LANCASTER City ended a difficult week with defeat at home to local rivals and fellow promotion chasers Chorley on Tuesday evening.
After defeat to Clithroe seven days before and the departures of star players Andrew Teague and Paul Jarvis, goals from Tom Ince and Adam Roscoe either side of half time gave the visitors a well-deserved 2-0 win.
Teague watched on from the stands as his new side controlled the game for long periods, with strikers John Cunliffe and Roscoe both coming close in the opening third of the game.
Gary Flitcroft’s side finally opened the scoring on 37 minutes.
Diminutive left winger Tom Ince picked up the ball just outisde the box and with the outisde of his left foot curled an unstoppable shot past Martin Fearon’s left hand and into the far corner of the net.
City were rocked, and nearly went further behind before the break.
Dale Whitham was twice put through on goal, first producing a tame shot that was easily saved by Fearon and then blazing his shot over the bar.
The home side would have hoped to strike back early in the second period but the game was as good as over when Chorley doubled their lead just 75 seconds after the restart.
A clumsly foul from Alex Kenyon from the kick–off earned the City left back a yellow card and gave the visitors a free kick in a promising position.
After City failed to clear, Roscoe, surrounded by defenders, was given time to take the ball down and poke the ball past Fearon’s right hand from ten yards out.
City, who worked hard but failed to create many clear–cut opportunities, never looked like coming back into the game.
They did have more of the play in the last half hour though, as they took a more direct approach following the introduction of towering forward Danny Hattersley with half an hour to go.
Their best chance came with 20 minutes left. Martin Fearon launched a free kick just inside the City half into the penalty area and eventually the ball fell to Hattersley who fired over from inside the six yard box with the goal at his mercy.
A goal at that point would have thrown City a lifeline they perhaps didn’t deserve, and although they continued to look a threat from set pieces it was Chorley who could have scored on the break had it not been for some last-ditch defending from Sam Wilson and Neil Marshall at the back.
The away side comfortably held on to maintain second place in the Evo-Stik First Division North one point ahead of AFC Fylde, who signed Paul Jarvis from City on Tuesday, with two games in hand.
The defeat leaves City eight points off the final play-off place held by Curzon Ashton, whom they visit tomorrow, Saturday, February 5.
Lancaster City: Fearon, Henry, Kenyon (Hattersley), S Wilson, Marshall, Roberts (Rothwell), Rushton (McKenna), Wilson, Swarbrick, Farrell, Nightingale
Subs not used: Gregson, Ward
Chorley: Rigby, Woodyat, Walker, Ross, Fitzgerald, Fairhurst, Whitham, Flitcroft (Dorney), Roscoe, Cunliffe (Houghton), Ince
Referee: John Corkhill
Man of the match: Neil Marshall – Took over the captaincy and was prepared to put his body on the line. Looks like the right man to lead City through what could be a difficult period.