Marine AFC and Runcorn Linnets meet at the DCBL Stadium on Tuesday (April 18) in the final of the Liverpool Senior Cup.
The Mariners, who play in the Northern Premier League, take on Billy Paynter’s Linnets side – who are vying for promotion to step three.
Following a hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Liverpool Senior Cup made its much-anticipated return to the non-league calendar this season.
Liam Watson’s Southport were the last victors in 2019 when they overcame Prescot Cables, at the Joseph Russell Stadium, on penalties on course to their County Cup double.
Nineteen teams have now been whittled down to two as Marine and Runcorn Linnets go head-to-head for silverware as they did in the 2022 Northern Premier League West playoff – which Neil Young’s side ran out 2-1 winners.
Liverpool Senior Cup final details
Where is it? Widnes FC’s DCBL Stadium.
Lower House Ln, Widnes WA8 7DZ
Tickets are still on sale for the final but there is no pay on the gate. Tickets must be bought in advance.
Kick-off is 7:45pm.
Adult tickets start from £7. Over 65s, students, kids and 16-17 tickets are £3.
To buy among Marine fans – click here.
To be in the Runcorn Linnets section – click here.
Over the weekend, Marine’s hopes for keeping their Northern Premier League playoff hopes alive came to a sobering end as they were beaten 4-0 after being reduced to nine-men.
The Crosby outfit has defied expectations to thrust themselves in contention of extending their season beyond April 22 as they battled with Warrington Town, Bamber Bridge, Gainsborough Trinity, Hyde United, Radcliffe Borough and Matlock Town.
During the course of their Liverpool Senior Cup campaign, they have overcome NWCFL Division One North outfit Pilkington, Everton youngsters and reigning champions Southport.
“It’s a cup final, if you can’t get yourself up for it then you shouldn’t be playing the game,” Young told Off The Park.
“Runcorn are on a high because they have made the playoffs again – which is a great achievement – and come into it on the back of a 5-0 win on Saturday. From our perspective, we owe our fans a performance and there’s no better place to do it than a final. As I say, if you can’t get yourself up for a cup final then you shouldn’t be playing the game.
“We need a response for the club and the fans, we’ve got it in us, we’ve proved it on numerous occasions this season,” he added following their recent run of results. “But it is no good talking about it, you’ve got to prove it and that’ll be down to the lads that are picked to play.”
Marine could win their first Liverpool Senior Cup honour since 2008 and reached their first showpiece since the 2017-18 campaign when they were beaten 4-0 by Prescot Cables.
But the Mariners boss has expressed his desire to win the competition and etch their name in history.
He continued: “At the end of the day, it’s a cup competition you’ve entered so you want to win every one if you can.
“Realistically, you’re not going to win the FA Cup, you’ve got a very outside chance of the FA Trophy at the moment, you want to go as far as you can in those competitions but the Liverpool Senior Cup is a competition that the club haven’t won in 15 years with one final appearance in that time.
“It’s against a good side who we know from last year and we’ve got to turn up and put a performance in.
“We all at some stage have played in cup finals, we know how important they are, we know what it’s like to be a winner and also what it’s like to be a loser in them games. As I’ve said all season, the league will look after itself and we haven’t been good enough over 42 games,” said Young on whether there is greater importance now their playoff hopes are over. But he insists that the fans and club deserve to celebrate following the season they’ve had.
“Ultimately, we’ll finish where we deserve to finish because circumstances beyond our control have affected part of that but let’s not make excuses totally which has affected us. Tuesday is the most important game now, a cup final, we’ve got to try and win the game for the supporters and the club.
“There’s going to be a good crowd on from both sides but we’ve got to take care of ourselves. We’re in the league above, we’re favourites but we’ve got to perform like them and if we perform like we have done in certain games in these last five or six weeks, we’ll get turned over without a shadow of a doubt so it’s on the lads to turn up and win the game.”
Runcorn Linnets are in fine form going into the Liverpool Senior Cup final and following the goalless draw between City of Liverpool and Mossley on Sunday, they have now cemented their place in the playoffs.
It’s been a topsy-turvy campaign after getting off to a blistering start before they suffered a bump between Christmas and after the New Year which threatened to derail their season. Following the dismissal of Dave Wild, his assistant Billy Paynter took over and has helped Linnets extend their schedule beyond April 22.
The 38-year-old is no stranger to football after enjoying a successful professional playing career with the likes Port Vale, Swindon Town, Doncaster Rovers as well as stints with Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion to name a few.
But now he is in the infancy of his football management career having taken the plunge with the club who play their football at the APEC Taxis Stadium.
There was some surprise to see Linnets in the Liverpool Senior Cup as they returned to the competition for the first time since their reformation. Tuesday poses an opportunity to win the trophy for the first time in their history across both clubs with Runcorn FC winning the Cheshire Senior Cup five times between 1984 and 1989.
On their route to the final, Linnets have brushed aside Prescot Cables, the Purps, Litherland REMYCA and Bootle after entering in Round One.
For Paynter, he has credited the supporters after selling 1,100 tickets, at the time of writing, ahead of the “great occasion”. He told Off The Park: “It’s going to be a great occasion for the players, the club and even more so for our fans, we’ve sold over 1,000 tickets – which is amazing support.
“Marine is going to be a tough game, we played them in the playoff final last season, in pre-season friendlies so we know it’s going to be a competitive game so it’s not going to be a pushover.
“I’ve seen the managers interview that their league form hasn’t been great of late and they didn’t have a good result at the weekend but league form goes out of the window when it comes to a cup final so it will be whoever holds their nerve on the day.
“Last season it was disappointing that Marine beat us on the day so our fans will be looking forward to getting one back and what an occasion in the Liverpool Senior Cup final,” he added as Linnets look to avenge their playoff final defeat under Calum McIntyre.
“It is exciting, I feel like the fans have really bought into it. The fantastic support over selling over 1,000 tickets and still counting, the fans are giving us all their energy and support. Now it’s down to the players, once they cross that white line, they’re going to have to give maximum effort to beat a good Marine side.
“We’ve had a good win at the weekend, it could’ve been more but watched the game back and now it’s confirmed we’re in the playoffs which is a good confidence booster,” he continued. “We can really focus on Marine now and hopefully bring that cup home.
“Any manager, any player who is in competitive sport wants to win and bring home silverware. I’ve been in four or five games now as manager and I’m hungry for silverware, the players are as well.
“They’ve had a good season in the league,” Paynter added on Marine. “For a team who has been promoted last year, they finished highest, I’ve watched them against Southport, I thought they were fantastic on the night.
“Then I watched them against Warrington Town and they won’t make it easy, it’ll be competitive so we’ve got to be at maximum effort to deal with that and compete with them.”