A GAME that started so brightly for Winsford United against Irlam ended in a 7-1 home thrashing.

Matthew Russell opening the scoring for Blues but with 25 minutes on the clock the game took a turn for the worse for Winsford.

Darcy O’Connor was sent off and from the resulting penalty the visitors levelled the scores and were then ruthless in the second half.

After seeing their three-game winning run come to an end at the hands of Prestwich Heys, Winsford were looking to get back to winning ways.

Going into the game Blues were without in-form striker Joe Duckworth. Winsford’s number nine has seven goals in as many games, and three man of the match awards so far this season. His absence was always going to be a big miss for Lee Duckworth’s side.

It was the visitors who had a golden opportunity to open the scoring inside 10 minutes.

Stephen Jacks broke through the Winsford defensive line before finding Ethan Cartwright who forced Perry Bircumshaw into an excellent goal-line clearance.

As it has done in previous games, the threat of falling behind shocked Winsford into life.

Dylan Chalice made a great run down the line before he was brought down inside the area. With the usual penalty taker Duckworth missing, up stepped Matthew Russell to give the Blues the lead.

Irlam almost responded straight from the kick off. A long ball saw two Winsford defenders collide, allowing the ball to run through to Liam Pollitt who found Cartwright, but Ryan Hamer in the Winsford goal made the save from close range.

The lead didn’t last long as a misplaced pass handed Irlam possession which led to Darcy O’Connor seeing red for pulling down Cartwright in the box. Max Bardsley-Rowe levelled the game from the spot.

The sending off left Winsford to play the remaining 75 minutes with 10 men.

With a man down it didn’t stop Winsford from getting forward themselves.

Jack Watts took a tumble inside the area from what looked like a push in the back from the Irlam defender, but both the referee and linesman disagreed with the fan’s complaints.

Moments later the ball was in the back of the Winsford net again. A long ball over the top bounced over Hamer giving Jacks the simplest of finishes.

In the opening minutes of the second half Winsford got off to the worst possible start, conceding two in two minutes.

Andrew Langford found Skinner inside the area who fired low past the goalkeeper.

Skinner was then at the heart of the action again, this time he turned provider. It was his pass that put Pollitt in on goal and he calmly slotted the ball into the corner for the fourth.

After falling further behind, Winsford never gave up.

Damian Skolorzynski saw his long-range effort go just wide of the far post.

Blues went close again on the hour mark, Hamer collected a corner and instantly released Dylan Chalice with a superb kick. Chalice showed his turn of pace before finding David Short with the cross but his volleyed effort went wide.

With 20 minutes remaining Irlam took full advantage of the extra man. Two quickfire goals from Bardsley-Rowe and Skinner extended the lead. The seventh came shortly after. Bardsley-Rowe unselfishly passed the ball to Jacks who grabbed his second of the game.

In the remaining minutes Hamer pulled off multiple good saves to deny the visitors from extending their lead further.

An afternoon to forget for Winsford. They will look to get back to winning ways against Avro on the 8th of September.

Winsford: Ryan Hamer, Darcy O’Connor, Perry Bircumshaw, Jack Watts, Steven Jenyons, Samuel Parr, Lewis Benson, Matthew Russell, Dylan Chalice, Matthew Boland, Daniel Boden. Subs: Damian Skolorzynski, Matthew Coughlan, Lee Duckworth, Jacob Kirwin, David Short