2nd September 2017, Runcorn Linnets FC v Padiham : 6-1By Ste Bignall
"Bouncebackability" as it's become known, is a vital part of being a successful side - how you respond to poor results.
Runcorn Linnets responded in some style to the Bank Holiday defeat at West Didsbury & Chorlton by scoring six past a Padiham side who never got over the shell shock of falling three goals behind in less than twenty minutes after kick off.
Stuart Wellstead got the start that his season to this point deserved, with Danny O'Brien returning at right back. Anthony Hickey and Callum Lucy were the pair replaced.
The start could not have been any better for Michal Ellison's men, Wellstead settling any lingering doubts (as to the likely reaction to Monday's heavy loss) by heading in a first-minute corner, and the Linnets never looked back from there.
With a quarter of an hour played, the front man repeated the feat, once again heading in from a corner. Padiham's keeper, however, will be disappointed that despite getting a strong had to a guided header, he could only palm it into the top corner.
Skipper Kyle Hamid was next to get in on the act. Played in by Paul Shanley, Hamid's quick turn bamboozled the Padiham defence and his shot across the goalkeeper found the bottom corner.
With only 25 minutes gone, it was 4-0. As soon as Michael Simpson picked up a loose ball 30 yards out from goal, everyone in the MLS knew that a shot was imminent. Despite this, Padiham's goalkeeper was helpless to prevent the inevitable as Simmo's strike rose and then dipped right under the crossbar to raptures around the ground.
Padiham did get a goal of their own shortly before half-time when a well-worked free-kick from the left was eventually squared for Kieron Pickup to tap in from a few yards out, but it would be the last real sight of goal they would have all afternoon.
The second half was a more flat-paced affair - Linnets feeling the game was won and easing the foot off the gas, and Padiham playing damage limitation.
On the hour, it was 5-1 when Mike Simpson scored another long-range rocket! Allowing a pass to roll across his body, Simmo unleashed a wicked first-time effort that left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot as it buried itself into the top corner of the net; two spectacular goals from the free-wheeling utility player.
The game petered out as the final whistle approached, but there was still time for Stuart Wellstead to complete a hat-trick of headed goals in the final minute, his first trio for the club.
As with the Winsford game only eight days earlier this was a devastating display of attacking football and acute finishing in particular from the Linnets. The MLS has now seen eleven Runcorn goals in its last two matches.
However, the form away from base camp has not been as convincing, and this will be something that Ello will be looking to change as we make a midweek visit to Bootle to take on high-flying, well-supported City of Liverpool FC for the first time in a tasty-looking encounter!
Runcorn Linnets: Terry Smith, Danny McKenna, Tom Hardwick, Aaron Morris, Danny O'Brien, Kieran Nolan, Michael Simpson, Kyle Hamid, Mark Houghton, Paul Shanley, Stuart Wellstead. Subs: Mitch Bryant, Jimmy Moore, Adam Jones. Not used: Chris Lawton, Kasie Jones.
NB. The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Runcorn Linnets FC or its Board.