Classy champions win but Town avoid Valentine’s Day massacre

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Longridge Town 0 Charnock 3

Charnock defeated Town 3-0 at Inglewhite Road – but it was no St Valentine’s Day Massacre. It was an even contest for long periods but Charnock showed a bit more quality in the final third. This was the first time Town have failed to find the net this season as Charnock showed why they are champions.

A goal for David Burrows from a swift counter attack after 15 minutes and two goals in the second half from Mark Woods and Andy Roberts sealed the victory for the away side.

Lee Ashcroft commented after the match: “Decent result for Charnock, it showed what it meant to them beating us 3-0 at our place. We are a threat to them but they showed why they are winners year in, year out so a great three points for them and back to the drawing board for us. There was nothing in the game until they got the first goal. It was a mistake by us. A long ball pumped into the box and they hit us on the break. We huffed and puffed second half but we were not as good in and around the final third as we usually are. They stopped us playing it to our wingers and we’ve got to change how we play our game sometimes but we didn’t do that today.”  

Town made one change from last week’s victory welcoming Sam Nightingale back to the team after his injury against Wren Rovers a few weeks ago for Stu Garry. Paul Alexander moved into the centre of defence alongside Ryan McKenna.

Charnock showed their attacking intent early on when a direct ball was headed by Roberts to Burrows but it was well saved by Ellis Hawksworth. Jonty McDonald then came close at the other end but his shot slid off the surface.

Town won a free kick deep in the Charnock half. The free kick was pumped in but a swift break allowed the away side to counter attack. Carl Grimshaw slotted the ball through to Burrows who made it 0-1 with a neat finish.

The home side matched Charnock in possession and continued to create chances. McDonald again came close with an attempt but it was wide of the mark. With Charnock pressing Town looked susceptible to the counter attack. Another free kick showed Town’s vulnerabilities as again the away side broke but this time were not as clinical.

Then Lennie Reid thought he had equalized for Town; a stunning left foot shot flew just over and the crowd gasped. There wasn’t quite enough dip and swerve.

Just before half time Charnock had a slice of luck. What seemed to be a routine back pass wasn’t - miss-communication between goalkeeper and defender but the ball went out for a corner. From the resulting corner McKenna carved a chance out for himself but a good save from Gavin Bates kept the score at 0-1.

Early in the second half Hawksworth made a spectacular save to deny Jamie Sanderson’s thundering volley which looked destined to make it 0-2.

Both teams were looking comfortable in possession but it was the away side who created the more clear cut chances. Town boss Ashcroft tried playing more direct football and used all three subs in an attempt to get something from the match.

Charnock had other ideas though and added a second in the 72nd minute – there was some excellent footwork from Woods on the edge of the area before he bent the ball past the Town number one.

Seven minutes later Longridge were caught out by a short corner. The cross to Roberts hit the bar and he was quickest to follow up.

Team: 1 Ellis Hawksworth, 2 Joe Melling, 3 Sam Nightingale (17 Dave Woodruff), 4 Ryan McKenna, 5 Paul Alexander, 6 Rick Murch Captain, 7 Conor Linighan, 8 Jordan Bowen (16 Nathan Parish), 9 Rick Coar, 10 Lennie Reid, 11 Jonty McDonald (14 Sam Dean), Unused subs: 12 Lee Ashcroft, 15 Luke Massie.

Town have no league or cup game this week, so look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Euxton Villa on February 28, kick off 3pm, but the team is playing an away friendly at AFC Blackpool, Saturday, kick off 3pm.