A highly competitive weekend in the SportsReach Football League saw three games all decided by a single goal – including a battle between the top two.
The unbeaten pair of Great Ecc and Lancaster went head-to-head and just like their early season meeting which finished 4-4, this encounter proved to be another humdinger. Lancaster, on home turf, took an early lead through Tom Luxton but Great Ecc staged a spirited fightback to lead at half-time thanks to goals from midfielder Sam Hogarth and the league’s leading scorer Jack Sharples. But Lancaster responded in kind when Ryan Francis made it 2-2 on the hour mark, setting up a frantic last 30 minutes. One final goal decided it and it came from Lancaster’s Tom Schad with a rare but crucial strike after 75 minutes to grab the three points for the reigning champions and consign Great Ecc to their first defeat of the season. Eccy still lead the table by two points, though Lancaster have a game in hand.
There was another rollercoaster of a match as Fulwood made the short journey to take on Longton in a local Preston derby. The home team raced into a 3-0 lead inside 15 minutes and eventually held a commanding 4-1 half-time lead – Stephen Farrington with the pick of the goals firing into the far corner with a clever finish. Early in the second half, Fulwood pulled one back before Tom Cobham’s second goal of the game for Longton made the score 5-2. The points looked to be secure for Longton but Fulwood had other ideas – staging a spirited fightback with three goals in 11 minutes, including an excellent glancing header from Matty Leach to make the score 5-5. Fulwood had the momentum whilst Longton continued to look dangerous… the game was there for the taking, and with just three minutes on the clock, Hungarian winger Kristof Kaszas drilled in a 20-yard-shot to win an epic match for Longton.
Finally, the remaining game of the weekend took place in Carnforth between Loko and Quernmore and again, it was a close-fought topsy-turvy encounter. Both teams were looking for their first league victories of the season and it was Quernmore who drew first blood through Will Ryder, scoring mid-way through the first half. But Loko – despite the absence of their manager Taz – turned things around in the second half with a goal from Glen Hamner and a last-minute winner from long-serving centre-half Graeme Beaumont.
Loko 2-1 Quernmore
Glen Hamner 63, Graeme Beaumont 90 // Will Ryder 24
Longton 6-5 Fulwood
Danny Stephenson 6, Tom Cobham 9, 56 Kristof Kaszas 15, 87 Stephen Farrington 42 // Callum Alexander 24, 53 Danny Garratt 66, Richard Atkinson Jnr 75, Matty Leach 77
Lancaster 3-2 Great Ecc
Tom Luxton 7, Ryan Francis 60, Tom Schad 75 // Sam Hogarth 33, Jack Sharples 44