Match Report: Longridge Town 4-2 Shelley
By Ellie Hamilton
Longridge contrived to make life difficult for themselves late on at The MRG, having outplayed Yorkshire visitors Shelley FC in the first 45 minutes, before running out 4-2 winners to extend their winning run to three games.
Richie Allen returned to replace the absent Paul Turner, as Town started well with both Allen and Jay Hart seeing early chances come to nothing.
Town Captain George Melling was an early casualty, a groin injury forcing him off after just 7 minutes to be replaced by Gary Basterfield.
Dominating possession, Town moved the ball around well and got their deserved reward after 20 minutes, Tom Ince finishing from close range to put Longridge 1-0 up.
Just seven minutes later it was two, as Allen beat three men cutting in from the left before 'putting it on a plate' for Danny Wilkinson to tap home from inside the six yard box.
At this point nobody in another excellent crowd of 141, could have foreseen how the game would 'to and fro', as at this point it seemed a question of how many Town would score.
That thought was reinforced just two minutes later as Ince got a third, a superb left footed finish giving the Shelley keeper no chance, 3-0 on the half hour.
Murphy on the left, and Joe Melling from the right were causing Shelley all kinds of problems with the excellent Tom Ince running the game from the middle, finding space at will, but there were no further first half goals as the whistle went with Longridge 3-0 up.
The second half started in a similar vein, although Shelley looked far more workmanlike closing Town down far better than in the first 45 minutes.
Both Allen and Hart saw efforts saved by Max Dearnley in the visiting goal, and Town looked to have taken their foot off the gas as Shelley grew into the game.
Dovey saved superbly from Greenwood before Craig Billington got the Yorshiremen back in the game finished well after Dovey had saved from distance.
You would have thought that this would have sparked Town back into life, but it wasnt to be as the Shelley now had hope.
Conor Linighan cleared off the line with Dovey beaten, and Town just couldn't get the vital fourth goal, with Dearnley outstanding in the Shelley nets.
3-1 bacame 3-2 with ten minutes remaining and it was 'game on,’ Billington unmarked in the six yard box to head home his second of the game.
The confident strut that had seen Town play such excellent football in the first half had now gone, with the Home crowd imploring them to get another goal.
It only stayed at 3-2 for six minutes, but it felt like a lifetime for the now worried crowd as Shelley smelt blood, and a point to take back over the Pennines.
Finally, Richie Allen killed the game off, beating two men before hammering a left footed shot past the despairing Dearnley, and a covering defender on the line.
4-2, nineteen goals in four home games, and a fright that will probably have done the lads good.
Longridge remain in 3rd place in the Hallmark Securities NWCFL Division One North With August being a busy footballing month, Town now travel to Ashton Town tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday) with a 3pm kick-off scheduled.