28th September 2019, Runcorn Linnets FC v Marine : 1-0 Sponsored by In memory of Harry Thompson
A first-half strike from Connor McCarthy was due reward for the Linnets' domination of the extra preliminary round tie in terms of chances.
For staying in the game, Marine were indebted to the excellent form of their second choice 'keeper Germano Mendes.
Germano was already well known to Linnets fans from his previous appearances against them but moreover his single outing for The Millbank club in their North West Counties League title season of 2017-18.
He was similarly impressive that day as an emergency 'keeper in the victory over Northwich Vics.
The weather tried its best to ruin this eagerly-awaited first competitive meeting of the clubs.
But after passing a morning inspection and withstanding a further torrential downpour before kick-off, the pitch at The Millbank Linnets Stadium held up superbly throughout.
Before the game, there was a minute's applause in tribute to popular Linnets fan Lee Chesterson, who passed away last week aged 47.
Runcorn were excellent in the opening 45 minutes, playing slick attacking football on the greasy surface.
The Marine back line was breached on several occasions but the Linnets attackers were foiled repeatedly by an inspired Mendes in the Marine goal.
Mendes denied McCarthy and Jamie Rainford (twice) along with Ally Brown.
But with half-time a minute away, Mendes was finally beaten when he saved Rainford's shot but was helpless to keep out the follow-up effort from McCarthy.
Marine's task was made all the more difficult when their imposing centre forward Niall Cummins was given a 52nd- minute straight red card for an elbow on Ally Brown, right in front of the referee.
Ironically, Marine had more of the ball in the second half but didn't create any clear-cut chances, Runcorn's defence holding firm with standout performances from centre back Declan McGivern and†† captain Kyle Hamid in his holding midfield role.
Runcorn had a few opportunities on the counter attack but none could be converted.
After a mammoth eight minutes of stoppage time - the majority added for a head injury to Bayleigh Passant, physio Gemma Mooney dealing with† a nasty cut to the side of his head - the game ended 1-0 to the hosts.
Linnets' In-form keeper had needed to make what was a rare save in this game, getting his body firmly behind the shot which followed a late penalty box scramble.
But the star performer was undoubtedly Germano Mendes of Marine.
A top drawer display throughout had seen the Crosby team's deputy shotstopper deny Runcorn on several occasions, when a goal had seemed certain.
Success for Runcorn Linnets in the national FA competitions has been sparse so they will be delighted to have won through to the preliminary round.
They will now face a second all- BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division tie at Trafford FC on Saturday week, October 12th.
This gives them a chance to proceed a little further on the long road towards Wembley - and to improve on the £1,500 prize money banked from Saturday's win.
The next round is worth £2,250 for the winners with the losers receiving £750.
Runcorn Linnets: 1 B Passant, 2 L Corrigan, 3 P Wylie, 4 D McGivern, 5 A Brown, 6 R Gibson, 7 Z Aley, 8 K Hamid, 9 C McCarthy, 10 K Sherlock, 11 J Rainford. Subs: 12 R Wade, 16 J Dobie. Not used: 14 J Wynne, 15 J Moore, 17 R Mottram, 18 H Cannon-Noren.
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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