RUNCORN Linnets’ hopes of a FA Vase run to Wembley ended with a 3-2 home defeat against Marske United.

Although the game was even from the off Linnets weren’t able to create the clear-cut chances they needed.

Marske took the lead from a free kick when Craig Gott curled a good right-foot shot around the wall into the bottom corner of Linnets net. A very similar goal to Sunderland RCA’s in the previous round.

Linnets started well in the second half. An early penalty shout was denied but a corner ensued that led in turn to goalmouth scramble.

A couple of Runcorn set-pieces led to nought and then, in the 57th minute, Gott crossed from the right for Leon Carling to nod home from close range.

This was quickly followed in the 60th minute by the third goal — a Gott penalty.

Linnets mounted a strong comeback. On 70 minutes, a cross came in that Freddie Potter netted with his hand - receiving a yellow card.

Then, on 74 minutes, Danny O’Brien netted a penalty to make it 3-1.

Two minutes later, a lively Ant Hickey scored a gem from a narrow angle.

The last 14 minutes plus time added were frantic to say the least. The Marske ’keeper contrived to give Linnets an indirect free kick on the right edge of his six yard box.

The ball was rolled to Wellstead who hit it cleanly but ever so slightly too high. Heads in hands all round.

Into injury time and the noise levels rose further. A couple of Linnets corners were comfortably headed away. In the fifth minute added on, a chance for Wellstead one- on-one with Dean, who palmed away.

That was the cue for the final whistle. The Linnets players were clearly frustrated at the loss, later tweets indicated that they would remember this missed chance to advance towards Wembley for some time to come.

The Linnets fans were exemplary in applauding both teams from the pitch. The Marske players had been to their own fans at the far end before leaving the field to unanimous plaudits from Linnets supporters, who were appreciative of what had been an excellent battle between well-matched teams.

Marske march on among the favourites for the FA Vase, but this Saturday’s opponents for Linnets, 1874 Northwich, should take heart that they can compete in the way Linnets have with the best the Northern League can offer.

Runcorn Linnets: Matt Holmes, Matt Atherton, Aaron Morris, Jimmy Moore, Danny O’Brien, Kieran Nolan, Adam Jones, Kris Holt, Mark Houghton (C), Paul Shanley, Stuart Wellstead. Subs: Freddie Potter, Antony Hickey, Chris Lawton. Not used: Kasie Jones, Terry Smith (GK)

Marske United:Robert Dean, Josh Rowbotham, Liam O’Sullivan, Glen Butterworth, Leon Carling, Adam Wheatley (C), James Fairley, Craig Gott, Daniel Earl, Chay Liddle, Curtis Round. Subs: Michael Roberts. Unused Subs: Peter Bulmer, Matthew Bell, Ian Clark.

Attendance: 369.