Cammell Laird 1-0 Lancaster City

Lancaster City managers Neil Wainwright (left) and Michael Stringfellow.
Lancaster City managers Neil Wainwright (left) and Michael Stringfellow.

LANCASTER City came out of this pre-Halloween clash having not frightened the Cammell Laird defence nor the teams around them in the table nearly as much as they would have liked.

An impressive Jamie Henders strike on 65 minutes was enough to send the Dolly Blues, now without a win in four games, back to Giant Axe empty-handed.

The first half was quite promising on Lancaster’s part with a lot of possession, sturdy defence and the occasional half-chance created, with Darren Green and Gavin Clark firing over from distance early on.

The biggest threat Laird posed was via colossal striker Aaron Bowen, but the visitors defended the flick-ons well with Ben Hudson standing out, cutting out danger where it was present and distributing well.

City’s new ‘keeper Richard Whiteside was only tested once in the first period when he got down well to thwart Henders.

Whiteside, however, could have done nothing to keep out a John Couch header from three yards, which somehow flew over the bar with the goal gaping after Bowen had squared for him.

At the other end, Green worked himself some space for a curling shot which was saved by Kevin Atherton.

The latter then came out of his goal to deny the former Bamber Bridge man when he was through on goal and from the subsequent scramble Green should have tapped Billy McKenna’s misdirected attempt into an empty net, instead stopping the ball and giving the hosts the chance to earn a goal kick.

Lancaster lacked the same threat going forward after the break and it was from one of their few openings on 65 minutes that they went behind.

With City men committed in attack, Henders was given time and space to float a curling shot over the helpless Whiteside and in off the bar.

Shortly after it was nearly two, Whiteside getting a strong hand to a rasping Dan O’Brien drive following a mazy run, but then a mix up in the City defence allowed Aaron Bowen to shoot into a seemingly open goal, only for Ryan Elderton to pull off a brilliant goal-line clearance.

Dolly Blues joint boss Neil Wainwright entered the fray and fashioned a couple of half chances after Dave Swarbrick blazed a 25-yard free kick high and wide, which was probably one of Lancaster’s best opportunities to pull a goal back.

Firstly Wainwright swung in a lovely cross which found its way to fellow substitute Luke Bradley but he didn’t have much time to react.

The former Morecambe man also had a shot from a corner that wasn’t dealt with and Billy McKenna couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to have a strike at goal.

Cammell Laird: K. Atherton, Potter, Grogan, O’Brien, L. Atherton, Couch (Butler), Bowen, Henders (Tagoe), Holt (Richards). Subs not used: Jones.

Lancaster City: Whiteside 7, Hudson 8, Elderton 6, Gregson 6, Marshall 6, Clark 6, Swarbrick 6, Rothwell 6, Kilifin 6 (Wainwright), Green 7 (Bradley), McKenna 6. Subs not used: Stringfellow, Winder, McDonald.