Lancaster City 1-1 Mickleover Sports

Ryan Winder in action against Mickleover Sports. Picture: Tony North
Ryan Winder in action against Mickleover Sports. Picture: Tony North

It was a game of very few chances at Giant Axe in front of the newly named Neil Marshall Legend Stand on Saturday.

With a howling wind down the pitch the match was on the scrappy side, locked in midfield with two similar set-ups clashing in a stalemate.

The visitors created the majority of the chances across the 90 minutes despite the domination in possession from the patched-up City side.

Missing strikers Oliver Wood and Hannu Tam, alongside Craig Carney’s continuing knee injury, the Dolly Blues were without integral parts of their attacking formation.

To make matters worse, ‘keeper Chris Cheetham injured himself in the warm-up, with substitute Josh Powell making his league debut for the Dolly Blues instead.

Tom Kilifin played a lone striker role in the match but found himself isolated and devoid of service for long periods of the game.

In the first half the hosts failed to register a meaningful attempt on goal, whilst the visitors looked far more likely to find the net.

Sports’ only real chance of the opening period fell on the half hour mark and was gift wrapped by the Dollies’ backline.

A loose pass across the back four was intercepted by Bradley Grayson and the former Doncaster Rovers striker hit a rasping shot which cannoned back off the post.

In the second half City had more of the possession but Mickleover were having far more joy in creating the chances.

Grayson saw a free-kick well tipped over the bar by Powell, whilst the offside flag chalked off Andy Dales’ back-post tap in.

Powell was on good shot-stopping form to once again deny Grayson after he was played in on goal by Dales from the left flank as the pressure mounted.

Finally on 67 minutes the deadlock was broken. With City struggling to clear the ball following a great save from Powell, Dales was in the right place on the edge of the box to volley a low shot across goal into the bottom left corner of the net.

The goal woke up Phil Brown’s side and from then to the final whistle it was a backs-to-the-wall job for Sports as Lancaster pressed and pressed.

The eventual and arguably deserved equaliser arrived just nine minutes from time.

Adam Sumner whipped a ball from the left wing into the classic corridor of uncertainty, travelling all the way to Ryan Winder unmarked at the back-post to slam home from all of two yards.

The closest the home side came to a winner was Paul Dugdale’s fierce 30 yard drive that flew just wide of the right hand post, but eventually the points were deservedly shared in this close encounter.

The Dolly Blues next travel to Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night before visiting to Hednesford Town on Saturday.

Lancaster City: Powell 8, Steel 7, Mercer 7, Clark 8, Dugdale 7, Winder 7, Akrigg 6, Wills 6, Sumner 6, C Bailey 6, Kilifin 6. Subs: Harries, Hudson, S Bailey, Mayers, Westwood

Star Man: Josh Powell - Excellent debut from City’s young stopper.