Ryan Brooke scored twice brace for Runcorn Linnets to help secure the three points to take them into the top five for the first time this season.

The opening minutes proved difficult for both sides, whom struggled in the wet and windy conditions. The Yellows had the best of the first half chances with Bootle debutant, Ryan Bopda keeping them at bay.

On loan from Altrincham, he was first called upon after ten minutes, amid confusion in his own area. James Short’s cross was blocked by James Cooper, almost wrong-footing the Number One, who managed to tip the effort round the woodwork for a corner.

Lewis Doyle fired straight at the keeper.

The Yellows look to be enjoying their first full season under Billy Paynter.

Ex-Sunderland midfielder Owen Robinson had the first half-chance of the evening for Bootle, but the Marine loanee could only drag his shot wide of the far post.

The Linnets immediately responded, and should have scored but Oliver Molley stabbed his effort straight at the ‘keeper.

The deadlock was eventually broken on the stroke of half time.

Bopba struggled to deal with Alex Parry’s long range effort, Brooke was on hand to guide the ball into the roof of the net.

The hosts opened the second half with a change in intensity, with Sam Burns almost making an instant impact, but his shot from distance was tipped over for a corner.

On the hour mark, The Bucks finally got the equaliser through Chester-loanee Jake Burton. His curling effort gave Bayleigh Passant at full stretch no chance.

Bootle almost doubled their lead immediately through Burns – with a carbon copy of his first half effort but Passant was equal to the task.


James Hooper, who started the night on the bench for Runcorn impressively set up fellow substitute Adam Moseley to neatly tap in at the back-post.

Hooper, having just returned from a stint in Australia, re-signed for The Linnets on Wednesday, was back in the old impressive routine. 

The energetic midfielder, Will Saxon, proved a threat for most of the evening, and earned Runcorn a penalty, and Brooke, who is fast becoming a club legend made no mistake from the spot to make it making it 1-3, with ten minutes left.

The brace was his 60th for the club, placing him sixth in the all-time Runcorn Linnets goalscorer’s charts, with the best goals per game ratio of the bunch, at 0.56.


The Linnets now sit in the play-off positions for the first time this season, whilst Bootle remain 16th, looking over their shoulders.