By Chris Gibbs
Castle edge out Runcorn
A goal on his full debut from Tom Jones was enough to secure three vital points for the boys as we climbed away from the relegation places at the expense of promotion-chasing Runcorn Linnets.
The only goal of the game came on the half hour mark as Jake Avery won possession near the byline in the Runcorn penalty box and pulled the ball back for Tom, who had a simple tap in.
There were a number of impressive performances throughout the team on a day when our committed play nullified a Runcorn side who are going to be – as they always are – part of the promotion picture.
The back four were as solid as ever, giving excellent protection to Slinny in goal. In fact, the big fella apart from one save down at his near post from a second half free kick, was relatively untroubled and in the main was needed as a sweeper keeper rather than being called upon to make key saves.
Our skipper Tommy put in a solid performance and is clearly already benefiting from having the experienced Jack Sherratt a little higher up the pitch reading the game.
It was a good performance as well from Isaac Graham who recovered well from picking up an early booking to help drive the team forward.
Without running through every single performance, to a man this was a confident display from the boys who can surely start to train their thoughts towards the upper echelons of the league rather than nervously looking over their shoulders.
It’s important though to recognise the contribution of Jake Avery, making his full home debut, who ran the channels with endless energy and whose interception was the decisive moment in creating the only goal of the game.
With Dan Cockerline having moved on, it’s a different approach with our forward play but this stretches throughout the team. The confidence gained from the 2-1 win at Mossley last weekend was evident to see, shown by the way that the team was prepared to play out from the back whenever a passing option was on.
We controlled the game in the first half and were fully deserving of our half-time 1-0 lead and though Runcorn had a lot more of the play in the second half, the closest they came to an equaliser was when Will Saxon was adjudged to have been brought down by Slinny just outside the box towards the end of the game. Slinn was yellow-carded but the free kick came to nothing.
It’s seven points from nine after Bakes’ first three games at the helm and we have another tough week ahead.
We travel to City of Liverpool on Tuesday night and then Avro next weekend as we try to keep the positive momentum going.
Come on Castle!
Team: Slinn, Derbyshire, Ritchie, Tommy Van der Laan, Jordan, Stubbs, Graham, Sherratt, Avery, Jones, (Adu Gyamfi 70), Jack Van der Laan, (Speed 66).