Steve Williams’ first-half header was the difference between two former Division One North foes in a classic non-league affair at Seel Park on Saturday as Lancaster City beat Mossley 1-0.
The FA Trophy match was played in truly atrocious conditions thanks to a combination of wind, constant rain, and a sloping pitch from start to finish.
Players from both sides struggled to stay upright throughout the tie with sliding tackles and mistakes a plenty in a game that the Dollies saw out, thanks largely to a superb display from ‘keeper Josh Powell.
The early stages were dominated by City who were having plenty of joy down the left flank.
Paul Dugdale and Scott Harries linked up well down the wing in the opening half hour although the end product never quite matched the build-ups.
The first chance fell to winger Harries after nine minutes but his looping effort landed on the roof of the net.
The early pressure eventually paid however after just 19 minutes thanks to Craig Carney who was superb in the middle of midfield on the day.
His persistence in the left corner to keep the ball was followed by an inch perfect cross for the marauding Steve Williams to head home at the back post for the lead.
Phil Brown’s side had chances to put the game to bed in the action that followed with Hannu Tam guilty of heading a gilt-edged chance straight at ‘keeper Ollie Martin from close range. Martin then produced the save of the match to stop Carney from doubling the lead in spectacular fashion.
Getting onto the end of Sam Bailey’s long ball, the midfielder hit a sweet goal-bound volley on the turn that was tipped just over the bar.
As the pitch increasingly began to cut up, the hosts grew into the game and should have been level on 39 minutes. Right winger Mason Duffy on the counter was played in behind the defence but his shot aimed for the far corner was palmed away by Powell.
The rebound fell to veteran striker Mike Fish but he too was thwarted by the City stopper with another great reaction save.
Powell began the second half with another fine save, this time to parry Elliot Harrison’s flicked header as City began to soak up pressure.
The best chance the visitors could muster in the second half was a long drive from Melle Meulensteen that was easily saved by Martin as the Dollies’ struggled to break down the hosts in the later period.
Mossley almost equalised with 15 minutes to go but for a superb goal line clearance from the excellent Ben Hudson.
The conditions played their part as what looked like a routine catch was spilled by Powell to the feet of striker Fish. The forward took a touch before hitting a shot from the centre of the box that looked destined to seal at least a replay but for a last-ditch block on the line from Hudson.
The Lillywhites threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Dollies’ defence but they stood strong, claimed the all important prize money, and booked their spot in the next round at home to Stratford Town.
Lancaster City: Powell 9, Hudson 9, Williams 8, Hibbert 7, Dugdale 8, S Bailey 8, Wills 8, Carney 8 (Akrigg 64), Harries 7 (Winder 75), Meulensteen 6, Tam 6 (Wood 55). Subs not used: Mercer, Kilifin
Man of the Match: Ben Hudson - Outstanding all game.