LANCASTER’S chances of reaching the play-offs became increasingly unlikely after a lacklustre display on Saturday at promotion-chasing Curzon Ashton.
City’s defence, which had been so sound until recently, struggled to contain the home side, who after going 1-0 up in the opening 60 seconds and 3-0 at the interval, left City needing a miracle they never looked like performing.
It was the perfect start for Curzon. Casual marking on City’s right allowed Kristian Dennis the space to rifle home and, try as they might, City couldn’t create the pressure necessary to get back in to the game.
Lancaster’s first real chance came on 19 minutes with a shot that Joshua Ollerenshaw managed to push away and Curzon responded with a break which saw their effort clear the bar.
On the half-hour mark the home side increased their lead from a free-kick, which City skipper Alex Kenyon was unlucky enough to steer into his own net.
Curzon then controlled the rest of the opening period and two minutes before the break they went further ahead when Sam Edgerton-Wilson’s hesitation let Dennis in again and he coolly lifted the ball over City ‘keeper Martin Fearon.
A chance came Simon Wills’ way on 49 minutes, but he saw his effort go the wrong side of the post and from here on, the game struggled to excite with City unable to deliver a telling blow.
Even when Chris McDonagh was red carded for a two-footed challenge 20 minutes from time and Tom Kilifin and Lee Dodgson were brought into the fray shortly afterwards, the Dollies failed to get the bit between their teeth.
As the game drew to a close City eased into it but it was too little, too late, their only consolation being an own goal by Andrew Watson just before the final whistle.
Lancaster City: Fearon. Henry (Clark 78), Edgerton-Wilson, Marshall, Elderton, Kenyon (capt), Wills, Meaney, Rothwell (Kilifin 75), Turner (Dodgson 75), Bunney. Subs not used : Cook, Gregson.
Curzon Ashton: Ollerenshaw, Woodford, Hampson, G Kay(capt) (Lakeland 62), Watson, Summersgill, M Kay (Nightingale 64), Walker, McDonagh, Dennis, (Purcell 67), Fish.
Referee: Adam Burgess.