Bangor City 0Runcorn 4
RUNCORN firsts were on the road again last Saturday with a trip to Bangor City, needing three points to boost their promotion push.
The game plan was to change the pattern of recent weeks, and get the game off to a positive start by opening the scoring early. This did not happen and Runcorn started slowly yet again.
As the first half progressed it became obvious that the visitors were playing some very nervous hockey and both communication and passing was not flowing as freely as it should. Runcorn were fortunate that the hosts where not on top of their own game either, and could not take advantage of the indifferent performance from the visitors.
Runcorn did look to take advantage of any set plays and despite a complete break down in communication at one penalty corner, fortune favoured the visitors, who managed to take the lead. Andy Partridge was the one who finished the move from close range, after Mike Wakefield and Steve Sheakey both applied some delicate touches to a loose ball that was retrieved by Rob Owen.
After Runcorn gained the lead they started to relax and looked to press home the advantage. Runcorn forward Pete Jones nearly extended the lead at this point, only to be denied by the cross bar. At the half time whistle Runcorn still had that slender 1 – 0 lead intact.
Just three minutes after the re-start Runcorn extended the lead. From a penalty corner routine Runcorn finally managed to get the communications right, and captain Mike Wakefield tapped the ball in to the net give the visitor’s a two goal lead and with it a little breathing space.
With the immediate pressure off suddenly it was all Runcorn as the hosts struggled to keep up with the fast flowing hockey. Forward Pete Jones scored the next goal from a tight angle after a fast break away involving Andy Partridge, Steve Sheakey, and Colin Wilks.
Runcorn were now in control and it would have been 4-0 but for man-of-the-match Andy Partridge being denied by the post following another flowing Runcorn move.
The visitors didn’t have to wait much longer to get the fourth goal though. Some neat work on the left by Scott Crimes and Steve Sheakey created a free hit. The hit was quickly taken and this left Bangor in complete disarray giving Runcorn midfielder Jon Corke time and the space to find Pete Jones in the circle. Jones finished the move in his usual confident style.
At the final whistle Runcorn claimed the win they deserved and their third clean sheet after another impressive defensive performance from Ray Garner, Andy Pickering, Rich Yates and Pete McLucas.
Runcorn stay second in the league but increased their lead over third place Wilmslow to three points with just a couple of league games still to play.