West Lancashire League
Longridge Town dropped points for only the second time this season as they came back from 1-0 down to earn a hard fought point at Fulwood.
Manager Lee Ashcroft made three changes to last week’s home fixture against the same opponents, starting Jordan Bowen, Andrew Naylor and Brad Carsley.
From kick-off, however, the game mirrored the reverse fixture with Fulwood’s pace causing Town problems on the flanks.
While neither side created much in terms of clear cut chances early on, the home team were once again winning the midfield battle.
Fulwood opened the scoring in controversial fashion, after 23 minutes, when Alex O’Rourke was adjudged to have pushed Parkinson in the area as the ball ran out of play.
Phil Blackwell stepped up to score his second penalty in three games and put the home side ahead, 1-0.
Mark Woods had started the game on the left-hand side and, just five minutes later, his far post cross found Brad Carsley.
The Town frontman out jumped the home defence only to see his header go just over the bar.
Trailing 1-0 at half-time and, as with last week’s game, Town needed to up the ante in the second half if they were to get anything from the fixture.
There were no changes to either side at half-time, but in the opening period of the second half, Longridge started to look more composed on the ball, keeping possession far better than in the first half.
Joe Melling, Town’s most consistent performer on the day along with Kieran Walmsley, surged forward after 60 minutes and arrowed a right-footed shot towards the top corner, only to see the Fulwood keeper make an outstanding save tipping the ball over the crossbar.
A series of Longridge corners followed, and on 76 minutes, an Alex Randell corner found O’Rourke who bundled the ball into the goal to bring the sides level.
Half-chances came and went for both sides in the final 15 minutes, with each manager making three substitutions, but as time ticked down the general consensus amongst a strong Longridge following was that a draw was a fair result.
The draw meant that Town stayed top of the table, albeit with a two-point advantage over Blackpool Wren Rovers.