Rocester 1 Runcorn Town 2
RUNCORN Town progressed through to the fifth round of the FA Vase for the first time after a 2-1 win at Midland Alliance League side Rocester.
Runcorn started in determined mood with a free kick from Scott Burton going right across goal taking a deflection for a corner. Sam Bailey’s corner caused havoc with Rocester struggling to clear for another corner which was eventually cleared.
Ryan Grocott was the main danger for the home side and twice he put crosses in from the right which were headed clear. A foul on Stuart Wellstead brought another free-kick for Runcorn which was headed clear.
Somewhat against the run of play Rocester took the lead after 19 minutes. A Grocott corner was headed in by the unmarked Darren Bullock six yards out.
The lead lasted only a minute with the equaliser coming from another set piece. A foul on John Egerton gave Bailey the opportunity to put the ball into the box with Paul Shanley heading goalwards. Keeper Richard Froggatt made a good save but failed to hold the ball with Mark Keddie forcing it over the line.
Runcorn were well on top with Danny Dalton heading just wide of the post and Wellstead seeing a lob from the edge of the area go just over the bar. The half ended with Wellstead shooting straight at the keeper with James McShane and Keddie waiting for a cross.
Rocester came out for the second half looking like a different team and began to press Runcorn. However for all their pressure they failed to really test Karl Wills in the visitors’ goal, the closest effort coming in the 62nd minute when a cross from the right was headed goalwards by Ryan Pirrie.
The last 15 minutes saw Runcorn step up with the ball ricocheting around from a Ste Latham free-kick with the defence clearing just before Keddie pulled the trigger. McShane then had a glorious chance from Scott Burton’s throw in but shot weakly at the keeper from the edge of the box.
The winning goal came on 81 minutes when Shanley did superbly to keep the ball in on the left and advanced goalwards. His shot from five yards was saved by the keeper only for the ball to rebound to McShane two yards out with the striker scoring possibly the easiest goal of his career.
Rocester came back into it with Jack Langston firing a 25 yard effort just over the bar, but Runcorn comfortably saw out three minutes of added on time to progress to the last 16.
An ecstatic Runcorn manager Simon Burton said afterwards: "It was a scrappy game and as expected the pitch cut up as the game went on. We always knew that it was going to be a battle against a big and physical side.
"On the balance of play we created enough chances to win the game. I felt that we were good value for the win overall.
"Its a great achievement for the club to reach the fifth round of the Vase. The lads are hungry for more.”