If there was any doubt that the Dolly Blues wouldn’t be able to hold their own in their new surroundings, they were erased with a hard fought 2-1 victory at promotion chasing Buxton on Saturday.
With the added achievement of overturning an early goal for the hosts to seal a comeback victory, the first victory for Phil Brown’s side in the Evo-Stik Premier Division felt like business as usual for the Division One North champions.
In a game that was few on chances with defences on top, the visitors were understandably cautious and nervy in the opening stages whilst the Bucks came flying out the traps.
It took just four minutes to open the scoring when forward Alistair Taylor ran at the Dollies’ defence before laying the ball off for Niall Doran to hit a powerful drive low into the bottom right corner.
The home side enjoyed most of the possession and territory in the opening half and in the early stages it looked as though it may be a long game for their newly promoted opponents.
City grew into the contest though, levelling ten minutes before the interval thanks to a slice of good fortune.
As a Lancaster corner was cleared, the ball fell to Sam Bailey 25 yards from goal – with a quick touch to bring it down the midfielder hit a swerving shot that flew straight through keeper Jan Budtz’s gloves.
The second half was an almost complete reversal of the first. With the wind and gentle slope on the pitch on their side the Dolly Blues took the game to the Bucks, with winger Scott Harries putting in a particularly impressive display on the right flank.
Despite dominating the half, chances were next to non-existent. Billy Akrigg’s header from range was easily saved whilst Ryan Winder had a tame shot saved as the Dollies, playing with a sole striker, looked a little blunt up front.
It took a moment of real quality from Winder to set up the winner that on the balance of play was completely deserved.
On the counter attack the midfielder took the ball down halfway inside his own half, turned, and ran at the retreating Buxton backline.
Winder beat his man and carried the ball all the way to the box before squaring for striker Oliver Wood to calmly take a touch before hitting a deflected strike into the left corner of the net.
There was almost time for an injury time goal for Lancaster as substitute Tom Kilifin was hacked down with just the keeper to beat, but referee Rob Eley pointed for a corner, despite City’s claims that there was no contact on the ball.
LancasterCity: Cheetham 7, Steel 8, Mercer 8, Clark 8, Dugdale 7, Bailey 8, Akrigg 7, Winder 8, Harries 8, Sumner 7, Wood 7
Man of the Match: Scott Harries – Unplayable at times and a real threat in the second half.
*City host Warrington on Tuesday night and on Saturday, the new Neil Marshall Stand will be unveiled before they take on Mickleover Sports.