Lancaster City 3-0 Curzon Ashton

DAVE Swarbrick’s hat trick was just what he and city deserved after a very convincing performance against Curzon Ashton in the quarter final of the Presidents Cup. It should have been a lot more, just like in the league fixture at Curzon at the start of February, but this time the goals went in and City are rewarded with a semi final tie at The Giant Axe against Evo-Stik Division One North high-fliers Chester.

Swarbrick’s pace caused the visiting defence problems time and time again and his fellow striker Michael Hall, making his home debut, did well using his creativity to feed Swarbrick and the two wingers. Another home debutant, centre back Jack Duggan, looked solid and commanding alongside Sam Wilson and the young pair weathered the light Curzon storm very well.

A fast-paced opening to the game saw Rushton closed down quickly by away ‘keeper Hayden Buckley-Smith before crossing for Billy McKenna to send his diving header over. Rob Wilson venomously rifled a shot against the bar from twenty-five yards and Dom Ward blazed wide from a good position.

It was Ward who knocked down for Swarbrick to smash home six yards out for the striker’s eighth of the season. He could have had another seconds later but Kyle Vazunlem’s last-ditch challenge prevented him from doing so.

Swarbrick then nodded against the post from Michael Hall’s free kick just before half time, but he didn’t have to wait long after the restart to grab his second. Sam Wilson’s back post header from Hall’s corner was saved and Swarbrick bundled in, or rather poked the ball against the defender who was standing over the line and the linesman allowed the goal.

Michael Hall could have claimed his first City goal but Buckley-Smith gratefully held his header from Rob Henry’s cross. Rob Wilson’s through ball then found Rushton who fired straight at the away stopper and Swarbrick’s follow-up was blocked.

Swarbrick could have scored from substitute and yet another home debutant Alex Meaney’s cross (for the record Liam Wynn also made his first Giant Axe appearance later) but it went wide.

Swarbrick finally got his first hat trick for The Dolly Blues about twenty minutes into the half. Curzon Ashton gave the ball away, something that was a frequent event throughout the match, and Rushton’s through ball allowed Swarbrick to use his blistering pace and round the ‘keeper to slot home.

Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 7, Kenyon 7, Wilson, 7, Duggan 7, Ward 6 (Wynn 56), Rushton 8, Wilson 8 (Meaney, 73), Swarbrick 9, Hall 8, McKenna 8 (Rothwell, 56).

Subs not used: Nightingale, Worrall.

Curzon Ashton: Buckley-Smith, Leech, Halligan, Dos Santos, Vazunlem, Smith (Worsley, 68), Purcell, Blair, Kuba-Kuba, Norris, Martin.

Subs not used: Brown, Edghill, Young, Carnell.

Referee: Mike Salisbury.

Attendance: 108

Star man: Dave Swarbrick- his hat trick understandably earned him the man of the match award, but he could have had about ten goals in reality.

Ryan McMenamin