Match report: Slyne with Hest 0 Longridge Town 3

Joe Melling impressed for Longridge Town on Saturday
Joe Melling impressed for Longridge Town on Saturday

West Lancashire League

It was a game which saw captain George Melling return to the starting line-up following a three-match suspension.

Manager Lee Ashcroft reverted to a back four with Ged Smith alongside Melling, Conor Linighan at right-back, Joe Melling playing wide right, and a front two of Brad Carsley and Jack Preston.

Full credit goes to Slyne and their groundstaff for getting the game on in the first place, as a surface that looked good quickly deteriorated into a divot-strewn pitch.

Town started the better of the two sides and, after early pressure and good work from Preston, Andrew Naylor found space 18 yards from goal and finished smartly to put Longridge one up after just 11 minutes.

O’Rourke was running the game from central midfield, feeding wide men Melling and Mark Woods at will, as Town dominated possession with Carsley and Preston working well together up front.

Slyne, to their credit, kept at it and Lee Dovey produced a superb save on the half-hour to keep out a shot that seemed destined for the top corner.

With four minutes of the half remaining Preston scored his first goal for Town, ironically against his former club, as he buried a right-footed shot into the net from 12 yards.

That made it 2-0 to Longridge at half-time as the scoreline gave a truer reflection of the game.

Town started the second half at pace with a Melling cross finding Preston at the far post, only to see his goalbound effort thwarted by some excellent last-gasp defending.

Just 60 seconds later leading scorer Brad Carsley held off his defender, firing a left-footed shot against the post, and it seemed only a matter of time before a third goal came.

It wasn’t to be, however, as Slyne enjoyed a period of possession that saw Dovey make several saves to keep his clean sheet intact.

Melling and Smith were both having excellent games at the heart of the defence, as Slyne attacked down their right-hand side, winning many aerial challenges.

With 20 minutes remaining Slyne were reduced to 10 men after a two-footed challenge that saw Joe Melling lucky to escape unhurt.

In a match that saw several disputed decisions given, this was undoubtedly one of the correct ones, and the game was now Town’s to win.

Ged Morris was introduced, after a five-game suspension, for a tiring Preston as Linighan moved into midfield and the right-back was to have a great impact later on in the game.

With the clock running down, the move of the match saw Linighan find Melling wide, who then fed the overlapping Morris and his first-time cross found the head of Carsley.

He got the goal his efforts deserved, planting a firm header back across the Slyne keeper and into the far corner of the net.

That made it 3-0 to Town and gave them a welcome clean sheet as the referee blew for full-time.