Connerton heading back to Australia after firing Lancaster to league title

Jordan Connerton is congratulated on completing his hat-trick in Lancaster City's title-winning victory over Glossop North End.
Jordan Connerton is congratulated on completing his hat-trick in Lancaster City's title-winning victory over Glossop North End.

If Jordan Connerton’s aim was to leave Lancaster City fans wanting more then it’s certainly mission accomplished.

The striker scored back-to-back hat-tricks as the Dolly Blues sealed the Evo-Stik First Division title and is now off to Australia.

The decision to move to Melbourne was taken some time ago, meaning the 35-goal front man was determined to leave on the right note.

“I probably couldn’t have written it better if I tried,” said Connerton, who will fly out next week having arranged a two-year visa Down Under.

“It’s not for the football but it’s about the lifestyle.

“The club there are a new club so they are right down the ladder but they’ve paid for my visa.

Lancaster City's players and fans celebrate the title win. Picture: Steve Dyson

Lancaster City's players and fans celebrate the title win. Picture: Steve Dyson

“Outside of football I’ve stagnated a bit, I just needed a bit of a fresh challenge.

“I was really determined to go out on the right note and to get a hat-trick in the last two games and get us over the line I’m delighted.”

Connerton, who previously spent time in Australia back in 2014, returned for his fourth spell with the Dolly Blues last summer.

The 27-year-old came back to Giant Axe with one thing in mind, achieving something special for his good friend Neil Marshall.

The club legend had retired the previous April due to his on-going battle with cancer after more than 10 years with his hometown club.

His health deteriorated and the proud Lancaster lad passed away in November at the age of 31.

It affected Connerton more than most, the former Crewe Alexandra striker having first had a kick around with Marshall on the Marsh estate at the age of 15.

The 5-2 win at Glossop North End on Saturday that sealed the title saw Marshall’s name sung from beginning to end with his young son Max helping Blues captain Ricky Mercer lift the trophy.

“For me the big thing was Neil,” he said.

“When I spoke to Phil (Brown, manager) in the summer I could have stayed at Chorley in the Conference North.

“Don’t get me wrong, I want to Lancaster to do well, they’re my hometown team, I started off at Under 12s and played right the way through.

“But with what was happening with Neil, he’d retired and we didn’t expect him to deteriorate as quickly as he did, God rest in soul.

“That was a big factor in coming back to the club.

“I know him and all his family and I wanted to give him something in the year he unfortunately passed away.

“It was a bit emotional with his brother coming over to us and congratulating us and to see his little boy Max lift the cup at the end I’m delighted.”

City boss Brown, with Connerton at Myerscough College and as Lancaster number two to Tony Hesketh when the Giant Axe club narrowly missed out on promotion back in 2010, was another big factor in the striker coming home this season.

“He’s a good manager,” said Connerton.

“He can be difficult at times, I’ve said that to his face, but I think it’s a good trait of his.

“He’s the best manager I’ve ever had and that includes when I was at Crewe.

“The Marshy thing was a big factor but Browny being gaffer was another one.”

After weeks of twists and turns whether Lancaster would pay the perfect tribute to Marshall came down to the final day.

Win at Glossop, and the Dollies knew they would pip Farsley to the title and a spot in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

“It’s been a topsy-turvy year,” he said.

“There’s been times when us and Farsley have thought we’re going to pull away and we haven’t.

“It’s been like that all year.

“On our day when we turned up we were the best team in the league.

“I knew that and said it to the boys before we went onto the pitch.

“Glossop are a good side with some good players but we mauled them in the first half.

“Before the game I was a bit worried some of the younger boys might feel the pressure but hats off to everyone, they prepared right and we did a professional job.”

Leaving on a high, Connerton isn’t ruling out a fifth spell with his hometown club.

“I always confident I’ll score goals at this level and even higher,” he said.

“I’m not blowing my own trumpet and without being big headed, I’m a bit of a talisman here because I will score goals.

“It’s just nice to be able to give something back to the club.

“I’ve got a two-year visa, if I do come back I’m only going to be 28, 29.

“Never say never. If I do come back I’m only going to play at Lancaster.

“I’ve done my moving around now and Browny’s got a good thing going here.”