Longridge Town 2 Ashton Athletic 3: Third time unlucky for promotion hopefuls

Longridge Town striker Paul Turner
Longridge Town striker Paul Turner

Longridge Town were beaten 3-2 in midweek when they welcomed Ashton Athletic to the Mike Riding Ground for their North West Counties League Premier Division outing.

Having previously been rained off twice, the match went ahead at the third time of asking, albeit after a pre-match pitch inspection had to be held because of foggy conditions.

The visitors began well, forcing Lee Dovey into a fine save before Town took a 20th-minute lead against the run of play.

Andy Howarth cut inside from the left before firing home to open the scoring for the hosts.

The lead, however, was only to last seven minutes before Adam Gilchrist slid in to level the scores.

Ashton then took the lead two minutes before half-time when Aaron Cringle found the net, though there was still time before the break for Paul Turner to go close for the home side.

Lee Ashcroft made two changes at half-time, bringing on Danny Wilkinson and Conor Linighan.

Wilkinson almost capped his arrival by scoring an equaliser but fired narrowly off target from Dan Birch’s cross.

That miss was duly punished on 50 minutes when Saul Cliffogg put Ashton 3-1 ahead.

Trying to get back into the game, Town saw a penalty appeal waved away, while Wilkinson shot high and wide from 20 yards.

Town, nevertheless, gave themselves an opportunity with 20 minutes remaining when a corner kick ended with Jon-Jo Morris scoring from close range.

However, it was Ashton who went closest to scoring again when Gilchrist fired over after Town surrendered possession in midfield.

While perhaps disappointed to have lost, Ashcroft could temper that in the knowledge that he expects Ashton to be one of the challengers for promotion this season.

“I’ve seen Ashton a few times this season and they are a very, very good side,” Ashcroft said.

“They are up there with 1874 Northwich in my opinion of teams who we have played this season.

“They deserved the win on the night; we did miss a couple of chances but so did they.

“I’m expecting them to go on a run and challenge, that’s how highly I rate them.”