Longridge Town 5 Steeton 2: Allen is key to leaders’ victory

Longridge Town picked up three points with a win against Steeton on Saturday
Longridge Town picked up three points with a win against Steeton on Saturday
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Longridge Town striker Richie Allen scored his fourth hat-trick in as many games to see them beat Steeton 5-2.

In front of another excellent crowd of 207, Town went into the game knowing that no fewer than three points would do if they were to stay clear at the top of the Division One North table.

George Thomason returned on the left, Brad Wicks started in centre midfield, Danny Gardner was back wide right, while the front three of Allen, Jay Hart and Tom Ince were all in situ.

After an even start, Steeton almost broke the deadlock as they hit the crossbar – but it was to be their undoing.

Town broke quickly and Allen got his first of the game bamboozling two defenders before firing left-footed into the net, putting them 1-0 ahead with 23 minutes gone.

Two minutes later and Town got a second with a clinical far post volley from Adam Lawrence after Hart’s flick.

Hart pulled up injured before the half was over, replaced by Rio Wilson Heyes, but Steeton steadied the ship to remain in the game as half-time arrived with Town 2-0 ahead.

With the next goal being vital, it was the visitors who got back into it with a neat finish from Ben Clarkson just two minutes into the half making it 2-1.

Three minutes later and it was game on as Jack Richmond equalised for Steeton and, from a relatively comfortable position, Town were in danger of throwing it all away.

However, there was plenty of time left to play and, after a somewhat nervous 10 minutes, Allen put Longridge back ahead.

Ince rolled the ball into the experienced front man and he rolled his marker superbly before firing into the roof of the net to put Town 3-2 ahead.

Lee Ashcroft introduced Alex Murphy to replace the tireless Gardner but, with half an hour left to play, the game was very open.

That suited Town as Wilson Heyes, having been switched to the right-hand side, started to see more of the ball.

Running at his man, he turned on the style with stepovers galore before firing in a cross to the front post that was met with a superb diving header from Allen to put Town 4-2 up on 67 minutes.

Steeton continued to work hard but the game settled down with Town playing possession football in an attempt to kill the game.

There was still time for one more goal as Wilson Heyes beat three men before cutting into the area and finishing with the outside of his right foot into the top corner to seal Town’s victory.