Town press for equaliser but lose out to Crooklands

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Crooklands 2

Longridge town 1

On Saturday Longridge Town took the long trip to Barrow looking to put right the defeat to Thornton Cleveleys in midweek, in which they lost 2-0.

Donnelly and Carey made a few changes for the trip, Coar, Horn and Pearson coming back into the starting line up and a first start of the season for Donnelly.

Both teams walked out for the kick-off in torrential rain. It was the home side who started the better, Longridge looking disorganised, allowed the Crooklands left winger to have time and space, causing plenty of problems for Town’s defence.

The wet conditions were proving treacherous for both sides who were struggling to get hold of the ball, and create any fluency in their play.

It got worse for Town as the big number 9 Coar had to be stretchered off after 20 minutes with a recurrence of a knee injury, Wilkes replacing Coar, meaning English moved into a more forward position.

It was Crooklands who struck first – a long ball forward flicked over the Longridge defence, who were caught too flat and the Crooklands winger Wraighte who had been causing problems all half made his run unmarked, finishing coolly passed Hind.

Five minutes later Town hadn’t learnt from their earlier mistake being caught flat again. The Crooklands centre forward raced through one on one with Hind, who made a great save to deny Crooklands a second.

Longridge created a couple of half chances later in the half, a header unluckily just going over the bar from Murch and a scrambled corner fell to Horn who placed the shot wide.

Just before the half Crookland’s did make it two. A ball was cleared from the Longridge 18 yard box, but fell into the path of a Crooklands player, who laid the ball off wide for the Crooklands winger to whip a ball from 30 yards out, the Longridge team were caught napping and a sliding Caine put the ball in the back of the net at the back post.

The second half started much better for Longridge, with Crooklands hoping to keep a two-goal lead. Longridge were trying to keep the ball better, playing most of the action through Ross on the right wing.

A free kick was conceded by Crooklands 25 yards out, and with the defence setting up, Donnelly dinked a ball over the wall to Horn who looked to have been wrestled to the ground and headed just wide, but a penalty wasn’t given.

Longridge were beginning to get into the match, but an unforced error could have let Crooklands finish the game, as the ball was given away at the back leaving Crooklands three on two at the back. Crooklands drove forward and passed through to the centre forward and with only the keeper to beat, hit the ball straight at Hind, who pulled off another great save.

Longridge began to throw everything they had left at Crooklands resulting in numerous corners and free kicks, but without any success. The pressure told and a free kick on the right hand side of the pitch was lined up by Ross, who whipped the ball towards goal, the Crooklands keeper caught off guard and the ball floating into the back of the net. Only Ross will know whether it was a cross or shot. It brought Longridge firmly back into the game.

Just after, English was replaced by Carey hoping for a presence in the box going into the final minutes. Longridge launched the ball forward, a ball whipped into the box, up jumped Carey who just headed wide. The final minutes saw Crooklands hold out for the victory.

Donnelly and Carey will be hoping for a reaction on Tuesday evening against Norcross & Warbreck needing a vital three points to get back on track.

Team: Hind, Woodruff, Horn, Ross, Pearson, Murch, Donnelly, English, Wilkinson, Coar & St.Vall. Sub: Wilkes, Carey. Unused Sub: Garry, Keefe. Man of the Match: Hind.