Longridge have upset the odds this season in the Northern League Division One

No matter what happens between now and the end of the summer, Longridge’s season cannot be described as anything other than magnificent.

That is the view of club stalwart Ian Simpson who has seen the first team upset the odds to become one of the strongest sides in the Northern League Division One.

At the start of the summer, most observers would have predicted that Longridge would be one of the teams fighting relegation to the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.

However, Nick Wilkinson’s men have fought a battle at the opposite end of the table and to illustrate just how far the club has come, there is talk of disappointment that their title hopes are all but over.

Ian Simpson

Longridge are second in the table but a long way behind champions-elect Blackpool with just a handful of games left.

At one point the men from Chipping Road were the team to beat after a fine start to the season saw them soar to the top of the table.

Slowly but surely Blackpool began to make inroads in their lead and now Wilkinson’s job is ensure that he rallies his men for the final push to ensure they hold off Lancaster and finish in runners-up spot.

A victory this weekend will go a long way to doing that – they travel to Lune Road to take on Ben Simm’s men.

But whatever happens this weekend, Simpson believes this season cannot be viewed as any other than a success especially as remarkably they have operated without a professional.

“I think we have surpassed all expectations,” said Simpson. “It was mooted about us at the start that we would be relegated this year. That we would find it difficult without a professional or an overseas player.

“But I think we have stuck two fingers up at everyone.

“We have shown that you don’t need those individuals if you have got a great team ethos and a group of players all pulling in the right direction.

“It’s been a great season for everybody concerned at the club.”

Tomorrow's fixtures

Northern League Division One: Blackpool v Chorley, Fleetwood v Garstang, Kendal v St Annes, Lancaster v Longridge, Leyland v Fulwood and Broughton, Morecambe v Netherfield.

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