Holker Old Boys 3 Longridge Town 3

HOLKER Old Boys continued their pre-season with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Longridge Town at Rakesmoor Lane, writes LIAM BEWSHER.

The visitors provided a stern test for the Stags, who were pegged back three times after taking the lead through Sam Joel, Brad Hubbold and Phil Coombe.

Ultimately, Holker could not capitalise on their leads, with Brad Carsley scoring two and John Stead the other for Longridge, capitalising on uncharacteristically sloppy defending.

The first 10 minutes were closely contested, with Longridge pressing high up the pitch to make the game compact and hard for Holker to play their passing game.

However, a pin-point diagonal pass from goalkeeper Ross Liddicott picked out Chris Wraighte on the left. His first touch was exquisite to bring the ball down, and he ran down the wing and isolated Longridge’s right-back, producing two step-overs and beating his man on the outside. With great vision, Wraighte cut the ball back to Joel, who smashed it into the top of the goal from 10 yards.

Longridge replied within five minutes, as Ash Ball passed to Carsley just outside the area and he bundled his way through two challenges from Coombe and Guy Heffernan and coolly slotted into the bottom corner.

Holker retook the lead just before half-time as excellent play by Hubbold saw him cut in from the right, beat his marker, and rifle in a left-footed effort at the near post from the edge of the area.

Just a minute into the second half, a loose pass by Heffernan was pounced upon by Carsley, who bore down on goal. His shot had just enough power to beat Liddicott as he got a hand to the shot.

Typically of the match, there were two more goals within the next 10 minutes.

Holker won a corner Chris Wraighte got his second assist of the day with a pin-point which Coombe guided into the top corner.

Holker failed to capitalise yet again, as a long throw from the left and a defensive mix-up in the Holker defence saw Stead sneak in at the back post unchallenged to make it 3-3.

There were chances late on for both teams and some well-worked combination play down the wing by Wraighte and Joel, picked out Robbie Wallace, who agonisingly hit the underside of the bar.

With virtually the last kick of the game, Longridge put in a corner from the left and a header from their centre-back from close range was stopped by a high-class save from Liddicott as he got both hands to the ball and tipped it over.