TRAFFORD stormed through to the semi-finals of the Integro League Cup with a superb 3-1 victory at highly-fancied Runcorn Linnets on Tuesday night, making it back-to-back away wins inside four days.

The hosts dominated the early stages and after just eight minutes Kristian Holt struck a shot from 25 yards that Matty Cooper brilliantly tipped over the bar.

Liam O’Neill twice fired over from long range as Linnets pushed forward and it was slightly against the run of play that Trafford took the lead in the 20th minute when Liam Ellis skipped around Aaron Morris and crossed for debutant Elliott Harrison to head home from close range.

Shortly afterwards Ellis was unfortunate not to double Trafford’s lead when he struck an incredible volley from 30 yards that cannoned back into play off the bar and the first half ended with Cooper producing another fine save to push a Holt drive past the upright.

Trafford started the second half in confident mood and in the 50th minute Chris Palmer surged forward through midfield and fed Ellis who stepped inside his marker and cracked a fine shot inside the far post.

Five minutes later Linnets reduced the arrears when a deep corner to the back post was headed home by the unmarked Ryan Gibson.

In the 74th minute the hosts were reduced to 10 men when Josh Dobie recklessly lunged at Darius Palma and as he had already received a yellow card the referee had no alternative but to send him off.

And in the 79th minute a glorious sweeping move between Aaron Burns and Matty Bryan ended with the former side-footing home at the back post to effectively seal the tie.

Burns should have made it four minutes before the end when he intercepted a cross-field pass but with just goalkeeper Matthew Holmes to beat, he carelessly clipped the ball wide.

On Saturday, Tom Baker's side won 1-0 at Widnes to move up to fifth in Evo-Stik West.

The all-weather pitch at the Halton Stadium suited the visitors' slick passing style and obviously allowed the game to go ahead when many of Trafford’s promotion rivals saw their games cancelled due to the freezing weather.

The teams were evenly-matched in the opening stages but gradually Trafford assumed control with the pace of Bryan causing problems for the home defence.

Bryan broke clear in the 22nd minute but screwed his shot wide and then two minutes later he released Danny Wilkins in the inside left channel but Widnes’s impressive keeper Owen Wheeler came out to block.

Wheeler held another Bryan shot at the near post but was powerless to prevent the visitors from taking the lead in the 28th minute when Bryan burst down the left flank, crossed to Burns who fluffed his first shot but neatly fed Declan Rydings who netted from close range.

Burns missed a glorious chance to make it two shortly afterwards when he shot wide at the back post and Palma broke clear in the 39th minute but was thwarted by another brave save by Wheeler.

In the 41st minute Widnes striker Kevin Towey struck a glorious drive from 25 yards against the upright and when play switched immediately to the other end, Bryan chipped the ball over the bar with just Wheeler to beat.

Widnes started the second half strongly and Sam Sheen shot wide from 15 yards before Trafford keeper Elliot Wynne produced a fine save to deny Ben Hodkinson.

Hodkinson then drove wide from 25 yards before a quick break by Trafford ended with Burns firing just wide from the left.

Wheeler demonstrated what a fine goalkeeper he is with a superb reflex save from a Burns header and in the dying seconds Trafford broke clear and looked certain to double their tally before Wheeler blocked a Rydings shot and Burns fired the rebound over.

Trafford now have a great opportunity to enhance their hopes of promotion with three home league games in succession, starting with Leek Town on Saturday (kick off 3pm) before the visits of Newcastle Town and Ramsbottom United.