Shootout sees an ecstatic Longridge Town through in cup

Lee Ashcroft, player manager for Longridge Town FC
Lee Ashcroft, player manager for Longridge Town FC
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Longridge Town are through to the next round of the Richardson Cup after a penalty shootout saw them coming away with a victory from the Barden Sports Ground after beating Burnley Utd.

The game went into penalties after the two sides drew 2-2, Town eventually winning 3-5 on penalties.

Ecstatic player-manager Lee Ashcroft said: “It’s excellent we’re into the next round. We were the better team second half on a bobbly pitch and we kept our composure in the shootout. In the first half we could have been 3-1 with the Jonty header but the equaliser was a worldie.”

With Sam Nightingale unavailable Paul Alexander moved to left back and Ryan McKenna played centre half with Dave Woodruff dropping to the bench. Captain Rick Murch returned in central midfield after his absence; Jonty McDonald made a return appearance in the place of Sam Dean.

The home side were off the mark quickest getting two corners in quick succession but neither coming to anything. McKenna had Town’s first chance of note when he carried the ball out of defence but his shot went wide of the Burnley goal.

Stu Garry’s game was cut short due to a groin injury and he had to be replaced by Woodruff after 20 minutes. The home side took the lead after 26 minutes; a cross from the left wing by Adrian Cheetham found Gareth Berry who cut inside before beating Ellis Hawksworth in the Town goal.

Two minutes later McDonald received the ball from a short corner; he worked his way into the box but was brought down by Oli Wood. Lennie Reid equalised from the spot kick. Town then went on to add a second on the 33rd minute. Rick Coar had two attempts blocked, the ball found its way to Jordan Bowen who finished well.

Late in the first half McKenna again showed his skill running out of defence; he passed to Lennie Reid whose delightful cross found McDonald but his header had the keeper beaten but the post had denied him. A mistake at the other end by the Town defence allowed Paul Dugdale to score a sensational goal from 25 yards which arrowed into the net, leaving Hawksworth no chance.

An avid Burnley United fan said: “I’ve been coming to watch the club for 30 years and it’s been the best goal I’ve ever seen here.”

In the second period chances were few and far between. There was a tame effort by Coar in the early moments for Town and then for Burnley a chance for Wood was well saved by Hawksworth and Cheetham was unable to follow up. Alexander came close with a difficult chance. Dugdale nearly topped the goal he scored for the equalizer but this time Hawksworth was equal to it.

The draw meant the tie would be decided with the nerve-wrecking penalty shoot-out.

Paul Alexander (Town) = Goal 0-1

Joe Rodriquez (Burnley) = Miss 0-1

Joe Melling (Town) = Goal 0-2

Elliot Flanagan (Burnley) = Goal 1-2

Connor Linighan (Town) = Goal 1-3

Paul Dugdale (Burnley) = Goal 2-3

Jordan Bowen (Town) = Goal 2-4

Steve Riley (Burnley) = miss/retake = goal 3-4

Sam Dean (Town) = Goal 3-5

In the next cup round Town will travel to Charnock Richard on March 7, kick off 3pm but they will first meet Charnock Richard at home in the West Lancas Premier League this Saturday, February 14, kick off 3pm.

Saturday’s team comprised: 1 Elis Hawksworth, 2 Joe Melling, 3 Paul Alexander, 4 Stu Garry (16 Dave Woodruff), 5 Ryan McKenna, 6 Rick Murch (captain), 7 Conor Linighan, 8 Jordan Bowen (33), 9 Rick Coar (12 Sam Dean), 10 Lennie Reid (29) (15 Saul Hamer), 11 Jonty McDonald. Unused Subs: 14 Matthew Edgar, 17 Rob Batty.