AFC Darwen 2 Longridge Town 6: Leaders celebrate a century of goals

Longridge Town hit AFC Darwen for six on Saturday
Longridge Town hit AFC Darwen for six on Saturday
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A superb performance in difficult conditions saw Longridge Town win 6-2 at AFC Darwen on Saturday.

Missing Tom Ince, Alex Murphy and Isaac Sinclair, Town brought in Gary Basterfield, Paul Turner and Danny Gardner as they reverted to a 4-4-2.

Darwen switched the teams around at the kick-off to play with a strong wind and driving rain at their backs.

It was a feisty start with Ben Fletcher the victim of an awful tackle after just eight minutes, seeing him forced off and replaced by Brad Wicks.

Town opened the scoring moments later as Jay Hart turned his man inside out before firing past the keeper.

It was to be the first of three goals in a 20-minute spell as Hart scored a carbon copy on 24 minutes before Richie Allen scored from the spot following a handball to make it 3-0.

The home side pulled a goal back before the break, Kiel Lonsdale scrambling the ball over the line at the near post as Town led 3-1 at half-time.

A strong start to the second half saw Darwen score again as Lonsdale netted from 18 yards to make it 3-2.

For a short spell, Darwen threw everything forward but Ryan McKenna was outstanding at the heart of the Town defence and Lee Dovey held onto a close-range shot.

It was the fright that Town needed and they responded brilliantly as, just eight minutes later, Wicks curled in Town’s 100th league goal of the season direct from a corner with 25 minutes left.

Town visibly relaxed and Hart got his second hat-trick in two games after 75 minutes, cutting inside and curling a shot into the top corner.

Luke McKenna replaced Joe Melling to shore things up in midfield but there was still time for captain Allen to score a trademark goal.

He shimmied past three defenders, going back to beat them again, before firing past the keeper to finish the game.