Match Report: Longridge Town 4-1 Lower Breck
By Ellie Hamilton
Town bounce back in big Breck win.
Apparently there are two Tom Inces, one is the son of a former Man Utd and England midfielder, and the other is a brilliant footballer.
Yesterday Town's diminutive number 10 wasn't on his own, as Longridge bounced back from last week's chaotic home defeat to run out 4-1 winners against in form Lower Breck with superb performances all across the team.
Young Paul Turner was superb up front, and debutant Charlie Lyons was outstanding as Town returned to their very best when it really mattered.
Lower Breck are in a great run of form with striker Steven Milne having scored nine goals in his last three games after joining the club from Bootle, and this game was billed as League leaders Town's most difficult game of the season at The MRG.
Town started well, with Richie Allen up front with Paul Turner and it took only 13 minutes before they opened the scoring.
Crowd favourite Joe Melling worked the ball down the left before putting in a pinpoint cross to Turner who nodded the ball past the Breck keeper to make it 1-0 to Town, a great goal coming at the end of a spell of early Town possession.
Just five minutes later Danny Wilkinson saw his close range header cleared off the line as a shell shocked Breck looked to stay in the game.
It was a brief respite however as Richie Allen scored a superb goal after 36 minutes. Charlie Lyons stepped forward from the left and his cross was met at full pace by Richie who fired a brilliant header past the keeper to make it 2-0.
The former Salford striker was clearly 'up for it' and celebrated with team mates and supporters as one, the importance of the vital 2nd goal clearly obvious to the Home crowd and players alike.
There was then a five minute delay after Richie was clearly kicked off the ball, but with the official's conferring and unsure who the culprit was no further action was taken, a brief reminder of last week's officiating.
Milne looked dangerous up front for the visitors but Ryan McKenna was another who stepped up to the mark in this big game, keeping the Breck frontman at bay as the Liverpudlians looked to get back in the game before half time.
Lyons then made a brilliant interception on the half way line, and strode forward with the ball before playing in Paul Turner. The youngster swivelled before side footing the ball past the advancing keeper to put Town 3-0 up on the brink of half time.
It was a fair reflection of the half with Longridge having played their best football of the season so far, and Lower Breck didn't really know what had hit them as the whistle went to end the half.
It was a shame that such an excellent 45 minutes had been witnessed by Town's lowest crowd of the season, just 101, as the local Football League games and the freezing weather robbed the clubhouse of it's usual mid game clamour.
Lower Breck had a fair following as well and all the talk was of how well Town had played with many visiting fans asking where Tom Ince had played before joining the Club.
It was a knowledgeable and entertaining 15 minutes as some of the younger visitors enjoyed the local banter, a credit to Lower Breck one and all.
The visitors emerged early from the dressing room, waiting on the pitch for Town to emerge from a noisy dressing room and it was obvious that the first 10-15 minutes would see Breck come at Longridge.
Indeed they did, and they got their reward after 55 minutes when sub Pete Donnelly, surprisingly omitted in a formation that saw just one up front, pounced to fire past Dovey to give the visitors hope.
Ashey changed the plan with Danny Gardner making way for another debutant in Isaac Sinclair, and Richie moving to the left of a front three.
Sinclair looked like he'd played with Town for years. Everything about him ticked the Gaffer's boxes, good on the ball, hardworking, kept possession well and looked dangerous going forward, and importantly another youngster who looked to be enjoying himself.
A brilliant move, with Ince pulling the strings as usual, saw Richie's close range effort saved by the keeper as Town looked to kill the game but Town had settled down now and were keeping the ball at will, tiring the chasing visitors.
Ashey used all three substitutes with Jay Hart continuing his return from injury, and Brad Wicks getting the final 10 minutes, as Paul Turner and Richie Allen were given standing ovations as they left the field, both having put in superb performances.
The killer fourth goal looked like it would never come but, in added time, Ince was given the chance to put the icing on the cake after Hart was brought down by the Lower Breck keeper.
It ended in the usual outcome as Tom fired an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the net. 4-1, and the end of a complete team performance from Longridge.
Both teams were applauded from the field after an excellent game in which both teams played their part, and the win puts Town four points clear at the top of the Hallmark Security NWCFL Division One North with the season at its half way mark.
After the match Ashey was rightly full of praise for his team, and his video interview with longridgetown.tv can be seen on the Club website this afternoon.
Next Saturday sees the lads make the long journey up to Cleator Moor Celtic, with a supporters coach leaving The MRG at 11'ish for a 3pm Kick Off in Cumbria.