Lancaster City made it two wins from two on Tuesday night at Hednesford Town, despite having Craig Stanley sent off in the second half.
Rob Wilson’s 27th minute freekick was enough to earn the Dolly Blues a much-needed three points, but they had to dig deep as the home team applied the pressure late on as they went in search of an equaliser.
Matty Blinkhorn had the first chance of the game but his shot from inside the penalty was blocked by Hednesford captain Stefan Galinski and the danger was cleared.
The home side were gifted their first opportunity when Ben Hudson miscontrolled the ball just inside his own half and was robbed of possession by Dan Cockerline, but the striker’s shot from 40 yards went well wide of the target.
Hednesford did go close to opening the scoring though when Dan Sweeney gathered the ball out wide on the left, he cut inside, beating full back Lewis Fensome, and whipped the ball in towards the far post but fortunately for City it curled inches wide of Jack Sims’ left hand post.
Hednesford went close again when a freekick was curled into the box by Joe Fitzpatrick and after taking a deflection, Sims was forced to make a diving save to his left to push the ball away.
The home side controlled the opening exchanges but Tom Kilifin had City’s first real chance of the game when he outjumped his marker from a deep Ryan Winder cross, but his header went over the bar.
Hednesford had another chance from a freekick but Fitzpatrick this time curled his effort wide of the near post and the ball went out for a goalkick without troubling Sims.The Dolly Blues then opened the scoring on 27 minutes when Blinkhorn was brought down just outside the penalty area on the left hand side.
Wilson stepped up and curled the ball into the far corner, leaving Sheridon Martinez in the Hednesford goal with no chance. Kilifin nearly doubled the Dolly Blues’ lead when Paul Dugdale whipped in a freekick from the right and Kilifin got ahead of his marker to find himself in space in the box, but his header went wide of the keeper’s left hand post and out for a goalkick.
City’s hearts were in their mouths before half time though when a cross from the left by Nathan Fox was partially cleared to the edge of the penalty area.
It fell to Mike Howard who struck the ball powerfully but his shot went inches wide, although the offside flag had already gone up anyway as Lancaster went into the half time break a goal to the good.
Hednesford should have scored early in the second half when substitute Lewis Archer broke through down the right and played the ball across goal for what seemed like a tap in at the far post for Sweeney, but he stumbled and the ball was put out for a goalkick.
Lancaster were then reduced to10 men when Hudson misjudged a bouncing ball, Sweeney raced clear but was brought down by last man Craig Stanley, who was shown a straight red card.
The resulting freekick hit the wall and the danger was cleared, while at the other end there was a chance for City as Kilifin broke the offside trap down the left but Winder was unable to control from the cross and it fell to Martinez in the Hednesford goal.
The hosts came close to equalising when Howard crossed from the right but the header was straight at Sims from 15 yards out close to the penalty spot.
Sweeney then went on a mazy run and put in a cross along the ground to set up Archer but he failed to hit the target from close range.
Charley Edge tried his luck from distance but his left footed effort from 35 yards bounced harmlessly to Sims in the City goal.
The home side were starting to crank up the pressure on the Dolly Blues, and they went close again when Edge’s dangerous cross from the right was defended well by Hudson, who cleared for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Sweeney headed wide at the far post as the hosts began to look frustrated.
However, in the last minute Galinski thought he had equalised with a towering header from six yards out but it was well saved by Sims, who was able to hold on to the ball.
With four minutes added on, Hednesford threw everyone forward in the search for their equaliser and they came close when the ball was played long and Edge controlled it, turned and shot but his effort went wide and City held on to earn a hard fought victory.