LANCASTER CITY put a hefty dent in Skelmersdale’s title hopes on Tuesday night with a last-gasp victory at Giant Axe.
Alex Johnson’s 92nd minute strike meant that the visitors missed out on a chance to go top above Chester in an intriguing title race.
It was a great game of football by two evenly matched sides, Skelmersdale beat the Dolly Blues a week earlier in a rip-roaring encounter and this one was just as good.
Both sides looked to get the ball down and pass it and Skelmersdale mastered the art that little bit better in a close and goalless half.
They had the better chances too as captain Michael Burke headed over the bar on three separate occasions as they tried to turn the screw on City’s young charges.
The Dolly Blues put in a typically high-tempo display with Jack Duggan and Neil Marshall excellent at the back and Rob Wilson pulling the strings alongside a bullish Alex Kenyon in the middle of the park.
The incisive passing was just a little off target however and City struggled to break into the box with Wilson shooting from range high and wide and Tom Brocklehurst saving easily from Max Rothwell again just outside the box.
The real excitement came into the closing stages as the game came to a nervy end. Had they won, the visitors could have gone two points clear of Chester with just three games to go. City, in contrast, sit ninth and will finish the season there or thereabout.
Paul Woolcott and Lewis Field, the Skelmersdale wingers, had been a threat throughout and Woolcott sparked the late dramatics as he surged into the box.
He broke free of Rob Henry and advanced on Martin Fearon before going down in the box, referee Mark Ackerman waved away penalty appeals and booked Woolcott for diving; contact looked minimal if at all – a good decision from the official.
Moments later and City won it, Dave Swarbrick had beaten Paul Byrne, the Skelmersdale left-back on several occasions with his pace and skill, with Bryne on the back foot expecting him to go at him again he had the space to cross.
It was a typical Dolly Blue counter attack, lightning quick and this time they were able to make it count as Johnson had made it into the box to sweep the ball home at the back post.
Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 7, Duggan 8, Marshall 7, Kenyon 6, Rushton 7 (Wilson S 83), Wilson R 7 (Johnson 66), Swarbrick 7, Rothwell 7, McKenna 7 (Hall 66)
Subs not used: Rodgerson
Skelmersdale United: Brocklehurst, Strickland, Byrne, Burke, Akrigg, Parle (Almond 54), Woolcott, Armstrong, Roberts, Wade, Field
Subs not used: Peet, Tuck, Birchall, McIntosh
Referee: Mark Ackerman
Starman: Jack Duggan. An assured display from the young man