Lancaster City 0-0 Darlington 1883

Ryan Winder was Lancaster City's star man against Darlington.
Ryan Winder was Lancaster City's star man against Darlington.

Two of the league’s promotion hopefuls played out a goalless draw at Giant Axe on Saturday.

The Dolly Blues raised their game in front of a bumper crowd of 594 but were once again left ruing missed chances that could have nicked them all three points.

For the once illustrious visitors the game was soured by an incident after the final whistle where their young midfielder Curtis Edwards was allegedly spat at by one of his own supporters.

City started the brighter but could not turn their early possession into chances; they came up against a decent looking defence who more than handled their aerial attacks.

When City got the ball down and passed they looked more of a threat, but they were slightly guilty of overplaying things on the edge of the box and picking the wrong pass.

Garry Hunter had a half chance spilled by ‘keeper Peter Jameson for a corner, that aside the chances were few and far between.

The former Barrow midfielder was dominant in the middle of the park, forcing errors and using the ball well, he also had a volley wide in the second 45 before being forced off with an injury after a tough 50-50 tackle.

Former Durham City danger man Stephen Thompson looked to be the visitor’s main threat but after a bright first half with one very good chance inside the box which he blazed over the tricky striker was limited to shots from range and he faded badly in the second 45.

Back out on the left wing Tom Kilifin was City’s main outlet and while he had the beating of his full-back on occasion he could not provide a telling cross.

He did force numerous corners and indeed throughout the game City notched up numerous set-pieces but could not make them tell against a tall, physical defence.

Ryan Winder was once again the Dolly Blue’s brightest spark, rarely losing the ball he also hugged his touchline well providing a dangerous option that unfortunately City did not exploit.

The second 45 provided more in the way of chances but City lacked a killer touch.

Simon Wearing was set free into the box twice by lovely passes from first substitute Rob Walker and then Winder but could only shoot straight at Jameson in between the Darlington posts.

Winder had a good opportunity himself after Mark Jackson won a rare header from Mike Hale’s clearance, he ran free but his shot was lacking pace and direction.

Hale in the City net had very little to do aside from spraying long balls forward, City got some success from this when they were aimed out to Kilifin’s wing but on the whole it was easy fare for the visitors.

This was a half that could not flow as the action got scrappy and niggly and the referee followed suit; after a first half of leniency the official let very little go in the second.

He added a slight dose of controversy to the closing stages after Thompson sprang into life down the right catching Ryan Elderton cold, the pair came together and Thompson ran in on goal, the linesman flagged for a foul although there seemed to be very little in it.

The visiting striker had made a mess of his effort regardless.

This was a close run affair, neither side can really claim dominance of it yet on chances alone the Dolly Blues may well feel aggrieved to not come away victorious.

Lancaster City: Hale 6, Wills 7, Elderton 6, Clark 6, Marshall 6, Mahoney 6, Winder 8, Hunter 8 (Walker 63), Kilifin 7, Jackson 6, Wearing 6 (Donnelly 81)

Subs not used: Akrigg, Macdonald, Henry

Darlington 1883: Jameson, Robinson J, Hunter, White, Galbraith, Moore (Johnson 68), Scott, Edwards, Thompson, Dowson (Davis 84)

Subs not used: Bell, Mitchell, Robinson P

Referee Brian McGill

Attendance 594

Starman: Ryan Winder - In a great run of form, at the fore of most City attacks