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St Helens Town 0-2 Runcorn Town
10:09pm Sunday 30th September 2012 in Sport
Last season’s runners-up Runcorn Town secured three points with a hard fought victory at Edge Green Street but St Helens will feel they that they suffered from a number of crucial refereeing decisions which ultimately contributed to their downfall.
St Helens started brightly and dominated the opening exchanges with Carl Osman and Shaun Judge combining well to find debutant Adam Howard whose shot from inside the box looked to be goal bound before a last ditch block diverted the ball away to safety.
It was Howard who started the next Town move as he sped down the left wing and he found Greg Harrison who crossed for Ste Edwards who was narrowly beaten to the ball. A rare foray forward from Runcorn almost saw the visitors to take the lead when former St Helens striker Liam Pearson was released by a through ball from McShane and he looked likely to score when one-on-one with Novak who stood up well and diverted the shot over the bar with his trailing foot.
Town went back on the offensive once again with Edwards, Howard and Cole Ashton having chances that tested the home ‘keeper; the latter forcing Latham to head off the line. Scott McNair had Town’s next chance when the ball found him unmarked six yards out after good work from Osman and Edwards but the bounce of the ball wasn’t kind and as he controlled the ball he was barged over but the referee allowed play to continue.
Town ‘keeper Novak had to be alert to keep St Helens from going behind when a Runcorn corner from the right broke to Spearitt at the far post his effort looked to be a certain goal but Novak extended himself well to shoot out a strong arm and divert the effort over the bar.
The visitors broke the deadlock much against the run of play when McShane was deemed to have been fouled by Novak who took the ball and the player as the Runcorn man broke into the box. It was McShane who netted the resultant spot kick.
The second half saw Town succumb to another harsh decision from the referee as he again gave a soft free kick outside the Town box when it appeared Lee Crompton had clearly won the ball. Danny Toone thundered his free kick in off the left hand upright from 25 yards.
Town continued to battle hard and Judge, Osman and Harrison were all thwarted by some resolute defending. Edwards had Town’s best opportunity when he broke clear and forced a fine save from Wills in the Runcorn goal. Late in the game Runcorn were awarded a second debatable penalty this time Ryan Malone went down easily and this time Mark Keddie stepped but Novak’s went the right way for the second time and gained his reward pushing the spot kick away.
Town take the long trip to Yorkshire on Saturday (6th October) as they visit Silsden with a 3pm kick off.