Match
Richie Mottram is awarded player of the match for Widnes
90:00 +9:00 Clean Sheet Bonus
Richie Mottram keeps a clean sheet for Widnes
90:00 +7:00 Missed Penalty
Louis Corrigan misses a penalty for Runcorn Linnets
90:00 +1:00 Sub Off
Finlay Sinclair-Smith is substituted off for Widnes
90:00 +1:00 Sub On
Niall Watson is substituted on for Widnes
90:00 Assist
Finlay Sinclair-Smith makes an assist for Widnes
90:00 Goal 0 - 2
Conor Ready scores for Widnes
84:00 Sub Off
Chris Lomax is substituted off for Widnes
84:00 Sub On
Harry Brazel is substituted on for Widnes
72:00 Sub Off
George Webster is substituted off for Widnes
72:00 Sub On
Ben Hodkinson is substituted on for Widnes
65:00 Yellow Card
Michael Grogan is yellow carded for Widnes
46:00 Kickoff
Runcorn Linnets kick off
End of period 1
45:00 Goal 0 - 1
Finlay Sinclair-Smith scores for Widnes
45:00 Assist
Mike Burke makes an assist for Widnes
1:00 Kickoff
Widnes kick off
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Runcorn Linnets
  • Widnes
  • 0
  • Mike Burke Assist 45:00'
  • Finlay Sinclair-Smith Goal 45:00'
  • Michael Grogan Yellow Card 65:00'
  • George Webster Sub Off 72:00'
  • Ben Hodkinson Sub On 72:00'
  • Chris Lomax Sub Off 84:00'
  • Harry Brazel Sub On 84:00'
  • Finlay Sinclair-Smith Assist 90:00'
  • Conor Ready Goal 90:00'
  • Finlay Sinclair-Smith Sub Off 90:00 +1:00'
  • Niall Watson Sub On 90:00 +1:00'
  • Louis Corrigan Missed Penalty 90:00 +7:00'

Team selection

Mottram, Richie Mottram, Richie
Roberts, Jay Roberts, Jay
Holden, Shaun Holden, Shaun
Sinclair-Smith, Finlay Sinclair-Smith, Finlay
Burke, Mike Burke, Mike
Mooney, Phil Mooney, Phil
Webster, George Webster, George
Sheen, Sam Sheen, Sam
Lomax, Chris Lomax, Chris
Grogan, Michael Grogan, Michael
Ready, Conor Ready, Conor
Runcorn Linnets
  • 1. Tom Scott
  • 2. Louis Corrigan
  • 3. Aaron Morris
  • 4. Peter Wylie
  • 5. Alastair Brown
  • 6. Kristian Holt
  • 7. Ryan Gibson
  • 8. Zac Aley
  • 9. Freddie Potter
  • 10. Paul Shanley
  • 11. Antony Hickey
  • 12. Tom Bailey
  • 13. Frank Jones
  • 14. Daniel O'Brien
  • 15. Mitch Bryant
  • 16. Kurt Sherlock

League round up

Other West Division results

Atherton Collieries
0
0
Trafford
Kendal Town
1
4
Droylsden
1
4
Colwyn Bay
0
0
Ramsbottom United

League table

# Team Pl Pts
10. Kidsgrove Athletic 37 57
11. Colwyn Bay 37 52
12. Widnes 37 48
13. Chasetown 37 43
14. Droylsden 37 43
15. Newcastle Town 37 40
16. Market Drayton Town 37 40

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