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02 Jun 2021 : Runcorn Linnets U18's crowned League Champions!

Runcorn Linnets in 7th Heaven after lifting the West Cheshire Youth Division league title.

Linnets needed a win at Bootle to secure the title, the fixture had to be re-arranged due to a match abandoned a week earlier after 20 mins due to a nasty injury to Eddie Alleynne who left in an ambulance some four hours after the tackle. Linnets U18 Manager Robbie Gibbons said, "Eddie has been a massive part of the our success this season scoring and creating many goals, we all wish him a speedy recovery and wanted to win this game for him and Elis Newby who suffered a nasty injury and hasn't been able to kick a ball on the pitch but kicked every ball with them in the dugout."

The Linnets headed to Kirkby knowing a win over Bootle would see them crowned champions and make history for the Borough of Halton becoming the first team to lift the West Cheshire U18 title.

Linnets started the game on the front foot and were comfortable in possession spreading the ball from left to right and as early as the 5th minute Linnets took the lead with a thunderous header from Thomas Collins to settle the team's nerves.

Linnets looked hungry and hunted Bootle down in packs when the opposition had possession, Linnets looked dangerous every time they had possession with both full backs getting forward at every opportunity. Adam Idown & Jorge Dwyer linking up with the wingers Fenton Gibbons and Rhys Ferguson causing Bootle big problems.

Linnets changed their formation for this game and went with a 4-5-1 formation, the three in the middle, Harry McDonald, Gerrard Crane & Skipper Harry Burnell took the game by the scruff of the neck, winning everything and cool in possession.

On the half hour mark Fenton Gibbons signalled to come off due to foot injuries and Ishmael Sonko was chomping at the bit to enter the field of play and in the 40th minute he scored a great solo goal, driving through the Bootle defence and slotted nicely into the right corner.

At half time the Linnets are two goals up and with Robbie Gibbons and David Todd's half time team talk still ringing in their ears went onto the pitch fired up. In the 51st minute the Linnets found themselves three up with another goal from Sonko. The Linnets supporters were loving it in the blistering sunshine. The Mighty Green & yellows were playing like the boys from Brazil in the Maracană, with a swagger to their play and on the hour mark a Harry McDonald shot from outside the box finds the back of the net to make it 4-0.

Bootle were not giving up that easily though and scored a great goal to make it 4-1. This prompted the Linnets manager to turn to some fresh legs, he brought on Morgan Gunther & Folo Fajuke who settled into the game straight away. Morgan was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty kick, Sonko wanted to complete his hattrick and take the match ball home, and he slotted calmly into the bottom corner to go 5-1 up.

Jordan Monthe wanted to get on the score sheet and so he did with a fine solo run and an ice cool finish to go 6-1 up, Jordan also receives the Golden boot for finishing as the leading goal scorer for the league.

With five minutes to go, the party in full swing and Folo Fajuke wanted to get onto the score sheet and so he did, sending Linnets into 7th heaven and crowned champions.

What a season it has been for the Runcorn Linnets Under 18 team, with some breath-taking displays, they truly deserved to lift the trophy, Linnets skipper Harry Burnell lifted the cup with great celebrations from team mates and coaching staff.

Manager Robbie Gibbons said, "The whole team and coaching staff have just gelled together, they are a great bunch of lads on and off the field. They have been a pleasure to manage and have become friends, they will talk about this moment in years to come to friends in the boozer or maybe their own kids one day."

He was also quick to point out the work David Todd has done since joining him three years ago saying, "Dave is the perfect coach to work with, we bounce off each other, when I knew Dave had arrived back from coaching in America I was straight on the phone asking him to be my assistant, Toddy takes all the coaching sessions and I'll manage the team, it's been a match made in heaven." Finally, he added, "All the players have been fantastic from pre-season to the final whistle, a special mention to them we help and guide them but they go out and deliver on every occasion we thank you all for an incredible season."

Runcorn Linnets Under 18s Team: Brandon Barton, Adam Idown, Cameron Schofield, Thomas Collins, Jorge Dwyer, Harry Burrnell, Thomas Yenson, Fenton Gibbons, Rhys Ferguson, Gerrard Crane, Harry McDonald, Eddie Alleynne, Ishmael Sonko, Elis Newby, Nabil Rahim, Jordan Monthe, Morgan Gunther.

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