Lancaster City 1-1 Stafford Rangers

Lancaster City's Craig Carney. Picture: Tony North.
Lancaster City's Craig Carney. Picture: Tony North.

A last minute penalty by Robbie Thompson-Brown denied Lancaster City all three points on Saturday, as Stafford Rangers claimed a share of the spoils at the Gianr Axe.

Craig Carney had given the Dolly Blues the lead in the 52nd minute and it seemed as though City were destined to hang on for the win until Simon Wills brought down Osebi Abadaki in the penalty area, and Thompson-Brown tucked away the spotkick.

There were few chances created for either side in the first half, with Thompson-Brown going closest for the visitors when he fired his effort over the bar.

City did have a goal disallowed 15 minutes into the game when Connor Simpson was wrongly flagged for offside after receiving the ball directly from a throw-in.

The Dolly Blues then had two good chances just after the half hour mark when two threatening crosses were well defended by Jordaan Brown and then Kieran Morris.

Just before half time Stafford came close to taking the lead when Levi Reid had a shot blocked, and then Kieren Westwood saw his shot fly over the bar after the initial shot rebounded off the post.

City didn’t have a shot on target in the first half but they made a fast start to the second period when Carney brought a superb save out of Rangers’ keeper Adam Whitehouse, and from the resultant corner Ricky Mercer was somehow denied by Whitehouse after Glenn Steel had headed the ball on.

However, seven minutes into the second half Carney did open the scoring for the Dolly Blues when Sam Bailey broke down the right, played in Carney who fired the ball home into the corner to make it 1-0. Josh Gregory very nearly doubled City’s advantage soon after but his shot went wide before Charlie Bailey did similar.

Connor Simpson then missed an open goal, although his blushes were spared by the assistant’s offside flag.

Izak Reid volleyed over the bar for Stafford and in the 85th minute Josh Craddockheaded against the woodwork as the visitors appeared to have blown their chance of salvaging a point.

However, Abadaki was brought down by Wills in the closing stages and Stafford Rangers were able to claim a dramatic draw, just as Lancaster City had in the reverse fixture when they scored twice in injury time to come from 2-0 down to level the scores.