Prestwich Heys 1 Longridge Town 2: League leaders claim a battling victory

Ryan McKenna opened the scoring for Longridge Town
Ryan McKenna opened the scoring for Longridge Town
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Jay Hart’s 28th goal of the season helped Longridge Town extend their lead at the top of the table with a 2-1 win at Prestwich Heys.

With title rivals Avro not in league action, it was a valuable three points for Longridge, who now extend their lead to nine points at the top of the North West Counties Division One North.

With Town’s growing injury list, most notably through the defence and midfield, Lee Ashcroft was forced into changes ahead of the game at Adie Moran Park.

Daniel Wisdom, Aaron Fleming and Chris Turner were all handed debuts from the off, George Thomason made his first involvement from the bench in the second half.

While Hart, Allen and Ince continue to lead the line and fire in the goals for Town, Turner put in a very impressive display in the midfield.

The new boy also had a key involvement in the second, finding Allen with a pass down the right prior to Hart converting.

Town flew out of the blocks on a dry and breezy day, opening the scoring inside the first 10 minutes as the hosts failed to deal properly with Turner’s corner.

Tom Ince latched onto the loose ball 25 yards out and fired goalwards, forcing a save from Heys’ keeper Michael Smith before Ryan McKenna bundled the ball into the net from five yards out and give Town the lead.

Town then doubled their advantage before the break, Hart rounding off a free-flowing move down the right-hand side with a brilliant volleyed finish.

Turner was again involved, finding Richie Allen who centred for Hart.

Having been in pole position from the off, Town saw their lead halved with 20 minutes remaining as Cory Knight squeezed an effort past keeper Lee Dovey to set up a nervy finale.

Despite the hosts coming on strongly, it was Town who ended strongest with Allen shooting wide late on.

That was before the former Salford man appeared to be upended late on, only for the referee to bring the game to an end rather than point to the spot.

The one tinge of disappointment for Ashcroft’s men came when Conor Linighan had to be withdrawn from proceedings.

He added to the club’s injury woes having limped off into the second half, with Hart also leaving the field as a precautionary measure.