Match report: Thornton Cleveleys 0 Longridge Town 6

Longridge Town's Kieran Walmsley
Longridge Town's Kieran Walmsley

West Lancashire League Premier Division

Town manager Lee Ashcroft shuffled his pack with full debuts to Andrew Naylor, Ged Smith and Jack Preston, as well as recalls for Leon McLoughlin and Conor Linighan.

It was an even start with Linighan having an early shot saved and Woods’ left-footed effort going just wide.

McLoughlin was seeing plenty of the ball and put in several dangerous crosses before he opened the scoring on 34 minutes, rising to head Woods’ cross into the top corner.

Mark Jeffers, who had been targeted with some physical challenges, was fouled 25 yards from goal on 38 minutes with Kieran Walmsley’s shot cannoning back off the bar and being volleyed home by Alex O’Rourke.

The home side’s frustrations began to show, with several yellow cards shown.

Just on half-time Woods got his second assist as his cross was met by O’Rourke for his second to make it 3-0.

Jack Preston, playing up front on his own, had produced an outstanding 45 minutes.

On 52 minutes, more good work from Preston and Woods saw a far post cross find Jeffers, whose header came back off the crossbar before O’Rourke saw what would have been his hat-trick goal disallowed for offside.

The home side struggled to maintain their discipline, with two more bookings for dissent as the game was frequently punctuated with free-kicks to Longridge.

Jeffers got the goal his play deserved with 20 minutes left, coolly finishing the ball into the bottom corner to make it 4-0.

Adam Stammers replaced McLoughlin and gave Stammers his third assist with a finish which made it 5-0.

Somewhat predictably, the home side was reduced to 10 men with six minutes left as a foul was penalised by the referee, but the red card was for the ensuing dissent.

The highlight was yet to come as Woods picked up a loose ball, shimmied past two defenders and ‘sat down’ two further players and the keeper before firing home.

There was still time for a further Thornton red card as they were reduced to nine men after another show of dissent, when a centre-half came off worst after a two-footed challenge on Preston, and his colleague was sent off.