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4th December 2018, Hyde United v Runcorn Linnets FC : 1-1 [Pens:1-4]

By Dave Bettley

Runcorn booked a place in the EVO-STIK League's Integro Cup quarter-finals with another shock victory.

The West Division leaders, enjoying first-time involvement in the competition after promotion at the end of last season, came from behind to stun Premier Division hosts, Hyde United at Ewen Fields on Tuesday night.

As in their first round home defeat of another top-flight outfit Warrington Town, the Linnets held their nerve under the pressure of a penalty shoot out to go through after a 1-1 draw at 90 minutes.

Runcorn this time scored all four penalties taken while Hyde, having lost apparent control of the tie in its final quarter, saw two attempts saved by Tom Scott, the Linnets' new 'keeper from Kendal Town.

With fellow stoppers Matt Holmes and Dylan Forth on the bench and watching from the sidelines respectively, it was a debut Scott will remember with relish - although he had conceded the penalty, which Hyde duly converted for an interval lead.

All the scoring, even before the shoot-out, came from penalties, with Louis Corrigan dispatching an equalising effort from 12 yards after 74 minutes.

The kick had been set up by a marauding run by Aaron Morris who rode a foul in midfield, for which the perpetrator was booked after an advantage played by the referee, to make his way into the box - only to be clumsily bundled over.

Corrigan did the rest to bring the Linnets right back into the contest.

Runcorn, drawing on the experience of their earlier successful penalty sequence against Warrington, didn't need to call on Corrigan's expertise in the decisive exchange.

From the moment Danny O'Brien, another of Linnets penalty specialists, fired home the first of their five scheduled spot kicks, the visitors looked supremely confident.

Aaron Morris, Freddie Potter (after having a penalty saved in Runcorn's last home game against Newcastle Town) and Bobby Evans were all unerringly accurate.

Scott's saves from Hyde's second and third penalties meant that the shootout was settled early at 4-1.

Linnets manager Michael Ellison had made several changes from the side which had on their league travels defeated in-form Ramsbottom United on Saturday.

Defender Jack Hinnigan partnered the club's Bowland Brewery player of the month Morris in central defence while Josh Dobie made only his third Linnets starting appearance and Stuart Wellstead his second of the season.

Kyle Hamid returned from serving a one-game suspension. Winger Paul Shanley, having worn the armband at the weekend, was named among the substitutes along with top scorer Potter while midfielder Kris Holt and defender Peter Wylie were other notable absentees.

Scott's first task was to paw an early Hyde effort onto his crossbar. Runcorn promptly went close at the other end through a combination of headers by Morris and Dobie at a set piece.

Linnets had started brightly enough but as a first half of few clear chances wore on, Hyde held firm territorial advantage.

A lapse in concentration in defence ultimately led to Scott downing an opponent for Connor Simpson's 33rd-minute penalty to put the Tigers in front.

Runcorn were again initially penned in after the break but stubbornly resisted the Hyde pressure without too many alarms.

The introductions of Potter and local lad Ryan Gibson, newly recruited from Helsby FC, provided fresh impetus and suddenly Hyde looked susceptible to the visitors' growing influence.

Potter, who felt he should have had a penalty at 1-0 down when sandwiched by two defenders in an aerial duel, set up Gibson on his debut for a shot which was well saved by the diving James Hodges.

Then, a defence-splitting Corrigan pass sent Potter clean through only for Hodges to again deny the Linnets, this time by blocking a one-on-one chance.

All the more credit goes, therefore, to Potter for standing up to be counted during the penalties and indeed to the entire Linnets team for their overall resolve during the whole tie.

They now await with interest the draw for the last eight.

Runcorn Linnets: Thomas Scott, Louis Corrigan, Jack Hinnigan, Aaron Morris, Danny O'Brien, Josh Dobie, Bobby Evans, Kyle Hamid (capt), Stuart Wellstead, Kurt Sherlock, Zac Aley. Subs: Freddie Potter, Ryan Gibson. Not used: Paul Shanley, Ronnie McCarthy, Matt Holmes.

Attendance: 160.



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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