In the first game under new management, the Cheshire interleague faced a very strong Runcorn Town side, of the NW counties Premier division, at Irlam FC’s Silver street ground.
Former manager Steve Lloyd left a strong base to build on, after a successful 5 years in charge, and the footballing style he instilled was still very much evident, despite Jimmy Bush picked 8 debutants in the starting lineup and 3 more on the bench.
The first half of the game belonged to Cheshire. The back four were comfortable, protecting Tyrer well, and but for 2 good efforts from 20 yards, kept Runcorn at bay.
Hoyland, alone up front, was strong and resolute and looked dangerous, bringing Burgess, Grandison and Clarke into the game on numerous occasions.
On 21 minutes, captain Rob Hope found space 20 yards out but his effort was deflected wide. Shortly after, Hope and Mannion linked up well to send Burgess away on the left but his cut back was slightly behind the onrushing Grandison.
Turner and Clarke worked the ball superbly down the right on 31 mins and Clarke beat the defender superbly, his low cross evading everyone. Minutes later Hoyland rolled the centre back and his superb cut back was cut out well by the Runcorn Defence.
Half time 0-0
Runcorn began to grow into the game in the second half, finding more space through the middle and creating far more chances, making Tyrer work early in the half, with two well struck strikes.
Cheshire made 5 substitutions on 60 minutes, and Vaughan and Rigby almost linked up immediately, the latter almost getting on the end of a wicked cross from Vaughan. Slater found space to send Burgess away but his left footed strike lacked pace and was comfortably saved.
Into the last ten minutes, Runcorn were on top and got the goal they deserved, albeit via a deflection, as Potter found space 25 yards out and, unopposed, struck the shot, which took a deflection, well, and found the near top corner.
Almost immediately, Runcorn could , and probably should, have made it two, as their best passage of play in the game, ended in a side footed effort coming back off the post, and Tyrer reacted quickest, pouncing on the loose ball.
There was still time for Cheshire to create two more chances, as Slater fed the ball into Rigbys feet, but the forward opted to cut the ball back, when he was well placed to shoot. In the dying minutes, the impressive Liam Turner got beyond Burgess and showed neat footwork to beat two defenders before being fouled in the area, but the defender stayed on his feet, the referee correctly waving the play on, and his all in went unpunished.
Full time 0-1
Probably a fair result by the end of the game, but Cheshire will take an awful lot of plus points from this game.
1, Aaron Tyrer (Linotype CHN)
2, Liam Turner (Warrington Town res)
3, Alex Hardman (Warrington Town res)
4, Lee Mannion (Knutsford)
5, Rob Newton (Whaley Bridge)
6, Craig Hall (Eagle Sports)
7, Danny Clarke (Garswood United)
8, Rob Hope (C) (Eagle Sports)
9, Craig Hoyland (Greenalls PSO)
10, George Burgess (Whaley Bridge)
11, Kingsley Grandison (Linotype CHN)
Subs used –
12, Jordan Rigby (Grappenhall Sports)
13, Lee Vaughan (Greenalls PSO)
14, Alex Lowe (Rylands)
15, James Dykes (Rylands)
16, Ben Slater (Greenalls PSO)
“It was great to finally get started after the last game being postponed. Runcorn are a very strong side and I felt we edged the game for the first hour, retaining the ball well and defending superbly. Out of the 16, we had 11 lads playing for the Interleague for the first time and they were all superb. the two centre backs and two in the middle were very impressive and linked together really well, I was very impressed with that. We seemed to have a nice balance all the way through and, although by the end Runcorn deserved their win, we certainly pushed them close. We have a list of players who are constantly being spoken about in our league, and between us, as potential Interleague players, and that list is growing, which makes the job of picking a final squad for match days even harder. We have Manchester in the Jeff Walton cup in two weeks and then face Lancashire the week after that. After last nights performance, we won’t be changing the squad a massive amount for those games, maybe a change or two, but that’s it. I think the lads deserve a bit of loyalty after last night. We have an exciting year to look forward to, as the national cup starts, in which we have a bye in the first round, and no doubt, as that comes round, a lot more players will come into contention, making the selection headaches a bit worse”