21st September 2019, Runcorn Linnets FC v Kendal Town : 4-0 Sponsored by Tony Jones in Memory of Thomas Jones
The much sought after first clean sheet of the season finally came on Saturday, when a commanding second-half performance from the Linnets earned Ello's men a comfortable 4-0 victory against Kendal Town.
In beautiful early autumn conditions, both teams struggled to get off the ground at times in the first half.
Bayleigh Passant made a great save early on from a dipping free kick and at the other end, Kurt Sherlock's stinging near-post shot was well blocked by the Mintcakes goalkeeper.
But aside from these efforts, the first half was a bit of a slow burner with very little quality on show from either side.
Kendal had a few long-range efforts that didn't trouble Bayleigh, and the Linnets were the more purposeful and threatening. But, despite creating chances, they didn't really look like scoring.
However, the second half couldn't have been more contrasting compared to the first, helped by a goal within a minute of the restart.
Kurt Sherlock found space on the right and threaded a ball through to Paul Shanley, and with Shanners having ghosted through between the Kendal centre backs, he made no mistake with a confident finish.
Ten minutes later, the lead was doubled with Shanley turning provider.
Sherlock again sent Shanley on a run, and after beating his marker,, he picked out Connor McCarthy with a low cross into the six-yard box.
Connor poked the ball in from close range.
At 2-0, Runcorn flicked the switch into cruise control, the introduction from the bench of talismanic captain Kyle Hamid bringing a much greater purpose and quality to the whole team.
In the 78th minute, the result was put beyond doubt with a fine goal.
Ryan Wade, excellent all day in a free role, picked out the run of substitute Jamie Rainford with a sublime ball, and Rainford did what he's done throughout his career and confidently beat the goalkeeper with a well-taken finish.
The icing was put on the cake in the 80th minute when the Linnets were awarded a penalty for a clear handball.
With Louis Corrigan back in the side, only one outcome seemed likely, and Louis didn't disappoint, slamming the penalty past the goalkeeper on his right side.
Just like against Mossley, Workington and Clitheroe an excellent 45 minutes was offset against an other half of football which wasn't of such a high standard.
The difference this time was that Runcorn were ultimately too strong for Kendal.
When we turn in a full 90 minutes with the quality at full bore, this is going to be a very strong Linnets side.
Runcorn Linnets: 1 B Passant, 2 L Corrigan, 3 P Wylie, 4 D McGivern, 5 A Brown, 6 T Owens, 7 J Wynne, 8 K Sherlock, 9 C McCarthy, 10 R Wade, 11 P Shanley. Subs: 12 J Rainford, 15 R Gibson, 17 K Hamid. 14 Z Aley, 16 J Moore.
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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