Lady Luck completely deserted the Dolly Blues on Tuesday night as a raft of injuries saw a depleted squad play half their match against Marine with just ten men.
Three first half substitutions for injuries within the opening half hour set the tone for what was a night to forget for Phil Brown’s side.
Paul Jarvis, Charlie Bailey and Mamadou Djabi were all withdraw from action, whilst Steve Williams was unable to play the second half and Tom Kilifin was forced to play on with a badly injured knee in a game that seemed to go from bad to worse.
Despite being without a raft of players before kick off, the likes of Glen Steel, Ricky Mercer, Ben Hudson and Hannu Tam all unavailable, City started brightly in the opening stages.
They went close when Adam Sumner curled a free kick just over the bar, whilst a few shots from range found the target without troubling Martin Fearon in the Mariners’ goal.
Against the run of play somewhat, Marine took an early lead from a set piece.
A free kick was drilled low into the box and caused a scramble before the ball dropped to Adam Hughes to power home from 12 yards.
The run of injuries then created a disjointed game, but Lancaster were almost level late in the half.
Williams’ header was tipped onto the bar thanks to a classic acrobatic save from the former City stopper Fearon, as despite dominating most of the first half the Dolly Blues were unable to get on the scoresheet.
Some super defending then stopped Kilifin from drawing City level as the stirker collected Winder’s cross before his fierce shot was deflected just inches over the bar.
After the half time whistle oversaw Williams’ departure Phil Brown’s side were a man down and the hosts began to take control.
City’s backline, with Winder at full-back and Simon Wills in central defence, was as make-shift as they come but for the most-part defended valiantly against the odds.
The game as a contest, however, looked to be over when Danny Mitchley got his head on a right-flank cross at the far post just minutes after the restart to double the lead.
City to their credit never stopped running against an almost impossible task but Marine took advantage of the extra man and were patient with possession, whilst creating few additional chances as they looked happy to sit on their lead and Lancaster defended stubbornly.
The gloss was added to the scoreline as James Murray’s close range finish from another scramble eight minutes time made it three unanswered goals, and three points to the hosts, capping an extra-ordinary but miserable Merseyside adventure.