Town failed to replicate free flowing football

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After the game Town boss Ashcroft commented: “It was a close encounter and we’ve come up short. The two goals we conceded were school boy errors and we’ve got to learn from it. It’s a difficult place to come, they’ve got a good home record like we have. We haven’t been anywhere near like we were at the start of the season. We’ve got to dust ourselves down, we’ve got two massive games in the space of two weeks against Slyne with Hest.”

With no Paul Alexander, new signing Sam Marsh made his debut in the centre of defence – a solid defender who made quite an impression. Sam Dean started the match up front alongside the versatile Ryan McKenna with the former starting in place of Rick Coar, who recently moved to Hurst Green.

There was a tentative start to the match with both sides’ passing going straight to the opposition on a bobbly pitch not doing either side any favours. Both teams were creating half chances. Conor Linighan had a strike from outside the area which was comfortably saved. Then Lennie Reid found Sam Nightingale at the back post with a diagonal ball but his attempt was blocked. A tantalising corner followed but it somehow evaded everybody.

Town conceded a corner on the 24th minute and Danny Kirkby capitalised at the back post, heading in unchallenged. Reid had a well driven free kick saved five minutes later. Euxton then had the chance to double their lead when the striker was played through but Ellis Hawksworth came out to deny him.

Before the break Town had two more great chances to equalise; first Linighan was played through by a flick on from Dean but the ball bounced awkwardly. His attempt was comfortably saved by the Euxton number one. Then just before half time another tantalising cross came in but again no Town player could make any contact.

Town had several penalty appeals turned down in the first half one of which the Town boss thought was a “stonewall penalty”.

Seven minutes into the second half Town were awarded a penalty when Linighan was barged over in the area. Reid stepped up and coolly placed it into the bottom left corner.

The home side had their tails up and began to create chances of their own. A driven shot from the right back was well saved by Hawksworth. Shortly after Dean came close for Town when his header went high in the air but had to be tipped over to prevent a goal.

Euxton grew in confidence; Andrew Leggett played in David Hogg whose thunderbolt looked destined to go in but the cross bar denied him. Leggett then had a chance of his own when he was played through on goal but he was unable to hit the target from a tight angle. Birkby, looking for his second, came agonisingly close for Euxton.

For all their pressure Euxton got their second on the 78th minute but it was a Town error that lead to the goal. Substitute Luke Massie was dispossessed deep in his own half, Daniel Hogg was found free alone and slid the ball under the on rushing Hawksworth.

Town tried everything to get the equaliser, change of formation, going direct but Euxton wouldn’t budge and held on for the win. Next week is the first of two big games against Slyne.

Team: 1 Ellis Hawksworth, 2 Joe Melling, 3 Sam Nightingale, 4 Dave Woodruff (12 Jordan Bowen), 5 Sam Marsh, 6 Rick Murch,

7 Conor Linigghan, 8 Lennie Reid (57), 9 Sam Dean, 10 Ryan McKenna, 11 Jonty McDonald (16 Luke Massie).

Unused Subs: 14 Stu Garry, 15 Saul Hamer, 17 Nathan Parish.

This Saturday, March 7, Longridge Town are away against Slyne with Hest, kick off 3pm, Bottomdale Road (LA2 6BG).