RUNCORN Linnets Ladies came out on top in the battle of the two teams with a 100 per cent records at the summit of the Cheshire Women’s League Premier Division with a 5-2 win at Rylands Women.

The home side were quick to exert pressure on the Linnets defence, creating three good chances in the opening minutes.

The visitors responded in kind with former Rylands player Jess Bazley having an effort cleared off the line in a frantic beginning to the match.

It came as no surprise when Player of the Match Bazley opened the scoring on 16 minutes - this was always going to be her game.

Flowing moves by both sides saw chances squandered at either end before substitute Marcia Jones-Sacharewicz, on for the injured Lile Ashley, made it 0-2 in the 33rd minute.

In a period of sustained pressure, the Linnets forced a number of corners, the second of which Hannah Collins headed home.

An accidental clash between a Linnets forward and the Rylands ‘keeper resulted in the latter taking no further part.

The first task for Rylands stand-in ‘keeper was to pick the ball out of the net after a long-range Chelsea Gillies shot in the 44th minute.

A minute later, a lapse in concentration in the Linnets defence allowed a Rylands forward to get in behind to reduce the arrears, just before the half time whistle blew.

The Linnets expected the home side to come out all guns blazing in the second half. Rylands did just that, forcing a string of early corners. From one such opportunity, a free header at the far post saw the deficit further cut further to 4-2.

The visitors weathered the storm and should have increased their lead on 65 minutes but the chance went begging.

In a pulsating end-to-end game, the Linnets struck a further blow to the home side’s ambition thanks to Jones-Sacharewicz’s second, amid appeals for offside, in the 71st minute.

With Rylands going inches wide with a free kick at one end, only the width of a post denied Jones-Sacharewicz a hat trick at the other.

Linnets manager John Pickering was happy with the result and three more points while admitting that his team has played better this season.

However, the visitors had done their homework on the opposition and it paid dividends.

Runcorn Linnets Ladies: Pickering, Isherwood (Graham 54), Finnegan (Walton 81), Collins, Middleton, Rogers (Russell 37), Barker, Gillies (Wieland 60), Hewitt (Gillies 77), Bazley, Ashley (Jones-Sacharewicz 28).

Caption:

Opening goal scorer Jess Bazley takes the Linnets forward, watched by captain Becky Barker. (Photo Neil Thornton).