LANGHO put themselves firmly in the driving seat in the title race with this win over the current champions on Saturday.
Playing on a very heavy pitch, it wasn’t a day for attractive, flowing football, but the sides put on a very watchable contest and the visitors will surely wonder how they failed to get at least a point.
The early exchanges were forgettable, but from 20 minutes in, Langho had Woodhead, Fowler and Thompson in particular to thank for keeping their side in the match. Rimington thought they had scored when Walsh’s header beat Woodhead, but Thompson popped up to block the effort on the line, and when the ball sprung to O’Neill, his left-foot strike from six yards was brilliantly tipped over by the acrobatic Woodhead. He then saved at the feet of Walsh as the visitors pressed in search of the opening goal.
Rimington, without the prolific Lloyd, the influential Sargeson and the versatile Dinsdale, looked to skipper McLean and Allen to lead the attack, and the pair did well as they pressurised the Langho back four.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic however, and Matt Bagot and Coote came close without making Kershaw make a decent save.
In the second half and the visitors continued to push the home side back, but they lacked the clinical finish to break the deadlock. O’Neill and Heslop had efforts just wide and Thompson again cleared off the line when Woodhead was finally beaten.
Midway through the half came the turning point, as a piece of brilliance lead to the first goal. Lishman appeared to mis-hit his free-kick, but the ball arrived at the feet of Bagot, who flicked the ball up before producing an overhead kick which looped over the despairing dive of Kershaw and into the net.
It was a goal worthy of winning any game but the striker wasn’t finished as minutes later he beat the off-side trap to race away, rounding Kershaw to slot home.
Rimington pushed forward again, and McLean rattled a post with a thundering drive, while Walmsley hit the side netting. Penman and Wharton came on, and the winger jinked into the area to set up Allen, but he flashed his effort wide.
Langho defended well and counter-attacked, with Blackburn coming on to use his pace, however, they could not beat Kershaw again, but with Woodhead in no mood to be beaten either, the home side saw the game out.