LANCASTER City’s curse on the plastic at Woodley Sports continued last night thanks to a 23rd minute penalty from Nathan Neequaye and a second half lob from Danny Shannon which gave the home side all three points and condemned City to their first defeat of the season.
It could, however, have been so different. Alex Meaney could have given City the perfect start, but his 20-yard drive after just 40 seconds was well -saved low down to his right by Liam Higginbotham in the Woodley goal.
And just minutes later, Meaney caused panic in the Sports’ defence, his floated free kick from just in front of the half way line caught the wind, and Higginbotham was unable to catch the ball at the first attempt but redeemed himself by claiming the ball at the feet of Dave Swarbrick, just as the Lancaster man was about to have a shot at goal.
The combination of a swirling wind, and the uneven bounce from the pitch made for difficult playing conditions for both sides, but it was Woodley who came to terms with them quicker, and they duly took the lead in the 23rd minute.
Sam Edgerton-Wilson found himself one-on-one with Sports midfielder Brad Maylett who went down under the City defender’s challenge, leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the penalty spot.
Neequaye – Sports’ top scorer – coolly smashed the penalty down the centre of the goal, sending Martin Fearon the wrong way to break the deadlock and register his fourth goal of the season.
Once again, the Dolly Blues nearly hit back, with Meaney the architect of a flowing move. His shot took a slight deflection of a Woodley defender and with the ball looping towards the Sports goal Higginbotham threw himself to his left to preserve the home side’s lead at half-time.
Zach Clark’s introduction at the break for City in place of Edgerton-Wilson looked to give Tony Hesketh’s side a renewed attacking impetus, and the change almost paid dividends.
Clark managed to beat the Sports’ offside trap to race in to the penalty area. His first-time shot was well saved by the goalkeeper and with the rebound falling to Clark, he chose this time to lay the ball back to Swarbrick, who somehow managed to curl the ball over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
Sports soon doubled their lead with the Dolly Blues the architects of their own downfall. A long ball out of defence was miss headed by Simon Wills, the ball falling to Danny Shannon who had a clear run at the City goal, before lobbing the ball over the on-rushing Fearon and in to the bottom left hand corner to seal all three points for the home side.
Lancaster City: Fearon, Henry (capt), Elderton, Duggan, Gregson, Wills, Edgerton-Wilson (Clark), Rothwell, Hattersley (Dodgson), Meaney, Swarbrick (McKenna)
Subs not used: Hall, Johnson