Winsford United 0 Runcorn Linnets 1

WINSFORD slipped to eighth in the North West Counties League’s Premier Division after a dire performance at Barton Stadium left them without a win in their last five matches.

Hoping to recapture some of their early season form, it was a disappointed United side that trudged off at the end of the game after failing to truly threaten their mid-table counterparts.

The visitors were the first to threaten when Rob Whyte broke away down the left and custodian Andy Jones had to dash well out of his area to intercept, earning him a yellow card for an innocuous shoulder charge.

Runcorn should have opened the scoring on 10 minutes, when a high ball into the box fell kindly for top scorer Kevin Towey, only for the front man to blast the ball wide of the post with the goal gaping.

The main threat from the Blues was coming from the combination of Steve Warburton and Jon Bathurst down the right and on 28 minutes the Winsford wide man put in a perfect cross for the tall striker, only to see his weak header easily collected by Peter Collinge.

A rare attack on 35 minutes came from Adam Foy making a remarkable interception from a typical Runcorn long ball over the top and the attacker was in action again four minutes later when a quick free kick almost fooled Collinge, who had to scramble the ball away from the foot of the post.

Runcorn scored the eventual winner seven minutes into the second period, when Whyte broke clear of his marker and crossed from the right for Matthew Atherton to steer home.

Winsford pressed hard for an equaliser, but the closest they came was a long range shot from Jack McKay which Collinge did well to tip over the bar.

Even the dismissal of Christopher Lawton for a deserved second yellow card did not make a leveller any more likely and the visitors left the Barton Stadium with a rare three points in the bag.