A wet and windy Berry Street Garage stadium hosted Bootle versus Runcorn Linnets in the Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final, which saw the visitors progress to the final once a goalless draw was settled by a penalty shootout.

The match had the signs of a real physical battle early on when Runcorn defender Shaun O’Mahony was forced to change his shirt following an aerial collision with Bootle’s Lewis Sinnott, the latter was then replaced by Lance Houghton just 18 minutes in.

The home side threatened first when what appeared to be a harmless cross from Billy Smart looked certain to be gathered by Linnets keeper Danny Taberner, however, the ball was fumbled and trickled out for a corner.

The referee issued his first yellow card of the game 35 minutes in, when Bootle’s Nivaldo Rodrigues Ferreira was booked for a late tackle on Tom Moore.

STALEMATE: Both teams struggled to find a breakthrough / Photo: Alex Caddick

The fixture began to provide semi-final worthy spectacle just five minutes before the break, when play was paused due to a firework being let off near the pitch.

Moments before the half-time whistle, another booking was administered for the Bucks, with Smart being cautioned for dissent towards the referee.

The second-half began with the home side looking to make the breakthrough. Winger Sam Taylor gracefully skipped past two yellow shirts on the left-hand side, before firing a teasing pass across the face of goal, but the delivery evaded any contact.

Bootle were forced into another change 55 minutes in. A Linnets corner led to an awkward landing for Smart, who was in clear distress for a few minutes, leading to him being stretchered off and replaced by Connor Millington. Yellows manager Dave Wild also used this opportunity to make a switch of his own as Isaac Turner made way for Lewis Doyle.

In bizarre fashion, Doyle then received a straight red card just three minutes after his introduction for a late elbow on Bootle’s Nivaldo whilst competing for a header.

Wild then opted for a tactical change, replacing forward Matty Birchall for local lad and recent U21 call-up Josh Elvestone, as Linnets looked to add a physical presence up top for the remaining 30 minutes.

The Yellows came closest to opening the scoring just after the hour when central defender Sam Heathcote picked up the ball in central territory and tested his luck from long range, with his effort just skimming the bar on its way over.

END TO END: The second half saw both sides go close / Photo: Alex Caddick

Bootle attacked at the opposite end four minutes later, the ball endlessly bobbled in the Linnets penalty area until the decisive shot was eventually brilliantly blocked by Linnets defender O’Mahony.

The visitors made their final change of the match when winger Oliver McFayden came off for home-grown talent Eden Gumbs 75 minutes in.

The final chance of the 90 went to the Bucks, when James Flight tried his luck from distance, but the long-range attempt was fabulously saved by Taberner.

With the game tied at the final whistle, penalties at the Dodge Kop end followed, with Linnets taking first.

Penalty scored by Tom Moore (0-1), penalty scored by Connor Millington (1-1), penalty scored by Same Heathcote (1-2), penalty missed by Sam Taylor (1-2), penalty scored by James Short (1-3), penalty scored by Tom Peterson (2-3), penalty scored by Cameron Rooney (2-4), penalty missed by Eddie Clarke (2-4).

Runcorn Linnets advanced to the Liverpool Senior Cup final after winning 4-2 on penalties.