Match report: Whitehaven 1 Longridge Town 2

Kieran Walmsley's free kick gave Longridge Town three points at Whitehaven
Kieran Walmsley's free kick gave Longridge Town three points at Whitehaven
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West Lancashire League

Town made the long journey up to the Cumbrian coast missing the suspended Brad Carsley and Alex Randell, with Ash Ball once again absent.

Long-term injury victim Mark Woods continues his rehabilitation and, with Troy Carsley carrying an injury, Jordan Bowen returned to the side after six weeks out with an ankle problem.

Upon arrival at the ground it was clear that the Whitehaven pitch was unplayable, with standing water in some areas, so the match was moved to the home side’s 4G facility adjacent to the main pitch.

Town started well with the surface suiting their style of play and, after just three minutes, Bowen found Mitch Leece on the edge of the penalty area and his right-footed shot beat the keeper to give Town the lead, 1-0.

Leon McLoughlin, playing up front with Leece, was causing the Whitehaven defence all sorts of problems with his pace and created several opportunities for himself.

He almost found the net after good work from Joe Melling before having a headed goal disallowed for offside.

On 28 minutes Bowen was fouled to the right of the box and, as the home defenders awaited a cross into the area, Walmsley curled in a wonderful effort that beat the keeper.

Once again, however, Longridge allowed their opponents to hit back almost immediately.

A fantastic ball into the area was met with a flashing header by Tom Powell that beat Lee Dovey’s despairing dive.

McLoughlin forced the home keeper into two saves before the chance to make it 3-1 arrived on 39 minutes.

Leece was through, one-on-one with the keeper, after a wayward defensive header, but was denied as the keeper made a great save with his feet.

Just on half-time, Ashcroft was forced into a change as Walmsley went down with a muscle injury.

Town suffered another blow five minutes into the second half as McLoughlin pulled up with a hamstring injury.

He was replaced by the manager as Town looked for the vital third goal.

Longridge were now enjoying most of the possession as their back three looked comfortable with anything that Whitehaven could throw at them.

Ashcroft made a difference up front as Town changed their game plan finding the manager’s feet as often as possible with Leece playing off him, running in behind.

With 15 minutes remaining Town looked tense as the importance of the win seemed to dawn on them.

Whitehaven brought on two substitutes and played with width as they looked to get a point.

However, Dovey was calm and collected in goal, dealing with cross after cross from the right-hand side.

The back three also won many aerial duels as the game went into the last five minutes.

Leece was replaced by Troy Carsley as the referee added on three minutes before the final whistle ended an excellent, hard-fought game.