Match report: Coppull United 3 Longridge Town 2

Jordan Tucker was one of two Longridge Town players sent off
Jordan Tucker was one of two Longridge Town players sent off

West Lancashire League

The game finished with 10 men against nine as Town’s George Melling and Jordan Tucker were sent off in time added on.

Manager Lee Ashcroft started with what looked a strong side as Kevin Leadbetter was in an attacking three alongside Ash Ball and Mitch Newsham.

However, the game started in disastrous fashion as a long ball evaded the Town defence and the advancing Lee Dovey was lobbed from 18 yards by David Parker as Coppull led after just five minutes.

Longridge were struggling to get going, with the lack of an attacking focal point obvious to the travelling support, with long balls being eaten up by the strong Coppull back line.

After 26 minutes, confusion in the Town defence saw Coppull break free again and it was 2-0 after a smart finish to Dovey’s left by Kane Morris.

This finally spurred Town on as both Ball and Leadbetter went close before the home keeper made two fine saves to deny Ball and Newsham.

They were given a possible lifeline just before the break when a poor challenge on Joe Melling in front of the dugouts saw a home player sent off.

There were no changes at the break but, within two minutes, Leadbetter scored for Town with a left-footed free-kick into the top corner.

It was all Town and, after Ball had fired over, Conor Linighan was fouled and a penalty awarded.

After a long delay, Leadbetter stepped up, only to see his powerful effort bounce down off the bar with Newsham offside on his follow-up effort.

Linighan then hit the bar from 25 yards and Ball missed a header from six yards and you got the feeling it wasn’t to be Town’s day.

Coppull then got their third as Leadbetter was tackled strongly 25 yards from the Coppull goal.

The ball ricocheted over the top of the Town defence and was finished by Ryan Doherty to make it 3-1.

Substitute Adam Stammers shot just wide for Town as they were kept at bay with the home side making save after save.

George Melling was thrown up front to give Town a physical presence and, on 89 minutes, he headed home from a Leadbetter corner to make it 3-2.

However, in the ensuing melee, Melling went to retrieve the ball from the Coppull centre-half to resume the game.

As players piled in, Melling was seen to be the aggressor and received a second yellow card, making the game 10 against 10 with six minutes added on.

Coppull were clearing their lines in any way possible and a long ball forward saw Tucker’s frustration finally get the better of him.

He dived in as the home forward raced away and was given a straight red card with three added minutes remaining.

There was still time for the Coppull keeper to make possibly his finest save of the game, diving low to his right to claw away Danny Wilkinson’s pinpoint effort.

The whistle went to end a chaotic, stop-start and bizarrely entertaining, game of poor quality in which Town gave away three awful goals and will suffer suspensions to two key players.