LANCASTER CITY played out a hard-fought draw on Tuesday night as they again rested key players in the build-up to the President’s Cup final.
The goals all came in the last half hour as either side took the lead, before losing it again. First Radcliffe swept in front through Dave Sherlock before Mike Rushton headed City level.
Then it was the Dolly Blues’ turn as Rob Wilson put away a 72nd minute penalty before substitute Declan Fletcher struck back in style for the home side.
The main talking point of the first half left the referee advocating goal-line technology in the centre of the park after a fierce free-kick from Radcliffe captain Mark Jones struck the bar and seemed to bounce down over the line.
It was a tough call and neither the ref nor his assistant could give the goal.
The Dolly Blues had a couple of half-chances both involving Michael Hall.
First Hall beat Craig Flowers down the left; he played in Rob Wilson on the edge of the box who shot wide.
Then Hall exchanged passes with Alex Johnson inside the box and could only scuff a side-footed shot down to Nick Culkin’s left in the Radcliffe net.
City had the better of the territory and pressure in the first 45 without troubling Culkin enough, Danny Hattersley showed good feet to win a couple of dangerously positioned free-kicks but both were deflected over.
Radcliffe took the lead on 58 minutes after substitute Osebi Abadaki showed tremendous pace down the right to beat Sam Nightingale and cross for Sherlock to finish.
City hit back just three minutes later, further good work from Hattersley with the ball at his feet gave him space to cross for Rushton’s late run into the box, he finished with a mixture of head and shoulder.
It was Hattersley who won the penalty that put City ahead, again angling in from the left he got in-between two defenders and had his ankles clipped by Simon Pendlebury for a nailed on penalty, dispatched coolly by Rob Wilson who sent Culkin the wrong way.
The goal that earned the home side a point was worthy of drawing or winning any game, a well placed ball over the Dolly Blue back-four was ran onto by debutant Declan Fletcher who took a touch before unleashing a right-footed shot into the far corner.
Just one game to go now for the Dolly Blues, a home match against Prescot Cables on Saturday, before their cup final date with Belper Town on April 5.
Radcliffe Borough: Culkin, Pendlebury, Flowers, Sherlock, Connor, Manning, Hart (Abadaki 56), Jones, Wharton (Fletcher 68), Sampson, King (Connor 88)
Lancaster City: Rodgerson 6, Wilson S 7, Nightingale 6, Gregson 6, Duggan 6, Kenyon 7, Rushton 6 (McKenna 73), Wilson R 8, Hattersley 7 (Wynn 75), Johnson 6, Hall 6 (Swarbrick 73)
Subs not used: Henry, Marshall
Referee: J Hunt
STARMAN Rob Wilson - Some brilliant long balls and a well-taken penalty
*n Any supporters wishing to travel by coach to Tuesday’s President’s Cup Final should call into the Giant Axe office on Saturday afternoon when the Dolly Blues take on Prescott Cables. Coach tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for children.
* Lancaster University’s student radio station Bailrigg FM will be providing full commentary coverage of the cup final for those supporters who cannot attend the game.