Lancaster City 1-0 Radcliffe Borough

Lancaster City v Radcliffe Borough'City keeper Martin Fearon saves a first half penalty.
Lancaster City v Radcliffe Borough'City keeper Martin Fearon saves a first half penalty.

A MOMENT OF MAGIC from Alex Meaney and some last gasp heroics between the sticks from Martin Fearon earned Lancaster City all three points on Saturday.

Fearon saved two penalties, one a terrific 89th minute stop, to keep a clean sheet and maintain his side’s somewhat faltering play-off push.

This was after the trickery, strength and pace of young midfielder Meaney had crafted an opportunity for Danny Hattersley to score his 22nd goal of the season. The winner in a tight contest.

Fearon’s first showdown from 12 yards came in the first-half and from his own error as he was too slow off the line closing down Declan Fletcher and he sent the striker tumbling.

Ben Wharton stepped up to take the penalty and scuffed an effort to Fearon’s right which he comfortably saved.

Radcliffe, fielding former Barrow manager Darren Sheridan in midfield, were difficult to break down and while City were never really threatened they didn’t do enough with their possession and territory advantage to take the lead in a half low on chances and action.

Hattersley did have one early chance after the ball pinballed around the box but he leaped too early to meet a cross, the ball got too high on him and he headed over the bar.

Rhys Turner started on the right for the Dolly Blues and the young winger showed promise running at the defence, on one particular occasion he drove towards the edge of the box and perhaps should have shot, something that will come with confidence and experience.

Another young star stole the show as Meaney again proved to be the game changer.

His trickery is without question yet on Saturday he also put in a decent defensive shift in a second half when City had their backs to the wall.

He had a great tussle with the experienced Sheridan and was not left wanting.

He showed his class on the hour mark, picking up the ball tight to the line he beat Lee Woodyat with a flash of skill and a burst of pace before pulling the ball back for Turner.

He side-footed the ball goal-wards where Hattersley had timed a run with a true striker’s instinct, the ball barrelled off his hip into the back of the net.

The visitors had a right to feel hard done by as they were largely in control of another flat half of football yet they lacked anything like the tools to break down a stern City defence and when they finally did on 89 minutes they came unstuck.

With Fearon beaten Mark Jones looked certain to score as he hooked the ball towards the goal, yet he didn’t count for the ‘keeping skills of Jack Duggan.

The on-loan centre-back leaped up and tipped the ball over the line, deservedly earning a red card in the process and leaving matters to be settled from the spot.

Adam Kay was chosen to do what his colleague could not, however Fearon dived the right way and beat away his well struck effort to dramatically earn his side the victory.

The Dolly Blues now face a trip to second bottom Wakefield on Saturday where they must buck their trend of losing on the road to keep up their play-off push.

Lancaster City: Fearon 8, Henry 6, Elderton 6, Duggan 6 (red card 89), Gregson 6, Kenyon 6, Turner 7 (Wood 72), Wills 5, Hattersley 6, Swabrick 7 (Clark 70), Meaney 8. Subs not used: Dodgson, Egerton-Wilson, Rothwell

Radcliffe Borough: Campbell, Woodyat, Tickle, Hardaker (King 67), Connor, Mullineux, Kay, Jones, Wharton, Fletcher, Sheridan. Subs not used: Chadwick Bennet

Attendance: 232

Referee: Kevin Mulraine

Starman: Martin Fearon – His late penalty save was brilliant and earned City the points