Captain Neil Marshall got the only goal of the game as Lancaster City kicked off their season with victory over Cammell Laird at Giant Axe on Saturday.
A bullet header from the skipper on the hour mark gave the Dolly Blues as a deserved opening day win in driving rain to cap a watertight defensive display from the home side.
The conditions created a scrappy encounter at times, but one that was entertaining from start to finish with Aaron Taylor nearly getting the hosts off to a flying start just five minutes in.
Spotting ‘keeper Kevin Atherton off his line, the striker audaciously chipped a goal-bound effort that the visiting stopper had to be at full stretch to tip over the bar.
The first half was a closer encounter than the second with the fast paced surface, and at times torrential rain, hampering the passing games of both sides. Taylor went close as Atherton saved a close-range header from the forward and Tom Kilifin, playing out on the left wing, also had a half-chance inside the box late in the half but dragged his shot wide of the post.
Danny MacDonald in the City goal was kept quiet for most of the match, but had to be wary to palm away an effort from Laird striker Nick Rogan.
City were denied what looked like a clear penalty shortly after the break as Billy Akrigg’s cross appeared to be blocked by the arm of Laird defender Mike Grogan, the linesman immediately flagging for a penalty but the referee waved away both the official and City’s appeals.
The home side went close again when Akrigg’s shot from the edge of the box was palmed straight into the path of Kilifin with a last-ditch tackle from full back Chay Dysart blocking the rebound effort which bounced agonisingly wide.
The Dolly Blues finally got their deserved breakthrough on the hour, Ryan Elderton’s free-kick was met by Marshall who converted into the bottom-right corner to give his side the lead.
Marshall’s excellent partnership with new arrival Glenn Steel at the heart of the City defence ensured one goal was enough to earn all three points in a performance that will have pleased head coach Darren Peacock.
City travel to Warrington on Tuesday night before a trip to Evo-Stik First Division North new boys Padiham on Saturday.
Lancaster City: MacDonald 7, Hudson 8, Steel 9, Marshall 9, Elderton 8, Akrigg 7 (Wills 75), Mahoney 6, Hunter 6, Kilifin 7, Jackson 7 (Winder 68), Taylor 7. Subs not used: Liley, Clark, Millar
Star man: Neil Marshall. One of his best displays in a City shirt.