Match Report: Holker Old Boys 2-11 Longridge Town
Longridge travelled to Holker Old Boys yesterday knowing that a victory would take them to the top of the Hallmark Security NWCFL Division One North.
With six players still missing through injury or suspension, Ashey stuck with the same side that won at Steeton last Saturday, with the exception of Tom Ince being replaced by Jack Bennett in centre midfield.
Holker have struggled so far this season, but the long journey and player availability meant that Town would still need to be on top of their game if victory was to be had.
The game took an early twist however when Holker keeper Sam Stephens was sold short by a back pass. Jay Hart raced towards goal and his goal bound effort was saved a good two yards outside the penalty area.
A straight red for Stephens, and any game plan that Holker had was gone with barely 60 seconds on the clock.
To make matters worse for the Home side, there was no substitute keeper on the bench, and Brad Wicks hammered the resultant free kick into the bottom corner past the emergency keeper to put Town 0-1 up.
Holker then selected a different outfield player to go in goal making it three different goalkeepers in three minutes, a record of some sort surely?
Unfortunately for the Cumbrian side it made no difference as Ryan McKenna drove the ball home from a Wicks corner just five minutes later to make it 0-2 to Town, and it looked like being a long afternoon ahead for Holker.
The game then settled down a little and Longridge were guilty of taking their foot off the gas, as Holker fought to stay in the game.
Dovey made two decent saves but Town didn't test the stand in keeper as often as they should have,
Jay Hart was the man to change all that, finishing off a crisp passing move with a 20-yard effort that flew into the bottom corner. 0-3 after 32 minutes, and the points now looked safe.
Gary Basterfield then got on the scoresheet, his left footed volley being his third goal in two games, 0-4 as half time approached.
Harvey Close replaced the injured Ben Ashcroft for the second half as Town looked to maximise their Victory, Ashey driving home to his team the opportunity to further improve the Clubs goal difference.
Hart got his second goal just two minutes into the half, clinically finishing after good work from Danny Wilkinson, to increase the score line to 0-5 before Brad Wicks curled a direct free kick into the goal to put Longridge 0-6 up after 52 minutes.
The goal of the game came after 57 minutes, and it wouldn't have mattered who was in goal for this one.
Wicks completed his hat trick of free kicks curling a 25-yard effort right into the 'postage stamp' top corner, to applause from all watching regardless of who they were supporting. 0-7 with a long half hour ahead for the Home side.
Five minutes later Paul Turner got the goal his performance deserved, playing a one two with Hart before finishing from close range. 0-8, and Holker understandably looked a demoralised side.
Danny Wilkinson got the ninth for Town, sitting the keeper down before passing the ball into the corner of the net, before Hart capped off his MOTM performance by completing his hat trick with a well taken close range finish after good work by Wilkinson. 0-10, with 15 minutes to go.
Holker were then reduced to nine men after a poorly timed challenge on Town sub Jack Williams who had replaced Bennett just minutes earlier, a clear red card and Williams had to be helped from the field.
Remarkably this seemed to galvanise the Home side, who scored two quick fire goals.
The first saw a long ball beat McKenna and Brandon Collins beat Dovey to the ball to tap into an empty net.
To be fair to Lee, in the Town goal, any mistimed challenge would have resulted in the third red card of the game and he made the correct decision at 10-0 up not to make contact with Collins. 1-10 now with time running down.
Four minutes later Holker got another as Town lost possession high up the pitch resulting in Dovey making an excellent save with his feet.
From the resulting corner however, Craig Warburton flashed a header into the far corner to reduce the deficit, 2-10, with six minutes remaining.
Harvey Close then became Town's seventh different goal scorer on the day, nodding home the final goal of the game with just two minutes left. 2-11, as the whistle went to end what was a non-contest really after the early red card for the Holker keeper.
The 2-11 scoreline marks the first time in league history for that result to be recorded.
This Friday night sees Town face AFC Blackpool under the lights at the MRG, with a 7.45 Kick Off.