Avro FC 3 Longridge Town 2
By Mark Hutton
OB strikes late !
Saturday brought the visit of high flying Longridge Town to the Vestacare in the 3rd of our opening week of home games. Lee, James and the lads were looking to bounce back after the disappointment of the defeat at home to Steeton AFC ( 0-1) in a game that we had dominated from the first to the last minute. Longridge arrived with a strong attack including former Salford City striker Ritchie Allen, and had scored 8 in 2 games, but their defence looked suspect having let in 6 in those two games.
OB and James had made a few changes, with Michael Shenton due a suspension after his red card against Steeton, in came club skipper Sam Rathbone
for his NWCFL debut at full back, and also Callum Jackson
came in to the heart of the Avro defence. Mike Stockdale
also was brought in with Jake Pollard
dropping to the bench.In goal, Jordan Latham was brought in to cover for Dean Williams who has a toe injury suffered in the Steeton game. A strong side, although still missing a few key players for varying reasons as is normal at this time of the season.
The lads were determined to put things right after Steeton, and again we went at the visitors from the off. It took us just 7 minutes to go in front when MIKE NORTON showed his true goal scorers instinct when the Longridge keeper spilled a shot and he was on hand to finish smartly and put us 1-0 in front. Longridge Town came back at us and a couple of minutes later forced a corner which Jordan Latham made a good save from. They did manage to level the game though on 20 minutes, Jordan got himself into a mess in the corner trying to shield the ball to gain a goal kick, he was robbed and the Longridge player squared the ball into the box for James Sloan to finish into a practically empty net. 1-1. We are Avro though, and heads don’t go down, and we pressed forward again, and on 29 minutes Mike Stockdale
put us in front again with a great towering header 2-1. On 35 minutes we nearly went further ahead when Dan Grimshaw crossed and Duncan Knott
went very close with a header just past the post. HT : 2-1
The second half saw us again miss the chance to put ourselves out of sight. Mike Stockdale
hit the post and Kane Wallwork
also hit the woodwork with a great strike that deserved a goal. True enough, if you miss chances in football it generally comes back to haunt you, and on 69 minutes, Richie Allen fired in the equaliser past Jordan. 2-2. The Longridge fans now fancied their chances of getting something from the game, and the goal gave them a new head of steam as we briefly lost our momentum and tempo. On 78 minutes sub Joe Rathbone
, having another very effective game as a sub went on an excellent run, beating several players, but his cross was cleared. With 10 minutes remaining, Mike Norton, who had worked tirelessly all game, was brought off and Lee O’Brien, who was in the squad because of an injury to Neil Sagar, came on for a final push for the 3 points. There’s no lost causes to OB, and he pushed us on, going close with a header on 82 minutes. Then came the drama, a direct free kick to us on the edge of the Longridge box in the 94th minute. Up stepped LEE O’BRIEN and he smashed the ball past the helpless Longridge wall and keeper – 3-2 cue scenes on our bench as we celebrated the strike and now the 3 points. This left Longridge no time to come back at us, and a minute later the ref blew for the final whistle. A deserved victory for the lads, and a decent return of 6 points from 9 in the opening 3 games.
TEAM : LATHAM, S.RATHBONE ©, GRIMSHAW, V.HOWELL,BENNION,JACKSON,KNOTT,POTTS,NORTON,STOCKDALE,WALLWORK. SUBS : J.RATHBONE, L.O’BRIEN, ARMSTRONG. NOT USED : SHENTON, POLLARD Att: 75
Shorn Wines Man of the Match : Callum Jackson