Longridge Town 1 -1 Crooklands Casuals
Longridge Town opened the new West Lancashire Premier League season with a 1-1 home draw against Crooklands Casuals.
Jonty McDonalds’s seventh minute chip gave the host’s an early lead but Chris Wraighte levelled in the second half.
Due to Ric Coar’s absence player-manager Lee Ashcroft stepped in as Longridge’s lone striker.
And former Preston North End star Ashcroft created Town’s goal.
He smashed the ball into the path of McDonald and he deftly lofted the ball over the on rushing keeper.
Longridge continued to dominate the first half and lovely play in midfield saw them carve open chances but the Crooklands Casuals backline held firm.
A free-kick from Aaron Helliwell flew straight at Crooklands keeper.
Some slick link-up play from Helliwell, Ashcroft gave McDonald another sight of goal but his strike from the edge of the area sailed inches wide of the goal.
McDonald continued to torment the Crooklands’ defence and he found himself in the box but his squared ball was cut out and the final ball eventually fell awkwardly to Garry Longshaw who was unable to keep his shot down.
Great play in midfield created an opportunity for Ashcroft whose diving header cannoned back off the bar.
Longridge then had a penalty appeal turned down when McDonald played the ball into the feet of Ashcroft who appeared to have been fouled.
The hosts continued to create chances and a quick free kick allowed Helliwell to drive into space but his shot was well saved.
Crooklands’ launched a counter attack and nearly found an equaliser but Town keeper Kev Baldwin made a fantastic save.
But they were level in the second half after Joe Melling was dispossessed.
Joe Tindal capitalised on the error and ran at Longridge’s backline before laying the ball off to Wraighte who fired past Baldwin.
Ashcroft, McDonald, Longshaw, Sam Nightingale and Ryan McKenna were all involved as Longridge upped the tempo but they were unable to find the all important second goal.
Manager Lee Ashcroft was pleased with the performance
He said: “We dominated the first half and the majority of the game really, we’re looking fit and ready for the season.”
Team: Kev Baldwin, Jordan Tucker (Stu Garry), Sam Nightingale, Joe Melling, Dan Walmsley,
Aaron Helliwell, Jordan Bowen, Garry Longshaw, Lee Ashcroft (Lennie Reid), Ryan
McKenna, Jonty McDonald. Unused Subs: Ian Kilford, Mervyn Lucas, Rick Murch