Match Report: Longridge Town 4-1 Holker Old Boys
By Ellie Hamilton
Turner treble wins the title for Town!
So it all came down to the last five minutes of the last game to decide whether Town would deservedly lift the NWCFL First Division North Title, after leading the Division for almost seven months.
Town hosted Holker Old Boys, knowing that they had to better the result of title rivals AVRO FC, who faced a difficult game away at third place AFC Liverpool, if they were to lift the Championship trophy.
It was blowing a gale at The MRG as the game got underway, with Town skipper Richie Allen deciding to play with the wind at our backs in the first half.
Early chances came and went as Holker defended resolutely, camped in their own half, the wind playing a big part in the proceedings.
Paul Turner twice went close, and Danny Wilkinson headed just over when well placed, but it was a nervous Longridge crowd of 177 with no word of any goals from Liverpool.
A lovely ball from Ben Fletcher found Turner in space, and a lovely first touch allowed the young striker to volley the ball into the net and put Town 1-0 with 26 minutes gone.
There was a feeling that one goal would not be enough as Holker would have the advantage in the second half, with the wind assistance.
Town couldn’t find a second though, and at half time news filtered through that it was goalless in the AFC Liverpool-AVRO game. So with 45 minutes of the season remaining Town were back on top as things stood.
Talisman Richie Allen went off injured at the break, with Jay Hart coming up to play from the left, Sinclair from the right and Ince in the 10 role behind Turner.
Surprisingly, Holker allowed Town space to play as the second half how underway, sitting deeper than expected. This suited the lads and Turner got a second to settle the nerves, a first time volley after a gorgeous through ball from Tom Ince. 2-0 Town , and the game looked safe, so it was all down to events in Liverpool now.
Flying winger Isaac Sinclair added a third with a brilliant individual goal, before Turner got his deserved hat trick to make it 4-0, but the game was in limbo now as the crowd scanned phones for updates in the AVRO game, as Holker were able to pull back a consolation goal to make it 4-1.
In time added on word came through that AFC Liverpool had scored, and AVRO needed two goals in two minutes to deny Town. A roar went up from crowd, the loudest of the day, and the Longridge bench obviously got the message as they celebrated wildly.
The whistle went, Town had won 4-1 against a great set of players from Holker. The AVRO game was still going but within seconds confirmation came that the game was over, AFC Liverpool had won and Town were Champions at the first time of asking.
The trophy was enroute, champagne (well, Prosecco!) corks popped, drums were playing, everyone was on the pitch, flags were flying, hugs and hand shakes all round and the Holker lads formed a guard of honour to applaud Town from the field, a fantastic gesture from a very classy Club.
NWCFL official Debbie Beckett duly arrived and to loud cheers awarded the trophy to skipper Richie Allen.
Town had won it, all those points per game calculations were immaterial. A recent dip in form was immaterial. Last minute goals at Daisy Hill early in the season, a great night in Carlisle back in October, a brilliant day at Cleatir Moor in December, last months 3-0 home win against AVRO ,144 goals, 90 points in total... that’s what mattered.
The saying goes that over a long season the best team wins the League, and this season Longridge Town have been the best.
Up the Ridge!