Match Report: Chadderton 1-2 Longridge Town
By Ellie Hamilton
Under par Town win it late as Chaddy suffer
They say that there is no substitute for experience, but it was in the dugout that experience counted yesterday as Lee Ashcroft’s Town side left it late to come from behind and gain a massive three points thanks to Danny Wilkinson's 91st minute winner.
Michael Morrison returned from a three game suspension to Captain the side, with both Alex Murphy and Phil Doughty also available again after a two week absence.
All three started the game as Town looked to continue their fine run of form. It was a slow start however, and possession was lost twice in the run up to the opening goal as Jack Turnbull opened the scoring, beating Dovey from close range to finish off a neat passing move by Chadderton with just five minutes gone.
1-0 to the hosts, and deservedly so as they had started much the brighter.
It was end-to-end stuff for the next 20 minutes or so, with Paul Turner twice denied by the Home keeper when well placed, and Lee Dovey making a smart save with his feet to keep the score line at 0-1.
Phil Doughty rose highest only to see his header come back off the post, but Chadderton were well worth their lead at this stage.
Half Time approached, and Longridge were unrecognisable from the side that had scored 42 goals in their opening nine league games.
Both Ashey and assistant Keiran Walmsley were vocal in their efforts to inspire the lads but it wasn’t to be and the teams went in for half time, one to receive congratulations for a decent 45 minutes, the other to no doubt be on the end of an almighty rollicking... I'll leave it to you to decide which was which!
Just six minutes into the 15 minute break Longridge emerged back onto the pitch, what needed to be said had obviously been said.
The second half started marginally better for Town, with the lads showing more urgency and application, but Chadderton were still creating chances and could have increased their lead several times.
Ashey changed formation but couldn’t get the width that Town play with normally.
Both Murphy and Joe Melling were being denied space wide as Chadderton continued to outwork Town, chasing and closing down every ball.
Dovey made a great save from a 20-yard deflected free kick, before Town forward Jay Hart had a goal disallowed for offside. It was a tight decision, and you got the feeling that it could be one of those days for Longridge when nothing goes right.
The Home side then had a spell of pressure with Dovey saving well from the Chaddy winger before the turning point came.
Chadderton broke, leaving Dovey isolated in a one on one situation.
The home forward did everything right, a shimmy to the left, a dummy that sat the Town keeper down helpless before a little dink of the ball from 8 yards that somehow cleared the crossbar.
Relief, and belief, soared through the Longridge side as Ashey changed formation for the third time in the game.
Ryan McKenna moved up front to play down the middle with Jay Hart playing to the left of a front three, as Harvey Close and Jack Bennett replaced Paul Turner and Brad Wicks with 25 minutes remaining.
For the first time in recent memory Town went direct, McKenna being the target.
Hart excelled wide causing problems driving at the Home defence, and Town saw two penalty claims waved away by the referee.
The breakthrough came with 12 minutes remaining, Hart's superb ball met by the onrushing Harvey Close who flicked it past the Chaddy keeper to level the game at 1-1.
Ashey reverted to four at the back as Town poured forward looking for a winner in the five minutes of added on time.
Driven on by a vocal travelling support Danny Wilkinson just beat Jay Hart to a low cross from Close, and sidefooted the ball past the keeper to win the game for Longridge.
Dovey was a lonely man in the Longridge goal as the rest of the team raced to embrace the goalscorer celebrating along with supporters and Management alike, but he had more than played his part, keeping his side in the game at vital times.
As the whistle blew Chadderton had every right to be disappointed as they had seen several chances to extend their lead at 1-0, and taken none of them, but they do say that if you can win when playing badly then It’s a good sign, and that is most definitely what Town did