Crewe FC 6 Runcorn Town Reserves 1

Wednesday 26th October 2011
Crewe FC 6 Runcorn Town Reserves 1
Cheshire League Division 2
At: Cumberland Sports Ground, Thomas Street
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: none; Programme: free (2 pages)
Attendance: 55 (headcount)
Weather: mild, rain during first half
Duration: first-half: 46:06; second-half: 45:00

A step into the unknown for me and a bit of history at the same time as I saw my first ever Cheshire League Division 2 game which was also Crewe FC’s first home game played entirely under lights. The home side and division leaders marked the occasion in style with an emphatic 6-1 victory against Runcorn Town Reserves who finished with nine men.

Home ground for Crewe FC is the Cumberland Sports Ground (aka Cumberland Arena), a floodlight eight-lane athletics venue with a clubhouse/changing room building and adjacent floodlight 3G court. Portable dugouts were positioned on the near touchline around the halfway line and some overhang at the front of the clubhouse could have provided some shelter from the rain though I’m not sure what sort of view of the game this vantage point provided. Divisional rivals Sandbach share the ground as do the Crewe Railroaders and it was American Football team’s home game on Saturday that forced Crewe FC to play this evening. Gridiron markings were still visible!

I knew Andy from Nantwich (at Brocton last night) would probably be at the game and he was. Also present were ‘Hoddy’ and ‘Zeberdee’ as well. I wasn’t sure about a programme but Hoddy produced two double-sided teamsheet-style programmes in different sizes. A welcome and appreciated bonus!

Crewe FC (wearing an all navy blue kit) got the game started attacking the hammer cage end in the first half, right to left in relation to the dugouts. Even though most of the play occurred in the Runcorn half, it was in fact the visitors who had the first attempt on goal. Kevin Hammond, on the right inside the area, fired a low angled shot which Crewe keeper Wes Newton saved at the near post.

Crewe soon started to create chances and forced Steve Whitfield into a couple of excellent saves to keep out a deflected shot from Simon Everall and another low effort from the same attacker.

It was no surprise when Crewe took a 14th-minute lead. There was no offside when Everall broke into the area down the right and saw a low shot parried by Whitfield. The loose ball fell kindly for Ian Carr to fire home from 12 yards out.

As rain started to fall, Crewe were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out. Newton, the goalkeeper, stepped up and hit a thunderous drive which Whitfield acrobatically punched clear for a corner.

Everall added a second goal from Crewe in the 20th minute. He latched onto a throughball, got the better of defender Robbie Moore and rounded Whitfield before slotting home. Moore picked up a booking which he would regret later in the game. Paul Illidge was also booked six minutes, another one relevant to an incident later in the game.

A couple of goals at the half-hour mark as good as put the outcome beyond doubt even with an hour still remaining. In the 30th minute, Shane Wild delivered a delicious cross from the right which Everall headed home through the hands and between the legs of Whitfield.

Barely 70 seconds later, 3-0 turned into 4-0. This time Danny Lloyd hit a 25-yard drive which slipped through the hands of the diving Whitfield on the way into the left corner of the net.

Runcorn created a couple of chances. Newton did well to keep out a shot from Connor Anderson and Darren Moore headed against the bat from the resulting corner.

Whitfield limped off with a leg injury to be replaced by substitute Neil Owens in goal.

There was a degree of confusion over the scorer of Runcorn’s goal scored in the 45th minute. Kevin Hammond’s free-kick into a packed area ended up in the back of the net via a deflection. An own goal perhaps but officially credited to central defender Darren Moore.

Welcome hot drinks were served from a hatch in the clubroom prior to the second half which was one-way traffic in favour of Crewe. They endured a series of near misses and won a host of corners before adding a fifth goal in the 65th minute. Everall pulled the ball back from the bye-line for Wild to slot home from barely eight yards out.

Runcorn were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute when Robbie Moore picked up a second yellow card for dissent. The red card got another airing four minutes later though personally I think Mr Taylor should have shown some leniency. This time it was Illidge who picked up a second booking following a foul right in front of our noses – ‘harshly penalised’ was perhaps the phrase to sum up the decision.

From the free-kick on the right that resulted in Illidge’s dismissal, Lloyd delivered the ball to the far post where Harris headed home to make it 6-1.

Straight from the restart, Crewe were awarded a penalty for a mystery foul on Everall. He placed the ball the spot but fired it wide of the left-hand post.

Crewe looked to increase their advantage further against the nine men during the last ten minutes. Ethan Tizzard saw a shot parried by Owens who also got down to hold a left-foot shot from Lloyd. Wild had an even better chance though only succeeded in sending a clear shot straight at Owens.

All in all, decent company to watch the game with and well worth the trip, even though the M6 was playing up between the two Stoke exits which forced a detour through Newcastle.

Referee: Lea Taylor (Northwich).
Assistants: club linesmen.

1-0 Ian Carr (14)
2-0 Simon Everall (20)
3-0 Simon Everall (30)
4-0 Danny Lloyd (31)
4-1 Darren Moore (45)
5-1 Shane Wild (65)
6-1 Craig Harris (76)

Crewe: none
Runcorn: Robbie Moore (YC, 20), Paul Illidge (27), Adam Horrocks (YC, 32), Robbie Moore (YC/RC, 70), Paul Illidge (YC/RC, 74)