Lancaster City's play-off hopes ended by Stalybridge Celtic
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For the Dolly Blues, their season has been characterised as much by dropped points against teams lower down the table as it has their sensational raids on the sides in the title fight.
South Shields, Buxton and Matlock have all felt the sharp edge of City’s sword this season but, looking forward to the next campaign, they will want to do more damage against the teams closer to them in the table.
Stalybridge proved to be another tough opponent as they battled to an impressive victory, one that has great significance for them too, as it assures their place in the league for another season.
A quiet first half yielded just one moment of notable action when Ben Anderson was judged to have fouled Douglas Nyaupembe on 14 minutes.
Stephen Brogan stepped up for Celtic and went right while Curtis Anderson went left, giving the hosts an early 1-0 lead.
Despite these setbacks, the Dollies came on strongly in the opening skirmishes of the second half and Stalybridge had to rely on the reflexes of their No.1, Grant Shenton, who acrobatically tipped Glenn Steel’s flicked header wide of the post.
This gave the hosts a platform from which they could extend their lead, and they did so twice, first through Justin Johnson, who was played through and neatly rounded Joe Blanchard before sticking the ball in the top right corner.
In added time, Johnson assisted the early penalty winner Nyaupembe, who prodded beyond Anderson from a narrow angle to send Bower Fold into relieved raptures.
Lancaster boss Mark Fell expressed his disappointment at the Dolly Blues’ performance but City will not have to wait long to rectify their mistakes as they host Bamber Bridge at Giant Axe on Easter Monday.
Elsewhere in the NPL Premier Division, Bamber Bridge were 3-2 winners at home to Morpeth.
Other results: NPL West – Clitheroe 2 Glossop North End 0, Kendal Town 0 1874 Northwich 0.