Lancaster City 1-1 Northwich Victoria

Gavin Clark battles in the air. Picture: Tony North.
Gavin Clark battles in the air. Picture: Tony North.

Club favourite Phil Brown was handed an interesting introduction as Lancaster City manager with an FA Trophy preliminary round replay at league leaders Northwich thanks to Matty Poole’s third of the season cancelling out Iain Howard’s early strike at Giant Axe on Saturday.

It looked as if the Dolly Blues would continue their recent poor FA Trophy record, as a quick free-kick by Vics was whipped into the box, falling to skipper Michael Clarke whose drilled 20-yard effort was eventually bundled in by Howard.

Neil Marshall challenges for possession on his 400th appearance for the club. Picture: Tony North.

Neil Marshall challenges for possession on his 400th appearance for the club. Picture: Tony North.

Howard looked dangerous for a while in the first half, on one occasion coming agonisingly close with a left-foot shot on the turn that bounced off the post.

Abou Sanogo twice had shots from dangerous positions blocked by Neil Marshall, who fittingly looked unfazed on his 400th appearance for the club.

At the other end, Poole played in Aaron Taylor who dragged wide attempting a lob before Reece Pearce’s rasping volley from a deep Ryan Winder cross was tipped onto the post by Dane Smith.

Winder frequently created problems for the visitors while operating from the right-hand side and possibly should have had an assist to his name when Poole headed his cross straight at Smith.

Winder’s corner from the left was then poorly gathered by Smith, the ball bouncing towards the line but adjudged not to have crossed despite strong appeals.

After the restart Winder created another opportunity with a deep cross, this time falling to Hannu Tam who sliced wide.

The latter once again came on as half-time substitute and ensured Vics had to keep an eye out on both flanks.

City didn’t have to wait too long for their reward for improved attacking intent as Poole poked home Garry Hunter’s free-kick from the right.

Northwich substitute Josh Amis spurned two golden opportunities but was denied twice by Mike Hale one-on-one, both following mistakes by Lancaster.

At the other end Taylor showed good strength to win the ball near the byline and square to Winder, but he took too long and allowed Vics to close him down.

Howard and Scott Duxbury fired wide and over late on but City looked the more likely to snatch a winner, most likely through some very well positioned set pieces.

However, it was not to be and in order to progress to the First Qualifying Round they must visit Witton Albion’s Wincham Park on Wednesday night, a ground which holds good memories for Brown after the Blues’ President’s Cup triumph back in 2011.

Lancaster City: Hale, Gregory (Street), Clark, Freeland, Marshall, Hunter, Winder, Akrigg, Poole (Carlton) Taylor, Pearce (Tam).

Northwich Victoria: Smith, Byrne, Duxbury, Krou, Clarke, Ball, Sanogo, Roddy (Summerskill), Bennett (Amis), Howard, Williams (Langford).