It was a derby day defeat for Town as Garstang got a last grasp winner to finish above their rivals. A hard defeat for Town who had an early goal ruled out. The match was end to end and never had an end of season feeling to it.
After the match Lee Ashcroft commented: “We had more chances than them and on another day we would’ve gone on and won the game. We cannot keep a clean sheet and we conceded in the 94th minute which is unfortunate for our new keeper (Ben Walker) who had a really good game, good kicking and handling. I’d like to thank the fans and everyone who has made the season. Hopefully we can get it right and make next season a good one; challenge for a higher finish and maybe win a cup.”
Town welcomed Conor Linighan back into the side. With players missing, Stu Garry and Dave Woodruff were the central defensive paring.
Within the opening minute Town had a great chance to open the scoring. Jordan Bowen crossing from the right but Jonty McDonald was unable to generate enough power on the volley which was well handled by the Garstang number one.
Town boss Ashcroft and Scott Harries were always causing trouble for the Garstang backline. Ashcroft hooked the ball to Harries who ran down the left. His first cross was blocked but his second cross was perfect for Ryan McKenna who headed just wide.
The away side thought they had taken the lead in the ninth minute. Jonty McDonald’s corner went all the way in but the referee gave a free kick for a foul on the Garstang stopper. Town were looking good creatively but Garstang looked good on the counter attack and especially dangerous from set pieces. Two minutes later Garstang had a corner of their own. Ben Walker missed the flight of the ball initially but made a great recovery save.
Ashcroft and Harries linked again but the latter didn’t have enough on his lobbed attempt.
On the 34th minute Garstang escaped again. Harries’ corner was perfect for McKenna but his header bounced back off the bar and the home side cleared the ball to safety.
Town continued to go on the attack in the second half. Joe Melling made a good run down the right. The ball was headed back and Melling fired in a left footed volley from the edge of the area which was just over. Not long after Ashcroft fired the ball into the Garstang area. The keeper dropped the ball at McDonald’s feet but recovered quickly to deny a certain goal.
Ashcroft and Harries linked again but similar to the first half Harries was unable to chip the onrushing Garstang stopper. Then a long punt down field by the Town stopper went all the way through to Ashcroft. He passed to Harries and darted into the box. Harries’ ball was over Ashcroft but found McDonald running in but it was headed off the line.
In the dying moments of the game Garry gave away a freekick on the edge of the area. The free kick was clipped in. Ashcroft’s header didn’t clear the ball away. Garstang headed the ball back into the mix and David Jack broke Longridge hearts.
Overall it’s been a good campaign for Town this season. The club is ambitious and the preparation for progressing through the football pyramid is underway; there are plans to install floodlights and develop the club facilities which will help the club meet requirements for promotion to the North West Counties where the club will be able to compete in the FA Vase and FA Cup.
Team: 1 Ben Walker, 2 Joe Melling, 3 Conor Linighan, 4 Rick Murch, 5 Dave Woodruff, 6 Stu Garry, 7 Scott Harries, 8 Ryan McKenna, 9 Lee Ashcroft, 10 Jordan Bowen (15 Lennie Reid), 11 Jonty McDonald. Unused 12 Matty Edgar, 14 Luke Massie, 16 Ian Kilford.