Longridge Town 1 AFC Blackpool 1: Match report

AFC Blackpool's Conah Bishop
AFC Blackpool's Conah Bishop
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AFC Blackpool fully deserved a 1-1 draw at Longridge Town when the two sides met in midweek.

This is Town’s first season at Hallmark Security League level, having moved up from the West Lancashire League, and they have adapted quickly to life at the higher level.

They had gone into the game top of the table, having scored 60 goals in winning 11 and drawing one of their opening 13 matches.

However, in a highly entertaining and open game which saw both sides playing well, AFC were resolute in defence and had plenty of opportunities themselves.

In a busy opening to proceedings, both sides could have opened the scoring.

Town lost Phil Doughty to injury after 20 minutes and, five minutes later, AFC took the lead.

Conah Bishop neatly passed to Connor Finlayson, who slotted the ball home from close range past keeper Lee Dovey.

Dovey then accidentally carried the ball out of his area but redeemed himself in saving Stephen Betteridge’s inswinging free-kick.

AFC were then forced into a change with Alex Pickering injured in a goalmouth scramble and replaced by Alex Caunce.

The home side got on level terms when Danny Wilkinson levelled in the 37th minute before AFC had a penalty appeal waved away after Finlayson went to ground following a tussle with Ryan McKenna.

Jack Taylor replaced Fran Donaghy at the break and, with AFC playing into the wind, Longridge dominated the early stages.

Jay Hart came close to giving them the lead in the 56th minute but his shot flashed across goal before Alex Murphy’s long-range effort hit the bar.

They also had a penalty appeal waved away but, although AFC had to play on the counter, they still had chances.

A Finlayson shot flew over the bar, Ben Duffield sent a free-kick into the wall, Alex Caunce was unable to convert and Isaac Sinclair went close with almost the last kick of the game.

A creditable draw meant AFC moved into ninth place with games in hand over most of the teams above them ahead of Saturday’s trip to Oldham-based Avro.

AFC Blackpool: Cameron, Donaghy, Thomason, Vaughan, A Pickering, D Pickering, Bishop, Fishwick, Duffield, Finlayson, Betteridge. Subs: Bradley, Caunce, Taylor, Sinclair, Baird.