Match report: Bacup Borough 0 Longridge Town 3

Joe Melling was back on the bench for Longridge Town at the weekend
Joe Melling was back on the bench for Longridge Town at the weekend

Richie Allen claimed a hat-trick as Longridge Town returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at Bacup Borough.

Allen took the plaudits but there were excellent performances all over the field as Longridge ended Bacup’s recent good form with a comprehensive win.

Town boss Lee Ashcroft stuck with the same starting XI from last week’s penalty shootout loss to Garstang, with the returning Joe Melling fit enough to take a place on the bench.

In a strong wind, high up in the hills, this was a tricky game for Town as Bacup looked to win their third game in succession, kicking with the wind behind them in the first half.

Borough sat back though, allowing Town possession, while looking decent on the break with Michael Gervin catching the eye early on.

The star of the Bacup show, though, was to be goalkeeper Henry Turner who twice denied Jay Hart and Allen in the opening 20 minutes.

Town were looking sharp, however, with Danny Gardner in particular beating his man time and time again, putting in several dangerous crosses.

Allen got his first goal on the half-hour mark after Henry Turner had saved well from Hart.

Danny Wilkinson picked up the loose ball before being tripped in the area for a clear penalty and Allen stepped up to hammer the ball low into the net.

The pattern continued with Town having the majority of the possession and Henry Turner keeping the score down before the referee blew for half-time and some much needed respite from the wind for the travelling Town supporters.

There were no changes at half-time as Ashcroft looked for the vital second goal to make the game safe.

It came after 60 minutes as brilliant work by Hart saw him beat two men wide on the right before cutting into the box and squaring the ball to Allen, who slotted home for his second.

Town looked comfortable now with Lee Dovey untroubled between the posts at the other end.

Hart was then booked for dissent, his fifth yellow of the season, which means he misses out on Wednesday’s league game with Ashton Town.

With this in mind, Paul Turner was introduced from the bench as Hart jogged off to strong applause after a fine all-round performance.

Another change followed as Dave Parker replaced Ryan McKenna with 15 minutes remaining to make his debut, having recently signed from Coppull United.

Bacup almost got a goal back as an inswinging corner was headed goalwards but, with Dovey beaten, Conor Linighan headed clear from under the crossbar.

Allen then got his hat-trick with five minutes remaining, linking well with Paul Turner before beating the keeper from 12 yards to finish off a comprehensive performance from Town.

There was still time for the Bacup keeper to excel once more with a fingertip save from Paul Turner’s volley sending the ball just past his right-hand post.

As full-time came both sides were applauded from the field, having played out an entertaining game in difficult conditions.