IN what was arguably their best performance of the season so far, Runcorn Linnets Ladies turned giantkillers to beat North West Regional South side Altrincham LFC - securing a place in the quarter-finals of the Cheshire County FA Cup.

The Linnets had the home side on the back foot straight away, forcing a corner after only 20 seconds.

Chelsea Gillies hit narrowly wide before the home side responded but Lyndsey Hopley, in the Runcorn goal, was equal to the shot.

The Linnets took the lead in the 14th minute. Mollie Hewitt played a great ball into the box, Marcia Jones- Sacharewicz controlling the ball before turning to bury an unstoppable shot past the home 'keeper.

With Becky Barker and Ellen Johnston dominant at the heart of the Linnets defence, the Robins were reliant on set pieces as a way back into the match but the visitors continued to hold firm.

A fast Linnets break had the Altrincham 'keeper scrambling back as quick-thinking Lile Ashley nearly made it two on 26 minutes.

Altrincham began to get a first-time foothold in the game but wasted opportunities before being grateful to their 'keeper for a tremendous save in the dying seconds of the first half.

The second began with the fog seemingly becoming thicker and the distinct possibility of the match being abandoned.

Altrincham, now with slope advantage, started to take the game to the Linnets, forcing corner after corner but again without breaching the Linnets rearguard.

Beth Graham, giving probably her best performance in a Linnets shirt, and Ellie Isherwood put in solid shifts.

On the hour, Runcorn made their first substitution bringing on Jess Bazley on for the hardworking Lucy Wieland with Ellie Dyson consequently switching to left midfield.

But Dyson was soon forced off with an injury.

With 72 minutes played, Runcorn were awarded a free kick on the left of the box.

Ashley floated the ball in and as it bobbled in the Altrincham penalty area, she moved in to pick up the rebound and lash the ball past the 'keeper.

On 74 minutes, a deflected Altrincham shot hit the top of the Runcorn bar but Hopley caught the ball firmly as it dropped.

In a move to see out the game and secure a victory which left manager understandably elated, Jones-Sacharewicz was replaced by midfielder Stacey Conner for the final seven minutes.

Runcorn Linnets Ladies: Hopley, Isherwood, Johnston, Barker, Graham, Wieland, (Bazley 60) Dyson, (Rogers 70) Gillies, Hewitt, Jones-Sacharewicz, (Conner 83) Ashley.