Bristol Rovers 0 Runcorn 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 16 November 2002

Runcorn's travelling band of 300 fans know they should be going into the FA Cup second round draw without the need of a replay.

So does their player boss Liam Watson, who squandered a great chance to give the Cheshire part-timers a sixth league scalp.

With just over an hour gone Runcorn's lively flanker Kevin Leadbetter picked out his boss with a perfect cross from the left. Watson was unmarked at the far post but sent a header well off target.

A minute later Watson who had come on for Matt McNeil at half time drew the save of the tie from Scott Howie at the end of a sharp run, but that moment of glory had passed Runcorn by.

Struggling in division three Rovers escaped to a replay and they never looked like winning this game.

Their manager Ray Graydon said: "Runcorn worked very hard and I will take nothing from them. Of course I am disappointed by the result, but I have taken on a tough job.

"We went into it with five defeats on the spin and there is no confidence in our game." Without a hint of cup nerves Runcorn settled quickly and had more of the tie without quite finding the finish to worry Howie.

Referee Mark Cooper was the biggest test facing both sides ruling with a relentless whistle he registered 10 fouls and three bookings in the first 15 minutes. By half time the cards had gone to five and the foul count read Rovers 17 Runcorn 10, without a bad one anywhere.

Rovers found it impossible to impress themselves on their Unibond opposition.

Runcorn had a compact back three of Mike Tomlinson, Chris Lightfoot and Peter Elllis, who smothered every raid.

Rovers' main striker Paul Tait struggled to find room to lay off balls, but a cheer went up when he found his side's first shot on-target deep in the second half, though he was in the centre circle at the time

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