AFTER high-scoring, straightforward victories in their first two outings, Runcorn showed they have the ability to win another way.
They had to come from behind to see off their plucky Westhoughton hosts.
Whether it was a little complacency or just an off-day, Linnets never showed the confidence or fluency they had in earlier runouts.
Yet they proved they can also battle for a result away from home when not at their best.
Runcorn were forced to play a get-out-of-jail card early in the season - after struggling Daisy Hill had defied their status by causing problems for Linnets.
Danny Holroyd and John Fairhurst showed a good understanding in attack and Runcorn received the wake-up call they needed in the 22nd minute.
Many of the 100-strong Linnets contingent again dominating an away-game crowd felt a penalty award - as the towering Holroyd went over Ricky Newell's outstretched leg - to have been more than dubious.
The inference was the visiting skipper had clearly got the ball.
Yet there was no disputing the way home captain Steve Wynne tucked away the spot-kick, inside the post to George Caulfield's right.
It was the first goal the Linnets had conceded in more than 200 minutes of North West Counties League Division Two action this season.
But you always felt that in David Thompson and Thomas Lamb, the visitors had the ammunition to account for a clearly fired-up home side.
Thompson had a clear sight of goal as early as the eighth minute after being released by Lamb through the middle.
However, he was a little too casual with his finish - a classic symptom of Runcorn's early efforts.
Although Linnets' three-man defence had worked well for them in the 4-0 home romp against Castleton Gabriels, the tactic of employing a sweeper may now have to be rethought.
Paul Davis came in as the spare man, assistant play-er-boss Mark Phillips missing this one through injury, but at times Runcorn looked a bit confused in defence.
The visitors did get things moving sufficiently before half-time.
But it was an error from Hill keeper Scott Moore in over-stepping Kenny Rollinson's through pass as it rolled towards him - as much as Thompson's resultant fine finish from an acute angle - which brought the away side level.
Although more uncertain defending allowed Daisy Hill to get in a couple of avoidable crosses early in the second half, Runcorn were largely on top from then on.
Thompson flashed a shot wide of the far post on the hour, almost benefiting from his own persistence.
Then Lamb's reverse pass saw Paul Scott, who had been playing behind the front two, go beyond the home defence to clip decisively past Moore in the 70th minute.
LINNETS: Caulfield, Davies, Rollinson, O'Driscoll, Newell, Quirk, McCoy, Scott, Thompson, Lamb, Young. Subs: Edwards, S Swales, J Swales.