Grogan gets winner in tight affair
By Matthew Jones
Crucial win for Boro in the race for promotion
By George Bishop-Green
A late first half header was enough to take all 3 points on a tense afternoon at the Neuven Stadium. Boro moved to within a point of Atherton Colleries at the top of the table, to set up a huge clash next week when the two sides meet.
Boro started the better of the two sides, with Callum Grogan heading just wide from a Metcalfe free kick. Set piece specialist Scott Metcalfe then had Runcorn scrambling again with a whipped corner which Wharton headed over. A chance fell to Tunde Owolabi through a ball over the top, which the keeper smartly stretched to tip over his bar.
Runcorn managed to weather the early storm and tried to get a foot hold in the game. Their skipper Paul Shanley managed to wriggle through 3 Boro defenders and tested Oliver Martin at his near post, who did well to get down to his left at the price of a corner.
Linnets continued to push forward and a magnificent block from Kyle Harrison prevents Runcorn taking the lead. A loose ball fell to Paul Shanley whos goalbound effort was somehow stopped by Kyle Harrison, to the relief of many in the stands.
Harrisons block surely galvanised the Boro players who looked to take back control of the game, after a string of corners, a cross from Harrison was met by Ben Wharton who saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Jordan Perrin. A dangerous ball in from a free kick from Metcalfe caused panic in the box, with the ball cannoning around and 2 blocked shots, before Runcorn managed to scramble the ball away.
The away side probably had their best chance of the game, when Rick Smith misjudged a long ball from Jordan Perrin in goal for Runcorn, Thomas Bailey latched on to the ball and drove into the box, but Bailey saw his shot come crashing back off the underside of the bar and cleared for a corner.
The breakthrough in the game came not long after this through surely the best player on the pitch today, Grogan. Boro won a corner right at the end of the first half, which Metcalfe swung another dangerous ball into the box and Grogan leapt to meet with a header down to the keepers right. This was Grogans 6th goal of the season, a great return for a defender, who ensured his team went into the break with a lead.
The second half started much cagier than the first, with not many chances to write about the first 15 minutes of the half, a booking for either side with Shanley receiving a yellow card for a foul and Grogan also receiving a yellow for stopping a counter attack on half way.
The Boro went close to a second when Wharton managed to stoop a header down to Metcalfe who drilled a shot that grazed the crossbar and over.
Runcorn looked the better of the two sides towards the end as the nerves set in for Boro, when a long ball over the top was met by second half sub Freddie Potter, but a perfectly timed tackle by Grogan hooked the ball away for a corner.
A bad day overall for Runcorn turned worse when Shanley received his marching orders from referee Daniel Locker after he was booked for a second time for diving. Shanley drove into the box and went down rather easily, but the referee was not to be fooled and sent the player off.
Linnets almost snatched a draw at the end of the game, a clipped ball into the box from a free kick was then headed across the face of goal and what seemed like a header destined for the goal was somehow deflected away by Grogan for a corner.
Scenes of jubilation greeted the referees full time whistle, with Boro fans really starting to now believe that maybe this year could end on a real high.
Boro manager Jon Macken was delighted with how his team dug in after the match, saying that the team really ground out this win. He felt the performance could still improve but was happy that the team rallied to deliver the 3 points. He felt a change to the mentality of the players has brought about the success this season. He also paid tribute to the crowd today, in which attendance was confirmed to be 516 today.
Full Interview with Jon Macken now available on YouTube