Longridge v City


City knew they were in for a tough challenge at the league leaders as new manager Jim Nichols took charge of his first league game, following the quarter-final win over Ellesmere Rangers last week. The side showed a league debut for Warren Douglas and Dan Wood, with the returning Cameron Wilson on the subs’ bench alongside Mark Graham and Chris Slack, also making his first trip in this league. The home side included Isaac Sinclair, son of former England international Trevor, and he was to have a pivotal influence over the game.

The first attempt from home skipper Allen flew over the bar and then Holmes was forced to retreat and concede a corner to Longridge, which was safely dealt with. A 12th-minute foul by Wood gave the home side a free-kick and this was to lead to the first goal, as Ince’s shot rebounded from the post and City’s defence played a game of statues allowing Wilkinson to stroke the ball into the net.

City then had to deal with another home corner before they managed to gain a foothold in the game, and McCartney’s shot finished up on the roof of the net. City then won their first corner which came to nothing, before Turner fired wide for Longridge. Renyard’s shot then deflected wide for another City corner as the visitors began to look the better side. City were really close as Armstrong’s excellent cross found Holmes inside the 6 yard box but he could not squeeze the ball past Dovey.

City were enjoying far more possession in the middle part of the first half and Simpson found McCartney with his shot deflecting for a corner. Hart fired well over for Longridge before Simpson was wide from 25 yards for City. The first booking of the game went to Ince after a foul on Pearson. In the 40th minute, a crisp shot from Renyard had to be pushed over by Dovey, and another cross from Renyard also caused problems close to the Longridge goal.

City came out very early after the break, probably feeling they deserved to be level, but the home side were possibly receiving an ear-bashing after a fairly insipid first period, and it proved to be far better from Longridge after the interval.

It was a very lively start to the second half as McCartney missed a chance for City before Hart did the same for Longridge. In the 50th minute, Longridge won a free kick 25 yards out and Ince’s shot did not seem to be struck that well but the ball did zip up off the surface and appeared to confuse Townsley in the City goal, who was unable to keep it out of the net.

City were still trying to get back into the game as Renyard wasted a good opportunity, but Hart also again shot wide for the home side. After 56 minutes, City conceded a third as a corner was cleared but Hart’s ball back into the box caught the City defence completely cold, and Wilkinson scored his second of the game.
It was looking very difficult for City now as Allen was just wide and, on the hour, City replaced the injured Wood with Slack, for his first taste of North West Counties football. Shortly after this change, Sinclair scored a fourth for Longridge.

In the 67th minute, Wilson replaced Holmes for City. Simpson shot wide in the 71st minute as City struggled to have much impetus in this half. A basic long ball in the 79th minute bypassed the City defence and Allen added a fifth for the home side.

Pearson was booked for City after a foul on Sinclair, and City’s final change saw Graham replace Armstrong. The home side’s day was complete as Sinclair completed a hat-trick with goals in the 87th and 90th minutes, and this meant that City had conceded six goals in the second half for the second away match in succession.

TEAMS- LONGRIDGE- Dovey, Melling, Thompson, Linighan, Lawrance, Turner, Sinclair, Wilkinson, Hart, Ince, Allen SUBS- Fletcher, Wood, Murphy, Turner, Wicks

CITY- Townsley, Allison, Pearson, Douglas, Wood, Addison, Renyard, Simpson, McCartney, Holmes, Armstrong SUBS- Wilson, Slack, Graham

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