Town come off worst in a casual encounter on the away-day road

Rick Coar of Longridge Town FC
Rick Coar of Longridge Town FC
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Crooklands Casuals 2 Longridge Town 1

Town’s first of many away trips didn’t go exactly to plan as they found themselves defeated by a resilient Crooklands team who were looking to get back to winning ways after two straight defeats.

Rick Coar gave Town the lead through a powerful header after 43 minutes. Crooklands equalised after 70 minutes when pinball in the Town area caused havoc. The ball finally reached Dave Mansergh who poked the ball home. Town had a penalty appeal turned down late on when Coar was pulled down. Barely 20 seconds later Crooklands were awarded a penalty. Miss-communication between Dave Woodruff and keeper Ryan Platt allowed the Crooklands winger to round the keeper and square the ball to Mansergh. Platt recovered but was judged to have brought down the forward. Substitute Tom Heywood stepped up and converted the spot kick.

Lee Ashcroft commented after the game on the result and performance: “It was disappointing. It sums our season up; first half glimpses of brilliance and second half not good enough at times.”

Speaking about the penalty, he said: “It was mistake, we’ve got to deal with situations like that. It wasn’t a penalty; the keeper’s clawed the ball. Two seconds early Rick Coar should have had a penalty. We can’t keep having games where in the first half we’re a different class and second half we are far from the standards we’ve set. A game of football lasts 90 minutes not 45!”

The away side began brightly seeing a lot of possession but it was Crooklands who had the first opening. Joe Tindale crossed to Mansergh who scuffed his attempt. Longridge continued to play their possession football but didn’t have a real attempt on goal until the 28th minute. Jordan Bowen got the better of the left back but Coar’s header at goal was tame. Lennie Reid then put a long throw into the area, Coar connected but there was no one to follow up his effort.

Ashcroft, seeing the trouble Bowen was causing, changed to a 4-4-2 formation. Jonty McDonald delivered a deep cross to Coar who headed wide. Jonty then was free to run down the left after a slip from the defender, his cross was miss-cleared by the defender and Lennie came close but it went just wide.

Three minutes before half time Town took the lead, Bowen again beating the full back. He put in a delightful cross to Coar whose powerful header beat the Crooklands number one.

Early in the second half Crooklands keeper Sam Stephens made a spectacular double save to keep the score at 1-0 to Town; the ball bounced up kindly for Lennie, then Jonty was denied from the follow up.

The home side nearly found an equaliser when Mansergh and Tindale linked, a neat pass around the corner but Mansergh’s shot was well saved by Ryan Platt at his near post. Crooklands struck back on the 70th minute. A Crooklands corner wasn’t dealt with and the ball pinballed around the box. Mansergh was in the right place at the right time to poke home.

Town had a penalty appeal turned down late on when Coar was pulled down. Twenty seconds later Crooklands went up the other end of the pitch and won themselves a penalty when the Longridge keeper was judged to have brought down the Crooklands forward. Substitute Tom Heywood stepped up and converted the spot kick.

Town remain third in the league and are looking to get back to winning ways this week.

Next match Saturday 6th December 2 PM: Fleetwood Hesketh vs Longridge Town (PR9 9XH)

Team: 1 Ryan Platt, 2 Dave Woodruff, 3 Sam Nightingale, 4 Ryan McKenna, 5 Dan Walmsley, 6 Rick Murch, 7 Jordan Bowen, 8 Aaron Helliwell, 9 Rick Coar (43), 10 Lennie Reid (12 Sam Dean), 11 Jonty McDonald, Subs: 14 Matthew Edgar, 15 Stu Garry, 16 Ian Kilford and 17 Joe Melling.