The slump continued for Longridge Town as they were defeated by rivals Garstang, a run they have been on since February 14. Town boss Lee Ashcroft, however, is optimistic the winless run will end soon, saying: “They’re good footballers and the football we’ve been playing has brought us success in the early season and I believe it will bring us success again. We’ve not become a bad side overnight, we’re just low on confidence and will be looking to put things right against Hesketh Bank.”
Reflecting on the game itself Ashcroft added: “Obviously another loss which we aren’t happy about but first half again we’ve given away the two goals. Second half they’ve had one shot and scored a goal. We’ve had chances on the goal but not been clinical enough. Luck will change, we’re not getting anything, any ricochets or anything.”
Town welcomed two new additions to the squad; Jordan Curwen in goal and Scott Harries, a winger from Northwich Victoria, both started the match. Town were without regular skipper Rick Murch and Jordan Bowen who is out with an injured back.
Garstang came out of the blocks quickly and somehow an attempt from five yards was ballooned over the bar. Curwen was then forced into a comfortable save a minute later. Garry Fawcett then laid off Joe Crook after being found in space from a quick throw but Crook was denied firing from a tight angle.
Town won a free kick in their own half but the ever reliable Sam Nightingale got it all wrong. He hit it straight to Fawcett who ran clear and beat the approaching Curwen. Shortly after, hesitant defending by Town allowed Crook to be played through on goal and he coolly finished to make it 0-2 after 24 minutes.
On the half hour mark Garstang had a free kick from 20 yards out which was deflected onto the crossbar. Fawcett, looking for his second, was quickest to it but intervention on the line by Sam Marsh kept the score at 0-2.
Lennie Reid had Town’s only real attempt of the half. He was found by a lofted pass and he controlled it well, but his attempted lob didn’t have enough power to beat the Garstang number one. Shortly after Sam Marsh lost a 50/50 which allowed Tom Graham to create space for a chance but he blasted over.
Ashcroft changed things round for the second half, moving Ryan McKenna in to the heart of defence allowing Nightingale go into the left back position and Conor Linighan to move in to the centre of midfield.
Town came out second half with more energy and within minutes could’ve pulled a goal back. Harries won the ball and passed to Jonty McDonald whose flick on fell to Sam Dean but he couldn’t get the connection he wanted.
Lennie Reid fired a long throw into the box; Marsh flicked onto Harries who couldn’t beat the sprawling Garstang keeper.
On 70 minutes, a quick free kick found Joe Melling who attempted to find McKenna. McKenna acrobatically reached the ball but was unable to direct it at goal or find a team mate. A minute later Garstang sprang a counter attack. Crook ran through the Town defence like it wasn’t there until he was brought down by Melling on the edge off the area. From the resulting free kick Mathew Bell fired it into the top left corner giving Curwen no chance.
Town continued to push for a consolation goal and on the 89th minute got it; Sam Dean released Melling who accelerated into the box before firing into the bottom corner.
Town chairman Brian Parkinson said: ‘I’m very concerned about the run of five defeats. These things happen in football. Unfortunately we’ve lost too many players. The worrying point is players are leaving but not hanging up their boots. It’s difficult for the manager, he’s bringing players in, granted it’s hard to bring a player into a winning team, it’s harder bringing a player into a team that’s lacking in confidence. We’re having bad starts, giving away goals and the worst thing you can do when you’re lacking in confidence is go 1-0 down early on.”
He also mentioned the appeal on the March 31 regarding the Richardson Cup: “We’re appealing to the Lancashire FA and if we’re reinstated we’ll have an away tie verses Charnock Richard.”
Team: 1 Jamie Curwen, 2 Joe Melling (89), 3 Sam Nightingale, 4 Conor Linighan, 5 Sam Marsh (15 Stu Garry), 6 Ryan McKenna,
7 Scott Harries, 8 Gary Longshaw, 9 Sam Dean, 10 Lennie Reid (17 Dave Woodruff), 11 Jonty McDonald. Unused Subs; 12 Lee Ashcroft, 14 Matty Edgar, 16 Luke Massie.
This Saturday, March 28, Longridge Town are away at Hesketh Bank, Centenary Sports Ground (PR4 6SR).