HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
RUNCORN LINNETS 8 AFC DARWEN 0
Although it was thought unlikely that Darwen would get anything from this game, their second biggest defeat of the season was unexpected after performing well against Irlam.
With the chance of a third-place finish still in the offing, after midweek results Runcorn Linnets were keen to put on a show for the enhanced audience to end a very positive campaign on a high.
Runcorn, whose goals at the WEC Anchor Ground had only come in the last half hour (for all their total domination) took up where they had left off. A more extensive demolition started a lot earlier this time.
Once Antony Hickey had fired Runcorn into a two-goal lead in the first eight minutes, it was a matter of damage limitation for the Lancastrians.
Even so, it was 5-0 for the Linnets at the break, three more goals having come in the last 13 minutes of the half.
Kyle Hamid was imperious in the centre of midfield, the back-to-his-best Linnets skipper converting after going clear of the Darwen defence.
Hamid’s great pal, Paul Shanley followed suit to likewise score one on one, from the left, with a similarly exquisite, measured finish across the ‘keeper and inside the far post.
The club captain was not to be outdone, however, and his strike from the edge of the box completed the Linnets’ first-half handful. The low drive also sent Hamid clear as the Linnets’ all-time top scorer with 66 goals for the Yellow and Greens.
Half Time: Runcorn Linnets 5 AFC Darwen 0
As the second half got underway, Runcorn keeper Caunce made a great save from a Liam Cole effort.
AFC Darwen held out until the 79th minute when Stuart Wellstead ended second-half resistance with a glancing header.
The seventh goal was added three minutes later, Hickey completing a poacher’s hat-trick. All three finishes had been from inside the six-yard box.
Into injury time came the climax everyone had wanted for Adam Wade.In the final match of his seven seasons with the Linnets, his 149th appearance, the last two campaigns being injury-hampered, the classy midfield player scored a farewell goal.
Full Time: Runcorn Linnets 8 AFC Darwen 0
(Extracts from Match report courtesy of Runcorn Linnets)
GOALS AND TIMES:
Runcorn Linnets: Hickey (5, 8, 82), Hamid (32, 43), Shanley (37), Wellstead (79), Wade (89)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Runcorn Linnets: Adam Wade
AFC Darwen: Adam Douglas
1 Adam Caunce
2 Zachery Allen
3 Thomas Hardwick
4 Aaron Morris
5 Danny O’Brien
6 Kieran Nolan
7 Adam Wade (Capt.)
8 Kyle Hamid
9 Mark Houghton
10 Paul Shanley
11 Antony Hickey
S1 Christopher Lawton (replaced ??, ?? minutes)
S2 Stuart Wellstead (replaced Houghton, ?? minutes)
S3 Bev Burey (replaced ??, ?? minutes)
S4 Michael Simpson
S5 Freddie Potter
1 Ben Proctor
2 Keith Wedge (Capt.)
3 Kallum Banks
4 Jordan Scott
5 Adam Douglas
6 Reece Malone
7 Karl Turner
8 Jamie Edwards
9 Nick Hepple
10 Liam Cole
11 Declan Cunliffe
12 Daniel Russell (replaced Malone, 41 minutes)
14 Conor Gaul (replaced Scott, 59 minutes)
15 Matthew Allen