The club’s big day brought a 3-1 defeat against Bolton Wanderers in front of a maximum capacity crowd of 625 at the Mike Riding Ground.
It was Town who took a first-half lead when Arek Pociask netted just after the quarter-hour, converting Jordan Southworth’s cross.
Longridge keeper Lee Dovey made some excellent saves, Joe Melling cleared off the line, and Eoin Doyle saw a goal ruled out for offside as Town led at the break.
That saw Bolton bring on a host of new players, Ronan Darcy having already come on just past the half-hour for Antoni Sarcevic.
The match continued in the same vein in the second half with Dovey thwarting Declan John and Dapo Afolyan.
Amadou Bakayoko was also denied by Dovey before Bolton finally beat the Longridge keeper midway through the half.
Afolyan was the creator with his cross turned home by Harry Brockbank.
Bolton went in front with 11 minutes remaining as John crossed and Bakayoko headed beyond Dovey.
The same player came within inches of scoring again, only to hit the woodwork, before Dovey held another Xavier Amaechi effort.
An offside flag thwarted Darcy with time running out, but he wouldn’t be denied in stoppage time and completed the scoring.
Speaking to the club website afterwards, Ashcroft was proud of how the day had gone as supporters made their return to watching ‘live’ football.
“I’m really proud of my players,” he said.
“I thought we defended really well. We were always going to get tested and I thought the lads did really well in terms of that.
“I said to Ian (Evatt, Bolton manager) before the game ‘don’t pull our pants down, you’ve got two fantastic teams.’
“He just laughed and I think we shocked him with how well we did.
“It’s a positive we can take into the next game and hopefully continue in good form.”
Preston North End are Town’s next opponents on Wednesday as they continue to prepare for the new season, scheduled to begin on July 31.
“It’s been built up and they’ll all be hard games which, long term, does us good,” Ashcroft said.
“Ultimately, we’re not going to be playing against that opposition week in week out.
“Financially, we do well over pre-season, bringing these games in, and to be fair, everyone at the football club has worked tirelessly in the build-up to this game.
“They have put a fantastic show on and I think the day has gone as well as we could have expected and the club has made quite a bit of money.”
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