Saturday’s short trip to Wigan resulted in a 3-0 defeat to newly-promoted Robin Park, yet Town had plenty of chances themselves to halt a sequence of seven games without a win. Once again, defensive frailty proved their undoing, for St. Helens had the bulk of the possession and more chances than their opponents. Town missed the penetrative runs of Carl Osman, who was missing with injury whilst Adam Howard, who had in recent games provided attacking options down the left flank, appeared in the Robin Park line-up among a number of former St. Helens players.
Many of Town’s young team spent last season playing for Robin Park Reserves and they had plenty to prove but, as so often has happened in the recent past, it was a case of ex-Town players returning to haunt the St. Helens side. Steve Edwards and Phil Williams created several attacking possibilities between them early doors but they came to nothing and, after 21 minutes, former Town striker Phil Howard netted following a free kick 30 yards out by another St. Helens old boy Colin Quirk, which was headed across goal by Joe Hull. Town responded with another Edwards break down the touch line.
He took the ball to the goal line and found Shaun Judge whose shot was saved at close range by keeper Jason Foulds. The home side then went two up, Quirk the architect once again, as he caught Town goalie Lee Novak off balance and Richard Livingston headed home on 27 minutes.
The game was an end-to-end affair after that, both sides having chances, none better than Judge again whose shot was well saved by Foulds, before the home team wrapped up the match with a third goal a minute from the break, Howard combining with Hull for the latter to head home. Still, there was time for Judge to bring out another outstanding save from Foulds as the half-time whistle sounded.
The second half was of little account, the game already over as a contest. Manager Ian Granite sent on three substitutes in the closing quarter, Alex Dunne (for Edwards), Lee Harrison (for Judge) and Ash Rimmer (for McNair) and the defence looked a much steadier unit in the second period.
With several games in hand against teams around them in the table, Town now begin a run of nine games in 33 days, including mid-week games at home to Bootle, Runcorn Linnets and Norton United and away trips to AFC Liverpool and Linnets again.
Norton and AFC Liverpool are right down there in the basement with St. Helens and those two games in particular look like the proverbial “six pointers”, even at this stage of the season.
Town travel to Winsford United on Saturday and are back at Edge Green Street next Tuesday (13th November) when Runcorn Linnets are the visitors, kick off 7.45pm