RUNCORN Linnets Ladies bowed out of the Cheshire FA County Cup 3-1 at Northwich Vixens after a quarter-final not without controversy.

After weathering an initial opening 10-minute period, in which the hosts should have taken a lead, the Linnets took apparent charge with a fabulous Lile Ashley strike in the 15th minute.

But deep into first-half stoppage time, the hosts struck a hugely contentious equaliser.

As Ellie Johnston was about to clear the ball, a Northwich player appeared to knock the ball past Johnston with a hand to get in a cross, which was converted by a home forward.

The goal was awarded but clearly changed the dynamic of the game and left the visitors plainly aggrieved.

This affected John Pickering`s young side in the opening minutes of the second half.

The momentum swung to Northwich, who scored twice more in the 55th and 58th minutes to seal their place in the semis.

Runcorn Linnets Ladies: Hopley, Graham, Barker, Johnston, Isherwood, Hewitt (Connor), Bazley, Gillies, Wieland (Jones-Sacharewicz), Dyson, Ashley (Pickering). Sub: not used Rogers.