Longridge Town ...................................3
Crooklands Casuals .............................2
LONGRIDGE need just a point from Saturday’s trip to Dalton to secure promotion to the Premier Division, following this victory against Crooklands.
And Anthony Keefe’s side know that, with both Dalton and Norcross both losing, a win at the weekend could also see them seal the first division championship with four games still to play.
Town entertained Crooklands Casuals in a clash of the division’s two in-form sides, with Keefe and Gornall going with the same squad as last week’s victory over Bac Sprinfields with the starting XI unchanged.
It was Longridge who started the brighter on a very dry pitch, with Horn heading an English corner into the side netting with only three minutes played, and then Rick Coar was denied by an excellent tackle when just about to shoot after latching on to a St Vall’s flick on.
Crooklands really should have gone ahead when good work by their number nine, Mansergh, saw him beat his marker and put in a cross to the back post on to the head of his teammate, Wraighte, but he could only nod over the bar.
On the half-hour mark, Rick Coar stung the hands of the Crooklands keeper Stephens, then it was the Crooklands defender Atkinson’s turn to deny Coar with a superb tackle, before Stephens pulled off a great save to deny Melling at his near post before the referee blew for half-time with the score all square.
The second half kicked off and Stephens was soon called into action, beating away an English free kick which whistled through the wall.
Longridge finally broke the deadlock on 58 minutes when the Longridge captain produced a fine through ball to St Vall, who beat the onrushing keeper.
Crooklands came close to equalising soon after, with home keeper Bates doing well to tip the ball away from a Mansergh header, and within two minutes of this save Longridge extended their lead when Wilkes drove home from 15 yards.
Crooklands pulled a goal back when great work by Mansargh on the byline saw him pull the ball back to Goude, who finished smartly and five minutes later the scores were level when Mansergh again got to the byline, beat his marker and curled a superb shot in to the top corner.
The game was evenly balanced with both teams going for a winner and it was Longridge who managed to get it with only three minutes left to play.
A long throw by Ross was flicked on by Rick Coar and when the ball fell to Melling he struck home through a crowd of players and in to the bottom corner.
LONGRIDGE: Bates, Ross, Donnelly, Bamber, Horn, Carroll (rep Pearson), St Vall (rep A Coar), Melling, R Coar, Heywood, English (rep Wilkes)
Man of Match: Ross