Lee-thal Ashy rolls back the years in derby day victory

Longridge player boss Lee Ashcroft scored twice against Garstang
Longridge player boss Lee Ashcroft scored twice against Garstang

Longridge Town player-boss Lee Ashcroft turned the clock back to his Preston North End goalscoring days on Saturday.

He led his side to a 3-0 win over derby rivals Garstang, which maintained the team’s five-game 100% record on the road this season in the West Lancashire League Premier Division.

And the win was Town’s first ever at the Riverside against a side who had beaten them three times in a row.

For Garstang, it was their first defeat in four games after winning two and drawing one of their previous three.

But it’s Town who hold the local bragging rights with this victory.

After a cagey first 10-15 minutes, Longridge started to get a foothold in proceedings and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 27 minutes.

Good work inside the box by a determined Conor Linighan carved an opening for Ashcroft to power home the game’s opening goal.

It was a lead they thoroughly deserved and while Garstang kept prodding away in midfield they did not really trouble Town’s goalkeeper Matt Hind who was playing his first official game for the visitors for 18 months following a knee operation.

Town tightened their grip on proceedings in the 42nd minute when leading striker Brad Carsley – back for the first time after serving a three-match suspension – increased the lead.

The goal came as he carved open the ghome side’s defence to cooly place his shot wide of Garstang ‘keeper DanCurwen, who had made a string of fine saves to deny Town before their second goal.

It was 3-0 soon after when home defender Conor Crossley upended – Town’s Ryan McKenna on the edge of the area. Up stepped Ashcroft to rifle in a shot from the free-kick that curled high into the top right hand corner.

It was not until the 47th minute that Garstang had their first effort on goal through Liam Breslin and then two minutes later Jack Swindlehurst could have done better when a poor clearance fell at his feet with the goal beckoning.

They almost grabbed a consolation effort when skipper Gary Fawcett rattled the bar and Breslin again missed a late chance.

Ashcroft praised the efforts of Hind:“It’s been a tough couple of years for Matt.

“We all applauded him after the game for playing the way he did and keeping a clean sheet.”

Town’s win keeps them in fourth place in the table four points behind the leading bunch with Charnock Richard ahead of Coppull United and Fulwood Amateurs.

Garstang are down in ninth spot – eight points behind their derby rivals.

GARSTANG: Dan Curwen, Dan Birch, Matty Bell, Kyle Lewis, Carlo Mattichecchia, Conor Crossley, Tom Graham, Gary Fawcett, Jack Swindlehurst, Liam Breslin, Adam Roskell. SUBS: Andre Mattichecchia, Andy Taylor, Aron Jones

LONGRIDGE: Matt Hind, Joe Melling, Dan Wilkinson, Alex O’Rourke, Sam March, Connor Linighan, Troy Carsley, Jorden Bowen, Brad Carsley, Lee Ashcroft, Ryan McKenna. SUBS: Rick Coar, Reece Fishwick, Sam Nightingale, Kieran Walmsley