Preston North End legends team help Longridge open new stand

Former PNE skipper Ian Bryson in action against Longridge Town
Former PNE skipper Ian Bryson in action against Longridge Town
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Longridge Town opened their new stand with a game against a PNE legends XI.

Former Preston striker Neil Mellor and Town chairman Kevin Harrison joined up to conduct the official opening.

The club have stepped up to the North West Counties League and on Saturday will kick off the season against AFC Liverpool.

In order to meet the league’s criteria, Town have built a 100-seat stand at the Mike Riding Ground.

They have also relaid the pitch, using turf from Wigan Athletic’s 
DW Stadium.

The game against the PNE legends side saw Longridge run out 7-2 winners.

It was a good final warm-up game for Lee Ashcroft’s men before the season starts.

The PNE side included Ian Bryson, Graeme Atkinson, Matt Hill, Marlon Broomes, Andy Fensome and Warren Beattie.

Atkinson and Beattie got the North End goals, with Paul Turner, Stuart Vasey, Jay Hart, Danny Wilkinson and James Sloan among the Longridge scorers.

Longridge’s build-up to the new season have gone well, with Ashcroft strengthening his squad significantly ready for the move to the North West Counties League Division One North.

In pre-season they had wins against Leyland United, Fulwood Amateurs, Poulton and Lytham Town, while there were defeats to Wren Rovers and Bamber Bridge.

Champions of the West Lancashire League two years ago, it has been a long-term ambition of Longridge to play at a higher level.

Ashcroft, who has been Longridge manager since 2014, said: “This is an exciting time for the club.

“We have done ever so well during pre-season and it will great to start the season in a new division.

“That is a 
fresh challenge for us and one we are ready to 
meet.

“Hopefully we can have a good season and settle well into the division.

“It was always an ambition of mine when I took over here to get the club higher.

“The club have looked up and pushed on, spent money on the ground and pitch.

“If we start the season well, there is no reason why we can’t be solid.

“There are a few teams in this league who are spending a lot of money.

“It will be competitive but I think we’ll be fine.

“A lot of the signings we’ve made are lads who have played at the this level, so that should help us.”