RUNCORN Linnets survived late pressure from Ossett’s 10 men to secure a 2-1 victory which was overall much more convincing than the margin suggests.

The second and final home game of the month saw the first ever visit of United, and it brought a return to winning ways, after a lacklustre defeat at Brighouse Town a fortnight earlier.

The team might have been inactive, but manager Michael Ellison had been busy, making three new outfield signings and lining up a new goalkeeper after the return to Rylands FC of Michael Emery, a disappointment after his arrival coincided with the start of an unbeaten run of eight games, and landed him the player of the month award for his only complete month at the club.

New ’keeper Craig Ellison was not yet available, so Cheadle Town’s Danny Taberner, who was instrumental in Northwich Vics’ run to the FA Vase semi-finals last season, stepped in for the day.

His commanding presence at the back was much appreciated in a confident Linnets display.

Zac Aley launched a fast cross into the penalty area where Paul Shanley, returning after a spell of illness and recuperation, picked up where he had left off at Christmas.

Under pressure from two defenders and goalkeeper Brett Soliter, he finished with aplomb into the bottom left corner.

There were only 15 minutes on the clock when the Runcorn lead was doubled.

McCarthy attacked from the left and played a through ball to Shanley, who beat two men and whipped what might have been a shot across the six-yard box.

The visitors pulled a goal back, having hardly threatened the home goal for 84 minutes. A miss-hit clearance reached Stockdill alone in the penalty area, and he gave Taberner no chance.

One more flurry of attacking effort from the visitors had home fans fearing the worst but a measure of home relief at the final whistle belied a game which Runcorn had dominated.

An open invitation for Linnets to continue playing quality football, on the best pitch in the league, will follow at Trafford this Saturday. Kick-off 3pm.

Runcorn Linnets: Danny Taberner, Louis Corrigan, Peter Wylie, Scott Lycett, Ally Brown, Zac Aley (Yianni Nicolaou 77), Liam Caddick, Kyle Hamid, Connor McCarthy (Ryan Gibson 51), Lewis McKinney (Louis Hayes 64), Paul Shanley. Sub not used: Jack Hinnigan.

Attendance: 379.