04 May 2018 : Our Millbank Player of the Month award winner for April is Dylan Forth
Dylan Forth is the final recipient of this season's Millbank Player of the Month awards after being handed the accolade for April.
There were some surprised expressions when Runcorn Linnets fans headed pitch side after entering the ground for The Hallmark Security League Premier Division visit of City of Liverpool on Match 17th of this year.
For there in the goalmouth, warming up was the tall, blond-haired figure of goalkeeper Dylan Forth, who had been drafted in by Michael Ellison just ahead of the matchday signing deadline.
Before Linnets had even had chance to announce the 21-year-old's arrival, he was thrust into action for the inaugural league visit of the Purps to The Millbank Linnets Stadium.
The shock transfer put an end to the 'two-man monopoly' of the first-team goalkeeping shirt at the Linnets in 2017-18.
Terry Smith and Matt Holmes had between them kept goal in the club's previous 41 matches with Matt (22 appearances to Terry's 19) relinquishing the gloves to Dylan, a recruit from Stockport Town.
Manager Ellison admitted that the young Mancunian had been on his radar for a little. Dylan has in fact been a much sought-after 'keeper since the age of eight, when he signed for Blackburn Rovers from his junior club Clayton Villa.
His football education later continued at Aston Villa, appearing mostly for their Under 18s side.
Coming into a team already challenging for the title was not an easy thing to do, particularly for a gloveman so young.
The two 'keepers he has succeeded as the current first choice at The Millbank are both popular members of the Linnets' squad and had both served the team well over the campaign.
However, Dylan has not only justified Ello's faith in him but also won over fans, who were no doubt slightly perplexed at the consistent Matt losing his place in the side.
By the time we entered May, Dylan had completed nine successive appearances. His five in April included a run of four clean sheets as the Linnets moved to within one win of the title.
That unblemished record was blotted in the closing fixture of the month, at Northwich Vics, where three goals were uncharacteristically shipped by the Linnets' rearguard.
However, this did not reflect Dylan's display in the game and, in fact, he had made a brilliant save to deny Vics shortly before they went ahead - doing little, if anything, wrong on the night.
Dylan has shown he has all the attributes of a top 'keeper. He is a good shot stopper, brave and strong in the air and at close quarters. Importantly for a modern-day No1, he is quick on his feet and accurate with his ball distribution, be it out of the hands or otherwise.
With Runcorn being generally well on top in games, Dylan hasn't been called into action all that often.
But when needed, he has produced some top saves and provided calm assurance as the last line of defence.
He never seems go get flustered and has that happy knack of staying focused and alert to danger during long periods of inactivity.
Well done, Dylan!
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