Lancaster City 4-1 Harrogate Railway Athletic

TWO FIRST half moments of magic from Max Rothwell helped Lancaster City to their first league points since January 15 against Harrogate Railway on Saturday.

Rothwell’s first half brace and second half goals from Alex Kenyon and Rob Wilson masked a somewhat ragged performance from the Dolly Blues. A 76th minute consolation from Steve Palfrey gave the visitors a deserved notch on the score-line.

The visitors’ big, lumbering back four struggled against the pace of Michael Hall and Dave Swarbrick in particular shone alongside the superb Rothwell.

After flapping a looping volley from Hall onto the bar Harrogate ‘keeper Craig Parry inadvertently triggered Rothwell’s magic with a poor goal kick that landed at his feet.

He stopped it dead with a deft touch that took him past one midfielder; he drove forward beating another and surged towards the box.

Danny Hattersley had found space on the right and Rothwell fed him the ball and carried on his run.

A first time cross from Hattersley was knocked back into his path and he swept it into the bottom corner.

His second was just as good if very different. Concerted pressure from City led to Hall taking a pot-shot from the edge of the box, it squirted across to Rothwell who struck it first time, sweetly with the side of the foot and well placed into the bottom corner.

There were more than a few warning strikes for City though when a series of free-headers for centre-backs Wayne Harratt and Nigel Danby missed the target, while Hattersley and Rob Henry were given a torrid afternoon down the right.

Hattersley broke free for City on three separate occasions in the second-half but his decision making and finishing deserted him, while Billy McKenna beat all and sundry for pace but could not find a killer touch.

The victory was all but sealed on 73 minutes when Alex Kenyon stooped to head in a cross from Hall after a corner was not cleared.

Swarbrick very nearly challenged Rothwell for goal of the game with a curling effort from wide on the left, the striker wheeled away to celebrate as he whipped a shot across the ‘keeper but it agonisingly struck the post.

The fourth was a neat finish from yet another rapier-like counter as Swarbrick picked out Rob Wilson with a well-timed curled ball and the midfielder finished well with his left foot.

Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 5 (Wilson S 45 6), Kenyon 6 (Nightingale 78), Duggan 5, Marshall 5, Wynn 5(Wilson R 45 6), Hattersley 6, Rothwell 9, Swarbrick 8, Hall 8, McKenna 7

Subs not used: Johnson, Rushton

Starman Max Rothwell Two stunning strikes made better by their contrasting natures

Referee: Craig Buxton

Attendance: 155