Harsh sending off proves crucial for Town

Martin Broderick clashes with Francis Smith.              Pic: Peter Naylor
Martin Broderick clashes with Francis Smith. Pic: Peter Naylor

Town gave league leaders Runcorn Linnets a run for their money on Saturday at the Silentnight Beds Stadium - before shipping four goals in the last 20 minutes of a 5-1 defeat.

Stewart Airdrie’s side took the lead through Thomas Henderson just after the hour, but the sending off of Chris Ridehalgh proved crucial.

Scott Reid had to make a smart save from Runcorn’s leading scorer Freddie Potter after seven minutes, and Mark Potter then wasted a big chance for the visitors.

Ridehalgh picked up a yellow card for bringing down Potter midway through the half - which looked soft.

Henderson, Scot Byrom and Joel Melia forced good stops from Richard Mottram, but the sides went in goal-less.

Just after the hour, Byrom’s corner was half cleared ato the edge of the area, where Henderson fired a great shot past Mottram.

Runcorn drew level two minutes later after a recycled corner was eventually drilled into the top corner by Matt Cross.

Ridehalgh was given his marching orders shortly after for another foul on Potter, and from the resulting free kick, Matthew Atherton got lucky, the ball bouncing off his shoulder and looping over Reid.

Two minutes later, Runcorn captain Michael Ellison flattened Henderson, having already been booked, but the referee didn’t even speak to the player.

From then on there was only going to be one winner, and two further goals from Potter and one from Francis Smith sealed Town’s fate.

Town now face a must-win game at home to Maine Road tomorrow (kick-off 3 p.m.).