RUNCORN Linnets returned to the summit of the North West Counties Premier after securing a comfortable win over lowly Squires Gate in their first match in a fortnight.

The Linnets began well in the dreadful conditions, forcing an early save from the visitors’ keeper David Rodgerson.

Kyle Hamid went close twice as the hosts continued to create chances.

The deadlock was finally broken on the half-hour, as Antony Hickey never giving up on a ball that looked certain to run out of play and fired the Linnets ahead from the extremely tight angle, Rodgerson’s hand helping it inside the near post.

As the goal lifted the pressure off the Linnets, Kevin Towey doubled the Runcorn lead before half-time going round Rodgerson and slotting home into the empty Squires Gate net.

The visitors did enjoyed a bright spell after the restart but it was the Linnets who extended their lead on 66 minutes.

After a penalty was awarded to the home side for handball, Towey finished his second from the spot.

Late on substitute Warrenn Bellew almost got in on the scoring act immediately, his curling shot tipped wide by the busy Rodgerson, Gavin Salmon also testing the keeper late on.

With Maine Road losing 2-1 at Bootle and Norton United’s match at Congleton postponed, the three points see Runcorn regain top spot.

Runcorn Linnets: Andy Robertson, Michael Duffy, Martin Crowder, Mike Burke, Mike Tomlinson (C), Matt Cross, Michael Ellison, Kyle Hamid, Antony Hickey, Kev Towey, Matt Atherton. Subs: Warren Bellew, Adam Wade, Gavin Salmon.

Attendance: 301