Longridge Town’s new division and familiar foes on day one

Longridge Town start life in the former North West Counties League top flight after winning the First Division North
Longridge Town start life in the former North West Counties League top flight after winning the First Division North

Lee Ashcroft admitted there was something inevitable about Longridge Town’s opponents on the first day of the new season.

Town begin their campaign playing at their highest level yet in the football pyramid after winning promotion to the Hallmark Security North West Counties League Premier Division for the first time.

The new season also sees them enter the FA Cup for the first time so, given all that, it was perhaps to be expected that Saturday’s opening game sees them travel to Avro.

The two sides know each other well, having fought tooth and nail for last season’s First Division North title until Ashcroft’s players won it on the final day.

Saturday’s trip to Oldham is the first of three away games to start the league season with Irlam and Congleton Town their other destinations.

Ashcroft acknowledged the difficulty of what lay ahead, admitting: “If you’d asked me what I didn’t want the week before the fixtures coming out, then I wouldn’t have wanted trips to Avro and Congleton in the first three games.

“I watched Irlam on Saturday and they won 8-0 (against Eccleshall), so after those three games, we might be sinking or swimming!

“We’ve also got Charnock Richard in the first month which is a derby, so they haven’t been kind to us.

“However, you have to play everyone at some point so let’s see how we go.”

The opening opponents might be familiar but Ashcroft is not expecting a repeat of last season’s goal glut.

Thirty-eight league games yielded an astonishing 144 goals in their favour but Town have put an extra emphasis on the other end of the pitch for this season.

Ashcroft said: “It won’t be like last year when there were four or five goals in games.

“We’re going to have to be solid with the teams we’re coming up against and be more resolute.”