Match report: Euxton Villa 1 Longridge Town 3

Longridge Towns players celebrated a 18th win from 19 league games with victory over Euxton Villa
Longridge Towns players celebrated a 18th win from 19 league games with victory over Euxton Villa

West Lancashire League

Manager Lee Ashcroft named an unchanged side from last week’s victory at Eagley, while adapting to a 4-1-4-1 formation with captain George Melling starting his last game before a three-match ban.

Town started brightly, on a surprisingly good pitch given the recent weather, with striker Brad Carsley going close with a back post header and Kieran Walmsley seeing his free-kick well saved by the Euxton keeper.

Euxton were giving as good as they got, however, and the opening 20 minutes were an even contest.

The breakthrough came for Town when Brad Carsley, looking back to his very best, rose above the home defence to power an Alex Randell corner in off the crossbar with a fine header.

Just two minutes later, Carsley almost got his second as he beat two men and the keeper before seeing his shot cleared off the line following a great through ball from Jordan Bowen.

Town were enjoying a dominant period, producing their best football for several weeks.

After a rampaging run from Randell was halted by a despairing tackle, they received a free-kick 25 yards from goal.

Randell, who had been booked earlier for dissent, stood over the ball and chipped a beautiful left-footed effort into the corner of the Euxton goal to make it 2-0 to Longridge with five minutes of the half remaining.

With no changes at the break Town emerged early from the dressing room, awaiting the home side as they came out for the second half.

Walmsley saw another free-kick saved before the impressive Mark Jeffers, making his second start for the club, found Jordan Bowen on the edge of the box.

Bowen’s left-footed effort flew past the keeper into the bottom corner to make it 3-0, leaving Town on course to avenge the 3-0 home defeat to Euxton earlier in the season.

On 67 minutes, Danny Morris, facing his former club, saw his headed goal disallowed as the referee spotted a foul in the area as Randell’s corner came in but Town remained on top.

Euxton then had a good spell of possession with Mike Galliers, and the excellent Conor Gronback in particular, causing the Town defence problems.

However, Dovey in the visiting goal was untroubled as Melling and Walmsley stood resolutely in the centre of defence.

Debutants Andrew Naylor and Jack Preston were introduced with 15 minutes remaining, replacing Bowen and a limping Randell as Ashcroft looked to give his side fresh legs.

Just five minutes later, Leon McLoughlin came on for Brad Carsley, who was given a great ovation by the Town support in acknowledgement of his tireless performance.

Preston went up front as the lone striker, and Naylor immediately made his presence felt in the centre of the park, winning challenge after challenge.

On 85 minutes, a far post cross was headed back across goal by the Euxton attack, and Morris was adjudged to have handled the ball by the referee, who gave a penalty.

Galliers stepped up and calmly stroked the ball past Dovey to give the home side a reward for their efforts and their contribution to what had been an excellent game.

With time running out Jeffers then almost scored a wonder goal.

Running directly at the Euxton defence from the halfway line, he beat three men before squeezing past two more just as the advancing keeper fell at his feet and just got a hand to the ball.

With the light fading, and fog drifting in from the fields, the referee blew for full-time to end what had been a great game, and Town’s best performance for a while.