By Sam Millne
Non-league football proved it’s alive and kicking in Sefton as more than 2,000 people turned out to watch Bootle beat Marine 0-3 in the Northern Premier League West – the eighth tier of English football.
The match, which sold out well in advance, was the first league meeting between the sides for 70 years and lived up to expectations, for the visiting supporters at least, as Bootle stunned The Mariners by scoring three without reply.
After a goalless first half, the match came to life shortly after the first of two floodlight failures caused a brief delay.
Ben Hodkinson, who had missed chances earlier on, was the man to open the scoring and initiate a whirlwind 10 minutes in which Bootle added two more, including a clever chip by Matthew McDonald, to put The Bucks out of sight.
Monday’s win means that Bootle become the first side to claim victory away at Marine since Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur famously did so almost one year ago.
Runcorn Linnets 2-1 Prescot Cables
There was another Merseyside matchup in the Northern Premier League, this time south of the Mersey between Runcorn Linnets and Prescot Cables.
A league season-high of 880 people attended the APEC Taxis Stadium to watch Linnets beat Cables 2-1.
A first-half own goal by George Nugent saw Runcorn take a narrow advantage into the second half before James Steele doubled their lead just before the hour mark.
15 minutes later, there was a stoppage in play as Cables’ John Shaw was forced off with a double ankle fracture that will keep him out for ‘a considerable period’.
The club can confirm this morning that defender John Shaw suffered a double ankle fracture during yesterdays game at Runcorn Linnets and will now be out for a considerable period. The club will support John in his recovery and we hope to see him back soon. Get well soon John 💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/vVAYGJiB2Z
— Prescot Cables FC (@PrescotCablesFC) December 28, 2021
Both teams continued to threaten but neither could break through until Taylor Brickell struck a powerful shot into the net from distance to make the score 2-1 with just injury time left to play.
Brickell’s moment of magic proved to be only a consolation meaning Prescot remain 18th in the table.
Witton Albion 1-4 Warrington Town
One division higher, Warrington Town came from behind to win 1-4 away at Witton Albion.
A shot from James Lawrie, which goalkeeper Dan Atherton should have dealt with better, meant The Yellows had to battle back.
In the end though, they won with relative ease, scoring four without conceding a second.
Jay Harris was arguably the standout performer on the day, netting his first two goals for the club on either side of half-time to help his team come from behind to win for the first time this season.
The three points mean Warrington will end 2021 just six points behind table-toppers Matlock Town.
Congleton Town 0-2 Vauxhall Motors
Further down the pyramid, Vauxhall Motors claimed their second consecutive win and clean sheet with a 0-2 win at Congleton Town, thanks to strikes from Kieran Knapper and Leo Riley within seven minutes of the match kicking off.
Ashton Town 2-1 St Helens Town
Pilkington 1-4 Nelson
West Didsbury & Chorlton 5-0 Cammell Laird 1907
Elsewhere, St Helens Town lost 2-1 against Ashton Town whilst Pilkington and Cammell Laird both fell to heavy defeats against Nelson and West Didsbury & Chorlton respectively.