Match report: Blackpool Wren Rovers 4 Longridge Town 3

Longridge Town were unable to contain Blackpool Wren Rovers striker Carl Eastwood at the weekend
Longridge Town were unable to contain Blackpool Wren Rovers striker Carl Eastwood at the weekend

West Lancashire League

Longridge travelled to Wren Rovers, the scene of last season’s title triumph, with a squad missing the suspended pair of George Melling and Jordan Tucker.

Manager Lee Ashcroft gave a debut to new signing Chris Wraighte, while Conor Linighan and Ben Ashcroft filled in at the centre of the Town defence.

The first half was a scrappy affair with neither side being able to get any rhythm to their game.

Former Town midfielder Andy Naylor broke the deadlock, however, after 20 minutes by heading past Lee Dovey in the Longridge goal to put Wrens 1-0 up.

That’s the way it stayed as the sides went in at half-time, with the outcome of the game looking to be a question of whether Longridge’s pace could outdo Wrens’ physical strength.

Those in attendance looked to have the answer as Wrens’ powerful centre-forward Carl Eastwood scored two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half to put Blackpool 3-0 up, once again outmuscling the Town defence.

Within 10 minutes Wraighte had pulled one back for Town, scoring on his debut, and Ashcroft threw on youngster Tutu Chilafya to run at the Wrens defence.

Trailing 3-1, the introduction of Chilafya turned the game on its head.

Five minutes later, he combined with captain Ash Ball and the skipper powered a shot into the top of the net past Alex Cameron to leave Town 3-2 adrift with 20 minutes remaining.

It was all Town now with Tutu, Ball and Wraighte running at the Wrens’ defence.

With just eight minutes remaining Town looked to have completed an amazing comeback as Chilafya got the goal he deserved, firing low past Cameron to make it 3-3.

With everything to play for, Town hit the woodwork as they pushed for a winner, but it was to be Eastwood who had the last say.

With seconds remaining a long ball forward saw the Wrens striker make the most of his strength.

He muscled past the Longridge rearguard to fire low past Dovey and win the game for Blackpool.