DESPITE a nine-man defeat in an absorbing contest at Prescot Cables, Runcorn Linnets still sit on top of the Evo-Stik League West Division table.

And they will take comfort that, without a league game this week, they will head into November having already played eight away games and only four at home.

Linnets, who host Vauxhall Mktord in the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday, 7.45pm, took a second-minute lead at Prescot through Danny O'Brien but the 743 supporters could not have guessed what was to come.

Two first-half dismissals ultimately led to the visitors leaving empty-handed but leadership rivals Prescot could only seal the win 10 minutes from time.

Freddie Potter was the first to see red on 13 minutes after he retaliated to a challenge with a shove.

A goalward shot struck the arm of Mike Simpson, who was adjudged to have kept the ball out of the goal, and he was sent off after 43 minutes.

Christopher Almond sent Dylan Forth the wrong way with the spot kick.

Before half-time both sides had a good chance to take a lead and it was Runcorn who created the better chances in the third quarter before inevitably starting to tire.

With only 10 minutes remaining, the Linnets resilience was finally broken.

A cross to the far post was headed away by Peter Wylie but the ball landed at the feet of Michael Monaghan who's low curling effort clipped the knee of Danny O’Brien before finding the far bottom corner.

Runcorn Linnets: Dylan Forth, Louis Corrigan, Aaron Morris, Peter Wylie, Danny O’Brien, Michael Simpson Kris Holt, Kyle Hamid, Freddie Potter, Connor McCarthy, Paul Shanley. Subs: Kurt Sherlock, Zac Aley. Not user: Bobby Evans, Niall Watson, Kieran Nolan.