LANCASTER CITY’S dismal run of away defeats continued on the banks of the Mersey on Tuesday night as the Dolly Blues turned in a performance against Cammell Laird which can best be described as dire.
From the kick-off, Laird bombarded Martin Fearon’s goal, and the City keeper was forced to punch clear a free kick by Jordan Evason before Tom McGill fired wide.
At the other end, a header by Danny Hattersley released Billy McKenna, whose run was thwarted by home keeper Phil Palethorpe.
When Lancaster settled to playing a passing game on the floor, they carried a threat, but such moments were rare, and despite a Dave Swarbrick shot which Palethorpe dealt with comfortably with the help of a deflection, the home side had the better of the opening half.
City’s vocal travelling support were looking forward to an improvement after the interval, but once again the Dolly Blues were sucked into the Laird style of play, and in spite of a couple of neat moves when Dom Ward had a shot saved by Palethorpe’s legs, and the keeper dropped a header by Hattersley, it was no real surprise when the home side took the lead after 57 minutes.
Hattersley seemed slow to move to a loose ball in midfield, and Laird left back Lee Hammond was able to advance and fire in a long-range shot, which appeared to deceive Fearon in the flight, and ended up in the net.
City were stung into retaliation, and for a time re-discovered their passing game.
Dave Swarbrick was particularly influential, and in the 67th minute his mazy run into the box was halted at the expense of a penalty which he himself converted with aplomb.
A driving run by Rob Henry and a neat interchange of passes with Dom Ward came to nothing, and Laird’s Marc Stevens was cautioned for a crude challenge on Adam Farrell, but City reverted to type, and eight minutes from time, an offence by Neil Marshall in the area enabled Danny Andrews to settle the match from the penalty spot.
For the moment, City appear to have lost their flair. They need to re-discover it quickly, or the play-offs will become an unattainable target.
Cammell Laird: Palethorpe, Evason, (Pollard 53), Hammond, Clampitt, Adamson, Atherton, Andrews, Henders (Holmes 90), McGill, Stevens, Wilson (Mason 82).
Lancaster City: Fearon (5), Henry (6), Kenyon(5),(Nightingale 82), Teague (7), Marshall (6), Ward ( 5), McKenna (5) (Johnson 58), Farrell (6), Hattersley (6) (R. Wilson 82), Swarbrick (7), Jarvis (6).
Referee: Mr. O. Yates
Star man: Andrew Teague, who was as determined as ever, but was frequently frustrated by the failures of team-mates.