LINNETS boss Steve Soley says David Ness has nothing to reproach himself for over the tackle which led to Gainsborough substitute Simon Bird breaking a leg in an eventful and highly-controversial Nationwide North match.
A distraught Ness knew immediately what damage the was - like everyone else he heard a crack.
And the young defender held up his hands in a gesture which showed just how helpless he was feeling over the 49th-minute incident, which led to a three-quarter hour suspension in play.
Ness was shown a 'straight' red card and in the tumult which followed, Soley was himself sent to the stands for his comments.
In between, the Gainsborough bench had confronted the Linnets left-back as he left the field.
Soley said: 'Nessy is a great lad and a good player.
'He was hurting because of it but really he shouldn't be. It was a slightly mistimed tackle and these things happen.'
Soley said he had resisted any temptation to be drawn into the recriminations which followed the challenge in a match which lasted two-and-a-half hours.
He explained: 'I have gone on to the pitch to have a word with Cas (assistant player-manager Steve Carragher) to tell him we needed to change our shape now we were down to 10 and the referee told me to get off.'
Soley, who had named himself as a sub for the game, was sent from the dugout for his response.
The Linnets boss added: 'If the lad hadn't broken his leg, the referee would just have been giving Nessy a yellow card but he has reacted to the leg being broken and their bench.'
Runcorn played better with 10 men and the wind than they had with 11 against it.
But whatever Runcorn came up with was never enough to open up Gainsborough's defence - although numbers were evened up in the 76th minute. Jamie Sherlock was sent off for use of the head against Tom Field in retaliation to a foul by the young Linnets sub. Runcorn had earlier been caught out by a set play as Lee Ellington scored
RUNCORN: Thompson, Carragher, Ness, Moore, Robertson, Garrity (Field 64), Parle, Willis, Denny (Taylor 61), Young, McGinn (Lock 78). Subs: Soley, McDiarmid. Referee: Mr P Tierney.