LANCASTER City bounced back in style on Tuesday night as an impressive second-half performance gave them the edge over table-topping Skelmersdale.
City made a number of changes after Saturday’s disappointing league defeat at Harrogate Railway and they advanced in the Challenge Cup thanks to a couple of strikes apiece for Zach Clark and Dave Swarbrick.
City manager Tony Hesketh was impressed with his players, saying: “Against a full strength Skelm team who were very good for the first half hour we put in a very pleasing performance and bounced back well.
“I thought we dominated the second-half, had more ideas than they did and deserved the win.”
In a topsy-turvy first half City twice took the lead only to see the predatory Matt Walwyn strike back.
Clark fired the Dolly Blues ahead on just seven minutes; Lee Dodgson flicked a long ball into the feet of debutant Tom Wood on the left-wing.
He showed a great burst of pace and a delightful cross to plant the ball at the instep of Clark.
On Wood, Hesketh said: “He gave a very good account of himself, he has a very good left foot and a lot of pace, and he will have some part to play over the course of the season.”
Walwyn’s first equaliser came just two minutes later and was a defensive switch-off reminiscent of Saturday as Paul Byrne was given space deep on the left to cross for Walwyn to convert a free header at the back post. The bright Clark, who acquitted himself well leading the line as a centre-forward, did all the hard work for his second.
He took a piercing through-ball from Michael Hall into his stride and rolled his marker with good strength and pace before advancing on the ’keeper to score.
Six minutes later, just before the break, Walwyn struck again.
This time he was in the right place at the right time to tap home a corner that wasn’t cleared. The City players were adamant that it should have been disallowed for offside.
As far as impact substitutes go, Danny Hattersley and Dave Swarbrick didn’t disappoint.
The pair combined to edge City into the lead on 72 minutes after Hattersley showed a great burst of pace to outstrip Rob McIntosh down the left flank and the full-back tumbled him over for a nailed-on penalty.
Swarbrick finished it with ease and he wasn’t done with scoring either. In the dying minutes, with Skelmersdale throwing the proverbial kitchen sink and their own goalkeeper at a corner, he picked the ball up in his own half, advanced a few yards and curled a perfectly placed shot into the empty net.
A tremendous win in the circumstances for the Dolly Blues, blotting out last Saturday’s horror show by beating a top-notch team and giving them fresh impetus going into Saturday’s FA cup showdown with FC United of Manchester
Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 6, Elderton 6, Gregson 7, Marshall 6, Wills 8, McKenna 7 (Swarbrick 58), Hall 7, Clark 8 (Rothwell 69), Dodgson 7 (Hattersley 62), Wood 8
Subs not used: Kenyon, Meaney
Referee: Bob Roberts
Starman: Tom Wood – Excellent debut, he possesses a tremendous left foot and put in some telling crosses.