City v Longridge


This was an eagerly anticipated game between the two sides setting a searing pace at the top of HSL Div 1 North. There were perhaps some raised eyebrows at the City team selection as Marc Shiel lined up in the totally unfamiliar role of right-back, and Dan Greenslade took the left-back role for just the third time this season in the league. Skipper Josh Simpson was ruled out but James Earl returned in midfield.

The tackles flew in virtually from the first whistle and Slack received possibly the quickest yellow card of the season after a foul in the centre of the field. The first chance of the game was headed wide by Ince and then McCartney saw his shot saved by Dovey. The visitors then saw Ince shoot wide before City came very close to taking the lead following a scramble close to the goal-line.

The first booking for Longridge went to Wilkinson and this was followed by a good Townsley save from Allen. The visitors had always looked the sharper side in midfield and went ahead on 25 minutes when the City defence opened wide to allow Allen through and he scored easily. The away side then won two corners in quick succession as they looked to turn the screw.

An injury to Joseph Melling meant he had to be replaced on the half-hour mark. Ince had been pivotal in most Longridge attacks and he again forced Townsley to save on 32 minutes. It was against the run of play on 34 minutes when a clumsy challenge on McCartney in the box brought a home penalty. The City leading scorer, presented with September’s player of the month prior to the game, stepped up to take the kick but saw Dovey dive full length to his right to make a fine save.

Earl then saw his shot saved by Dovey as City pressed forward well. Allen looked certain to add a second on 40 minutes as his header soared towards the goal, but Taylor miraculously showed great athleticism to make the clearance.

Shortly after the break, Lucock broke well on the right but his cross-shot was wide. Taylor was then booked for dissent. A Longridge corner was headed goalwards in the 55th minute and Townsley saved well. During this half, Renyard looked City’s most dangerous weapon and his 57th-minute shot was deflected for a corner, but this was blasted over by Taylor.

City’s first change saw Errington replace Earl. There was a marvellous save from Dovey in the 65th minute as Renyard’s thunderous 20-yard strike was somehow pushed aside, and then Bradbury also saw his effort saved by the diving keeper.

New signing Pearson came on for his City debut as the away side began to slow the game down at every opportunity, with the referee frustratingly not intervening.

It was deep into injury time when Ince added the Longridge second to clinch a valuable three points for them.

TEAMS- CITY- Townsley, Shiel, Greenslade, Slack, Taylor, Short, Renyard, Earl, McCartney, Bradbury, Lucock SUBS- Errington, Blair, Pearson, Armstrong, Ballantyne
LONGRIDGE- Dovey, Linighan, J Melling, McKenna, G Melling, Morrison, Gardener, Wilkinson, Turner, Ince, Allen SUBS- Basterfield, Close, Egan, Wicks

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