Gardner’s late strike seals promotion for Lancaster City Ladies

Lancaster City Ladies 2015-16. Back row from left, Miya Jackson, Georgia Duckett, Aimee Rostern, Georgia Wilson, Sherrilee Youren and Tasha Bacon. Middle row from left Emily Wilson, Becca Mellor, Lydia Gorst, Lucy Tyson and Emma Gardner. Front row from left, Kay Dockerty, Jess Weston, Kayleigh Young (capt ), Mel Woodend, Jenny Macdonald and Alison Capstick.
Lancaster City Ladies 2015-16. Back row from left, Miya Jackson, Georgia Duckett, Aimee Rostern, Georgia Wilson, Sherrilee Youren and Tasha Bacon. Middle row from left Emily Wilson, Becca Mellor, Lydia Gorst, Lucy Tyson and Emma Gardner. Front row from left, Kay Dockerty, Jess Weston, Kayleigh Young (capt ), Mel Woodend, Jenny Macdonald and Alison Capstick.

Emma Gardner scored a late winner as Lancaster City Ladies secured promotion with a 3-2 winner at St Josephs.

The win means the Dollies leapfrogged their hosts to the top of the table and ensured they will ply their trade in Division One of the Lancashire FA Women’s County League next season.

St Josephs, on the same number of points as Lancaster, need a point from their final game to deny City the title.

The Dollies started the stronger on Sunday and were in front just three minutes in.

Gardner sent a free-kick into the box with Kayleigh Young pulling the ball back to the edge of the area where Jenny MacDonald hit a first-time strike into the back of the net.

Two fine saves from emergency goalkeeper Miya Jackson kept the hosts at bay before Young doubled Lancaster’s lead two minutes before the break after good work from Aimee Rostern, Jess Weston and Nicole Dickinson.

The table-toppers came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half, Georgia Wilson and Rostern both clearing efforts off the line.

The goal eventually came just after the hour from a free-kick. 
Then it was backs to the wall and St Josephs were level five minutes from time as a cross to the back post was headed home.

Lancaster might have thought they’d blown their chance of sealing promotion but there was still more drama to come with 30 seconds to go.

Alison Capstick was brought down some 40 yards out with Gardner firing a fine strike over the ‘keeper and in to kick off wild celebrations.