A goal midway through the second half by Runcorn’s Carl Rodgers was enough to send the Hallmark Security Premier Division Side through to the Cheshire Senior Cup Second Round this evening.
Runcorn had arrived at the Moss Rose on the back of a three-game losing streak after riding high for much of the season. Jim Hall opted for a mixture of youth and experience with David Fitzpatrick, Keith Lowe and Jamie Grimes all included to bolster members of the exciting youth team, with Manny Idem and Enoch Andoh getting some useful game time and the opportunity to press for a place in Saturday’s squad for the Oldham game.
Despite what were decent playing conditions for a cold January evening, both sides found it difficult to settle into the game and the first period of the half was a story of promising build ups with misplaced final passes, as both sides failed to provide a goal threat.
Runcorn, playing 5-3-2 opted to try and use the long ball into the channels to try and stretch the Silkmen defence. Macc’s main threat came down the right-hand side with Kane Nolan and Sam Jordan linking up well. However, despite the promptings of both Fitzpatrick and Kabbani, the Silkmen found it hard to break down the solid Runcorn backline, ably marshalled by Simon Thelwell.
It was Runcorn who posed the first serious goal threat. Hesitation in the Silkman rear-guard saw the ball drop to Shaun Weaver just inside the box . His powerful strike was well saved by Idem low down to his right.
On 25 minutes the Silkmen lost Jamie Grimes through a slight injury and he was replaced by George Richardson.
As the half progressed Macc came more into the game, with Enoch Andoh seeing plenty of the ball. Good play by Hall and Andoh set up Mohammed whose first time strike was well saved by Reid in the Runcorn goal.
Half Time: Macclesfield Town 0 Runcorn Town 0
The second half saw the introduction of Joe Cobey in place of Mohammed for The Silkmen, but it was Runcorn who made the early running.
Tuck set up Brazel who shot wide and this was quickly followed by a penalty shout for Runcorn as Tuck was sent tumbling in the box. Mr Barnard, however was unimpressed.
Further Runcorn pressure saw Wainwright’s ball into the box turned acrobatically goalward by Tuck - bringing about an excellent save by Idem.
Runcorn almost broke the deadlock soon afterwards when a through ball by Brazel saw Weaver clean through on goal. However he was quickly closed down by Idem and the Macclesfield custodian blocked his effort.
Having weathered the storm, Macc came back into things, with Andoh and Jordan both causing problems for the Runcorn backline. A great ball by Hall put Nolan away and his cross was punched clear by Reid, who did well under pressure.
Just after the hour came the game’s defining moment. A Runcorn attack down their left had been effectively dealt with and the ball passed back to Idem. Unfortunately, his clearance went straight to Carl Rodgers whose first time effort found the empty net to give Runcorn the lead.
Buoyed by the goal Runcorn again pushed forward and Brazel went tumbling in the box, though again the referee was unmoved.
As the game progressed, Runcorn began to defend deeper as they sensed a shock result was in the offering.
Macc pushed further forward in an attempt to gain an equaliser though. Andoh had a shot blocked and excellent build up play by Fitzpatrick and Hall set Andoh up again, but his shot from the left side of the box drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.
Andoh was then again in the thick of the action, as his menacing run was halted by Weaver at the expense of a free-kick and a yellow card.
The resulting free-kick was pumped into the box and subsequently dropped to Cobey, whose left footed strike drifted just wide with Reid beaten.
The final throw of the dice saw Richardson combining well with Andoh, but the winger’s shot was blocked and the rebound cleared, as Runcorn hung on seal their progression.
Final Score: Macclesfield Town 0 Runcorn Town 1
Macclesfield Town: Idem, Nolan, Lowe, Fitzpatrick, Grimes (Richardson '25), Kabbani, Jordan, Mohammed (Cobey '45), Andoh, Phillips (Holden '84), Hall.
Sub not used: Parkinson