Longridge Town 4 Cleator Moor Celtic 0: Allen is the key to Town’s first-half blitz

Joe Melling was one of Longridge Town's first-half goalscorers
Joe Melling was one of Longridge Town's first-half goalscorers
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Longridge Town bounced back from Boxing Day’s loss to Garstang with a 4-0 win over Cleator Moor Celtic on Saturday.

The two sides had only met four weeks earlier on a day when Town striker Jay Hart scored a hat-trick.

It could have been a repeat performance last weekend as he scored twice and was only denied a third by a superb display from Celtic keeper Craig Rule.

With skipper Michael Morrison having left to become assistant manager at Padiham, Town slotted Brad Wicks into the centre of midfield while Joe Melling returned at right-back with Warren Beattie alongside Ryan McKenna in the centre of defence.

Town began in frenetic fashion as Hart’s effort was scrambled away and a close-range volley went over moments later.

Isaac Sinclair’s pace and control caused all kinds of problems to the Celtic defence as he beat two men and saw an effort superbly saved.

The breakthrough came on the half-hour when Wicks found Richie Allen, whose cross was met by Hart’s overhead kick with the ball flying into the top corner.

Two minutes later and Sinclair slotted in Melling, who buried a shot past Rule to double the lead.

It was 3-0 just six minutes later with Allen sliding a delightful ball across for Hart to finish from close range.

A fourth goal came on the stroke of half-time as Sinclair beat five men, and though his shot was saved by Rule, Allen tapped home the loose ball.

Paul Turner replaced Ince at the break as the game continued in the same vein with Beattie marshalling an untroubled Town back four.

However, as chances came and went, the Cleator Moor youngsters remained resolute, defying Hart in particular time and time again.

Allen saw several shots fizz just wide, while Rule used his legs to thwart Sinclair and again saved well to deny Allen before the final whistle.