With five fixtures going ahead across the Joma and Sports Traider division in #MatchweekFour of the NPLFA season, there was no shortage of goals, drama and excitement.
In the Joma division, Leek Town beat Mossley 5-1 to climb to the top of the table on goal difference thanks to goals from Jay Finney, Mbemba Jewara, Brandyn Williams and a brace from Harry Bickerton. In the only other game to go ahead in the Joma division, Mickleover Sports beat Belper Town 2-1. With this victory, Mickleover move up to 3rd, level on points with both Leek Town and Belper Town. With just four weeks gone of the NPLFA season, the Joma division is already looking nail-bitingly close.
In the Sports Traider division, Widnes extend their lead at the top of the table with 4-0 win away to Skelmersdale United, making it four wins out of four games. They are the only team in the NPLFA this season to have a perfect record. Runcorn Linnets, who were beaten by Widnes last week bounced back well in #MacthweekFour with a 4-2 win away at Belper Town, which moves them up to second in the table. Congratulations to Runcorn Linnets striker who’s two goals earnt him the title of ‘Player of the week!’ in #MatchweekFour. Ossett United picked up their first points of the season after beating Radcliffe 3-1.
With 10 teams in action in #MatchweekFour, this meant it was incredibly tough decision when choosing #TeamOfTheWeek. After scoring two goals against Belper Town in the Sports Traider division, Ross Avies of Runcorn Linnets was named ‘Player of the Week!’ in #MatchweekFour of the NPLFA season. Congratulations to everyone that was nominated by their coaches and selected in the #TeamOfTheWeek.
With a whole host of brilliant games on show as well as some late game drama and incredible goals, this week’s addition of the #MatchweekFour Highlights Show is a must watch. Look out for this week’s goal of the week by Runcorn Linnets student, Aiden Brown.
The #MatchweekFour edition of the game review of the week comes from Belper Town v Runcorn Linnets. This was a hard fought battle that had passion, late goal drama and a wonderful strike from Aiden Brown that was named ‘goal of the week’. Listen to what Belper Town captain, Liam Newbold and the NPLFA 'Player of the week' and Runcorn Linnets striker Ross Avies had to say after the game.
RUNCORN HOLD ON AGAINST BELPER AFTER CLOSE SECOND HALF.
Despite being 3-0 up at half time, this game wasn’t as straightforward for Runcorn Linnets as they might have hoped. An inspired comeback in the second half by Belper Town gave Runcorn a bit of a scare, but thanks to a brilliant late goal by Aiden Brown, Linnets were able to hang on and claim all three points.
Belper started the game well, pressing high and putting the Runcorn defence under pressure early on. The first chance of the game fell to the home side just two minutes in, after some nice play on the left wing from Conor O’hara and George Shaw. A nice one-two led to O’hara beating a Runcorn defender and trying a low, driven cross that was blocked and Runcorn were able to clear the danger.
Belper had some more joy out of their high-energy press, when George Shaw nicked the ball from a Runcorn centre back and played in Jaheim Steadman. He opened up his body and tried a curling effort to the far corner, but the shot was blocked again. Runcorn were able to counter attack, and a long ball from Liam Hughes caught the Belper defence out. Ross Avies showed off his blistering pace to get on the end of the long ball and slotted his shot home for Runcorn’s opening goal. Belper Town 0-1 Runcorn Linnets.
Avies was proving a handful for the Belper defence and gave Runcorn the chance to extend their lead on the 15-minute mark. He dropped deer to pick up the ball and turned two Belper defenders. After some nice footwork he played in Adam Will who made an overlapping run, but put his shot wide.
The Belper defence was undone by a long ball again after 18 minutes thanks to a hopeful punt forward from Runcorn defender, Sean Goldsmith. Ross Avies displayed his pace again and proved too quick for the Belper defence once again. He took the ball in his stride and was able to fire in his second goal of the game. Belper Town 0-2 Runcorn Linnets.
The biggest chance for Belper in the first half came after 25 minutes. A deep free kick from Liam Newbold was pumped into the Runcorn box and wasn’t dealt with first time. George Shaw found himself with a yard of space but couldn’t keep the bouncing ball down and blasted his shot over the bar.
Runcorn were able to extend their lead just before the half an hour mark, thanks to a delicate finish by Harrison Thatcher. Ross Avies was involved in the goal again after he clipped in a curling free kick from 30 yards out. Thatcher was able to get on the end of it and guided the ball towards the far corner. Belper Town 0-3 Runcorn Linnets.
Half time: Belper Town 0-3 Runcorn Linnets.
After going 3-0 down inside the first half, Belper Town coach Louis Penty was keen to inspire his team back into the game with a passionate team talk that was conducted on the pitch. This seemed to work after starting the second half well, Belper Town looked like a different team, full of energy and passion.
Despite this Runcorn could have been 4-0 up inside 50 minutes and Ross Avies could have completed his hat-trick. After intercepting a pass from the Belper defence, Joe McGowan played a nice through ball around the corner for Avies. He outpaced the chasing Belper defender but could only poke his shot wide of the goal.
Belper got back into the game after 54 minutes, thanks to a tap in from George Shaw that came from a Belper corner. The ball was whipped into to the area and wasn’t cleared by the Runcorn defence. George Shaw was on hand to tap the ball home, despite protests from the Runcorn players asking for a foul on the keeper. Belper Town 1-3 Runcorn Linnets.
The home side had a golden opportunity to reduce the lead after 75 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Sean Doyle managed to dance his way into the box with some nice trickery and before he could get a shot off he was pulled back. The referee awarded a penalty and Jaheim Steadman made no mistake and stroked the spot kick home. Belper Town 2-3 Runcorn Linnets.
With Belper closing the lead and making it just a one-goal game, the intensity of the game picked up and tensions were high for the last 15 minutes.
Josh Brown could have put the game to bed for Runcorn with five minutes left. A short corner from Runcorn resulted in a nice one-two being played and a cross from Aiden Brown found Josh Brown wide open at the back post. He misjudged his header which trickled wide.
Runcorn found the all-important fourth goal in the 89th minute thanks to a wonder strike from Aiden Brown. After receiving the ball on the edge of the box with his back to goal, he managed to turn one defender, shimmy past another and cut inside on his right foot. He let off a pile driver of a shot that found the top left hand corner, earning Runcorn all three points and also being selected as #MatchweekFour’s ‘Goal of the week’. Belper Town 2-4 Runcorn Linnets.
Full time: Belper Town 2-4 Runcorn Linnets.