25th September 2018, Mossley AFC v Runcorn Linnets FC : 1-2
EVO-STIK League newboys Runcorn Linnets won their third- versus-fourth clash at Seel Park to take an early-season pole position in Division One West.
Freddie Potter produced a stunning overhead kick equaliser in the 75th minute and with Mossley being reduced to 10 men, Runcorn were richly rewarded for going all out for the victory.
Centre back Josh Dobie, who had come off the bench as manager Michael Ellison switched to a three-man defence with his side trailing, was upended in the home box in stoppage time.
With Louis Corrigan having had a first-half penalty saved, Freddie Potter stepped up to slam home the spot-kick to secure a sixth win from eight league games.
After suffering a second Evo-Stik defeat of the campaign at Atherton Colls on Saturday, it looked as though it would be one of those nights for the visitors.
They had started in scintillating style and but for the hosts' imposing 'keeper Jonny Diba Musangu, the Linnets would quickly have taken a firm grip.
He pulled off a double save from a Potter header and low follow-up shot, a lofted effort would have been better with the 'keeper grounded after his initial intervention.
Runcorn should have made their positive start count when Connor McCarthy, making his first league start for Linnets, was hauled down in the six-yard box.
But Corrigan's usual assurance from 12 yards was missing and his spot-kick was saved.
Things got worse for Linnets within two minutes. With Ronnie McCarthy down injured in midfield, a Linnets attempted clearance fell to Mossley.
Izzy Miranda exchanged passes with skipper Andrew Keogh, who tried his luck with a 30-yard drive which was no more than speculative but somehow beat Dylan Forth low to his right.
Ellison was forced into a change before play restarted with the stricken Ronnie McCarthy unable to continue.
The blow changed the game with Mossley now gaining the upper hand and creating a number of opportunities in the remaining 20 minutes of the half.
Despite their early form dipping, Linnets did ceate a further great chance when Potter beat the flailing Diba Musangu to a cross but the centre forward's header cleared the bar.
Runcorn's frustrations continued in the second half with the quick and powerful Connor McCarthy being dubiously penalised for a foul after outmuscling a Mossley defender to run clear.
However, the former National Conference frontman helped to conjure up something special to bring the characterful away side level.
Giving chase to a long ball down the right, he got to it in the nick of time through sheer determination.
In a swirling wind, his first-time cross from almost on the deadball line dropped behind Potter, who steadied himself momentarily before spectacularly launching himself into the air with back to goal to power home.
Mossley's scorer Keogh was immediately sent off, presumably for taking his complaints too far at a Mossley penalty claim moments earlier being turned away.
Earlier Runcorn claims for a foul on Shanley in the Mossley area had likewise been rejected by the referee, who finally awarded the second spot-kick of the night.
Having already lost their skipper to a red card, Mossley also suffered a dismissal from their bench.
With early leaders Radcliffe being beaten by Glossop North End at home, Linnets were unexpectedly catapulted into a two-point lead - although they have played a game more than some of the teams closest to them.
Linnets now prepare for their second successive Saturday visit to Atherton Colls, this time in the Buildbase FA Trophy, before entertaining Radcliffe in another high-profile EVO-STIK West clash next Tuesday.
Runcorn Linnets: Dylan Forth, Louis Corrigan, Aaron Morris, Peter Wylie, Danny O'Brien, Ronnie McCarthy, Kristian Holt, Kyle Hamid, Freddie Potter, Connor McCarthy, Paul Shanley. Subs: Kieran Nolan, Josh Dobie, Kurt Sherlock. Not used: Michael Simpson, Niall Watson.
NB. The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Runcorn Linnets FC or its Board.
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