Newcastle Town 4 Runcorn Linnets 0

Tuesday 9th September 2008
Newcastle Town 4 Runcorn Linnets 0
Vodkat League Premier Division
At: Lyme Valley Parkway Stadium
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Programme: £1-50 (36 pages)
Attendance: 156
Weather: mild, dry
Duration: first-half: 46:37; second-half: 46:45

Newcastle Town maintained their 100% league record with an impressive performance against fourth-placed Runcorn Linnets. After a sluggish start, Richard Minor put Town ahead towards the end of the first half and Andy Kinsey doubled the lead on the hour. Minor quickly struck again and Jordan Johnson wrapped up the win with a fourth goal near the end.

Before kick-off, Newcastle paid tribute to Sentinel football correspondent Peter Hallett with an immaculately-observed minute silence. I was an unreal experience for me as I was reporting the game for The Sentinel in place of a much-loved and respected man. Rest in Peace Peter.

Runcorn got the game underway attacking the north or entrance end of the ground and the visitors created a couple of decent early chances. Michael Morrison headed straight Danny Read and Rob Whyte headed another opportunity wide at the far post. Whyte also got on the end of Michael Morrison’s low cross only to drive over.

Having had their last two league games postponed, it took Newcastle a while to get going and they perhaps should have taken the lead on the quarter hour. Daryl Wilkes put Andy Bourne though but the skipper fired into the side-netting from a narrow angle.

Kinsey saw a shot blocked in front of goal before Minor broke the deadlock in the 35th minute. The midfielder dribbled past two defenders on a run into the area before firing low across the face of goal into the opposite bottom left corner.

Runcorn keeper Robbie Holdcroft pulled off a smart diving to save to turn round Kinsey’s curling free-kick as Newcastle looked to quickly double their advantage.

Kinsey saw a couple of shots in quick succession blocked by defenders as Town started the second half on the attack.

Neville Thompson should have scored seven minutes after the restart. Instead he fired narrowly wide after outpacing his marker on a run down the left into the area.

But it was Kinsey who doubled his side’s advantage in the 59th minute, glancing a header past Holdcroft from Paul Taylor’s free-kick.

Five minutes later, Kinsey turned provider to slip a pass for Minor to fire low past the helpless keeper and put Newcastle in the driving seat. Holdcroft’s one-handed reaction save denied Kinsey a second goal as the dominant home side continued to threaten.

With the outcome arguably beyond doubt, Runcorn posed a threat in the closing stages without unduly troubling Darren Read.

Minor rounded off a fine performance by setting up his side’s fourth goal just before the start of added time. He took the ball forward and fed Johnson who slotted home low past Holdcroft.

I spoke to Newcastle Manager Greg Clowes who agreed his side started slowly and went on to dominate decent opposition. He said: “We started slowly and didn’t come out of the traps. Runcorn took the game to us and caused us some problems. We took control after half an hour and went ahead with a great goal from Richard Minor. In the second half we dominated all the way through. I think the 4-0 scoreline let them off lightly as we had chances to win by more. Credit to Runcorn as they are the best side we’ve played this season. I told the players that we are racking the goals up and they are worth an extra point as we’ve only conceded one goal. We put in a good performance.”

Newcastle, who moved up to second place, face a big game on Saturday when they visit league leaders Glossop North End who won 1-0 at Abbey Hey.

Newcastle Town (blue/blue/white): 1. Danny Read, 2. Alastair Brown, 3. Paul Taylor, 4. Steve Elks, 5. Ryan Dicker, 6. Andy Bourne (capt), 7. Richard Minor, 8. Daryl Wilkes, 9. Andy Kinsey, 10. Neville Thompson, 11. Jordan Johnson. Subs: 12. Chris Budrys (for Thompson, 67), 14. Ian Willis (for Kinsey, 79), 15. Ashley Hill (for Wilkes, 73), 16, Mark Fitton (not used), 17. Dean Gillick (not used).

Runcorn Linnets (yellow/green/yellow): 1. Robbie Holdcroft, 2. Steve Pickup, 3. Alan Glover, 4. Lee Morris, 5. Tom Boden, 6. Robbie Moore (capt), 7. Stuart Telfer, 8. Damian Morrison, 9. Michael Morrison, 10. Ged Courtney. 11. Rob Whyte. Subs: 12. Paddy O'Driscoll (for Boden, 62), 14. Brian Walsh (not used), 15. Lee Page (for Morris, 67), 16. Jay McKayne (for Moore, 80), 17. Ross Boyd (not used).

Referee: J. A. Sheffield (Burntwood).

1-0 Richard Minor (34)
2-0 Andy Kinsey (59)
3-0 Richard Minor (64)
4-0 Jordan Johnson (90)

Newcastle: Andy Kinsey (YC, 77)
Runcorn: Robbie Moore (YC, 77), Michael Morrison (YC, 80), Ged Courtney (YC, 81)

Presentations were made to Greg Clowes, Neville Thompson and Danny Read, the respective Vodkat League Manager, Player and Goalkeeper of the Month for August.