Cleator Moor Celtic 3 Longridge Town 6: Leaders’ goal glut continues

Longridge Town claimed three more points at the weekend
Longridge Town claimed three more points at the weekend
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Longridge Town came through a difficult test at Cleator Moor Celtic to win 6-3 in a thrilling game.

Short on numbers, Town boss Lee Ashcroft had a strong starting XI but had to shuffle the pack.

Midfielder Danny Wilkinson was on the left of the back three, striker Richie Allen was in midfield, right wing-back Joe Melling on the left and Danny Gardner on the right.

It was vital that Town started well but it was not to be as they found themselves one down after three minutes.

Leigh Dunn pounced upon a defensive mistake and curled a lovely low finish inside Lee Dovey’s right-hand upright.

If anything, however, it sparked Town into life with Allen and Tom Ince pulling the strings in midfield.

After 10 minutes of strong Town possession, the equaliser came as Jay Hart and Paul Turner linked well together to free the latter inside the area for him to fire a superb finish through the keeper’s legs and make it 1-1.

Seven minutes later and it was 2-1 to Longridge when Ince slid the ball through to Hart, who beat the keeper.

The home crowd was silenced further 10 minutes later when, with Cleator expecting Allen to play a free-kick into the area, he played the ball down the outside of Gardner.

He beat his man yet again before putting a slide-rule pass across the goal for the onrushing Turner to make it 3-1.

There was no time to settle, however, as Cleator Moor then scored two goals in four minutes to bring the game level.

The first came when they found themselves with a man of the left-hand side and Tom Ward finished brilliantly, firing a shot across Dovey.

It was then 3-3 on 38 minutes when Brad Rooney equalised in spectacular fashion.

Maybe he should have been closed down but, 30 yards out, the Town defence could be forgiven for thinking that there was little danger.

However, he fired an unstoppable shot into the top right-hand corner of the goal, hitting the back of the net off bar and angle.

It could have been worse as Dovey made a vital save on the stroke of half-time, using his feet to deny Dunn.

That was a turning point, as Town came out for the second half, looking confident after a 10-minute chat.

It took just 30 seconds for them to go ahead again as Hart put the ball through for Turner, whose low cross was tapped in by Ince for a 4-3 advantage.

Fifteen minutes later and it was 5-3 as Hart turned inside the area, beat two men and slotted the ball into the far corner.

There were still 30 minutes remaining, but Town had broken the spirit and will of the Cumbrians and were now spraying the ball around in confident fashion.

It was only a matter of time before Town put another past a tiring Cleator Moor side and it came with 20 minutes to play.

Hart completed his hat-trick, firing a right-footed shot past the keeper after great interplay with Ince.

There was still time for Town to miss a penalty, after Hart was brought down by the keeper.

Town’s usual penalty taker, Ince, gave Turner the chance to get his hat-trick but his right-footed effort was saved well by the keeper, diving low to his left.