Striker Sam Dean’s double strike led Longridge Town to an impressive friendly victory at AFC Blackpool of the North West Counties Premier League on Saturday and gave notice to manager Lee Ashcroft that he can cope without his long term goalscorer Rick Coar (writes Howard Jones).
Dean, so often the understudy to Coar, struck his goals either side of half-time and came just days after Coar left the club for Hurst Green.
Boss Ashcroft said later: “This was a good work out for the lads and they did well. I had a look at a few new faces and overall they put in a good shift.”
Town, smarting from their biggest home league defeat of the season to leaders Charnock Richard seven days ago, took a deserved 19th minute lead.
With both teams shy of a league fixture manager Ashcroft was quick to give the team playing time with this friendly which at times was anything but, with tackles flying in thick and fast at one stage that threatened to boil over!
Dean’s goal though after 19 minutes was crafted by a clever through ball from full-back Joe Melling who was at the heart of most of Town’s forward thrusts early on.
His pass let in Dean who cooly took it round the Blackpool ‘keeper and side footed into an empty net.
And early chances had gone Town’s way too.
Ashcroft, who played just the first half had a decent chance after 13 minutes when well set and back from his spell at Kendal, the crafty Jonty McDonald might have done better three minutes later only to see his attempt volleyed over.
But then on 19 minutes Dean struck and Town had the lead which could have been more five minutes before the break when Lennie Reid was brought down and Ashcroft stepped up to fire the spot kick straight at the Blackpool ‘keeper.
It was just the signal the home side had been looking for, as four minutes into the second-half after Town had brought on a handful of substitutes, that they drew level when a handball incident on the edge of the box saw striker Ben Singleton level the score.
But mid-way through the second period Town’s ex-Blackburn Rovers youngster Saul Hamer played Dean in on 78 minutes and the striker cooly picked his spot, firing in high off the underside of the crossbar to give Town their second lead of the game, and as it turned out, the match winner.
Town: Batty, Melling, Linighan, Woodruff, Alexander, Murch, Reid, Parish, Dean, Ashcroft, McDonald. Subs: Massie, Bowen, Hamer, Pickering, Basterfield, Edgar.
All subs got playing time.
Town’s next fixture sees them travel to Euxton Villa this Saturday, February 28 k-o 3pm in the West Lancashire League Premier Division.