A disappointing Easter weekend was rounded off in the most heart-wrenching of fashion for the Dolly Blues on Bank Holiday Monday.
Their trip to rivals and playoff hopefuls Clitheroe was decided in the very final minute as centre-back Danny Gregson put the ball into his own net after a frantic goalmouth scramble.
The Dolly Blues had just about edged play in a great derby match, they had the chances in the first 45 to win the game but once again found a drop of luck and composure hard to come by.
Gregson had defended brilliantly for 90 minutes but found himself deciding the game in the worst possible way as he bundled the ball into his own net under serious pressure after a cross from the left.
The big talking point of the second half had come at the other end as Gregson this time made a nuisance of himself in a scramble in the Clitheroe six yard box and along with Billy McKenna forced three chances goal-ward- the last of which looked to have been handled on the line by winger Chris
Dykes as he helped it cleat.
There was little protest from the City players, however, though it did appear that Dykes had two hands in front of his head and moving towards the ball as it deflected clear.
This had been an impressive display from the Dolly Blues as they looked to put Saturday’s disappointment behind them; Darren Green reverted to his usual centre-forward role and was the architect in a top City first half.
He had one half chances himself which he blazed over from range but it was his clever passes and not his goals that were the difference as he played in McKenna, Winder and Swarbrick for good opportunities.
Winder had the best effort as he raced clear down the middle- the youngster was neat and tidy in possession in a right-midfield role and looked to take on his man too, a good display- unfortunately the ball took a bobble and he lost his composure to strike straight at Hakan Burton in the home net.
In similar fashion up the other end striker Chris Mason found himself clear to run at Danny McDonald but the City stopper saved well with his feet.
McDonald denied Mason twice, one save in particular diving to his right to tip clear was excellent; the City number one is in a rich vein of form despite his team’s back to back defeats.
Former City midfielder Danny Mahoney then hit the foot of the post with a swerving effort from range while for the Dolly Blues Gavin Clark hit two long ranged efforts high and wide.
The second half did not produce the level of chances as it’s predecessor but once again the Dolly Blues came out looking the more energetic and dangerous going forward.
Despite the disappointment of that late own goal and the missed chances City can be pleased that they more than matched the league’s 5th placed side.
Clitheroe: Burton, Smalley, Pugh, James, Higgins, Burchill, Mangle, Mahoney, Dykes, Mason (Kusaloka 68), Woods
Subs not used: Dent, Smith
Lancaster City: McDonald 7, Winters 7, Elderton 7, Gregson 6, Marshall 7, Wills 6, Winder 7, Clark 7, Swarbrick 7, Green 7, McKenna (Kelly 70)
Subs not used: Fielding, Allsop, Harding, Hoyle
Referee: M Bonage
Starman: Darren Green – His passing play in the first half and first touches were second to none