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Runcorn Linnets 1-0 Norton United
8:27pm Sunday 6th January 2013 in Sport
Runcorn opened 2013 with a 1-0 victory over Norton at the Millbank Linnets Stadium. Ross McDowell's 86th minute effort gave Linnets the points in a match which could have seen more goals from both sides. Norton started brightest but were unable to to make the breakthrough. As Runcorn managed to get themselves on top as the half progressed chances came to put themselves in front before half-time.
Matt Cross' header went off target before McDowell had the best chance of the half. From Kyle Hamid's cross his header agonisingly hit the bar.
Linnets had another chance in the very first minute of the second half, but Michael Burke's header shaved over the bar. This signalled the tone for a half which saw chances for both sides.
Norton's Richard Smith's free kick went wide of the near post before United spurned their best chance when Darren Chadwick had an open goal but found the side-netting.
Runcorn had another chance after Norton keeper was seemingly fouled but play was allowed to continue, Houghton putting the shot over.
Linnets keeper Adam Judge averted a disaster jumping on the loose ball after Burke had almost set up a tap-in for Norton.
The decisive moment finally went Linnets' way on 86 minutes, McDowell firing home Atherton's pass in the area to put the home side ahead.
He almost had another just after, but the chance was closed down by a Norton defender. Norton nearly levelled at the end, only for Michael Duffy's excellent clearance off the line as Runcorn held on for the win.