AN eighth minute penalty and red card cost Lancaster City dearly as they crashed to defeat away at Ossett Town.
An early penalty that preceded a controversial red card for City skipper Neil Marshall made the Dolly Blues’ already difficult task of winning in horrible conditions a whole lot trickier.
Patrick McGuire’s penalty and Neil Towler’s goal five minutes into the second period were too much for City, despite pulling a goal back in the last minute of injury time which was too little and far too late.
The referee gave the penalty after five minutes and it took until the seventh to take because the ball refused to stay on the spot due to the howling Yorkshire wind.
The wind, along with the very poor state of the pitch, meant that neither City’s usual passing game nor attempts to pump the ball in the box were very successful.
A minute later, following a foul on Danny Hattersley and no free kick given for the lack of advantage, the Lancaster players’ anger resulted in the referee spotting two players at loggerheads and Marshall’s involvement in the mere handbags was deemed as violent conduct and he gave the defender his marching orders, much to City’s disbelief.
Alex Kenyon did well filling in alongside Jack Duggan in the centre of defence, but it was the attacking department that now required some creativity.
Unfortunately, despite the referee’s bad display, City weren’t at their best going forward.
The best chance Lancaster had fell to Zach Clark, who when through on goal squared for Lee Dodgson, but didn’t put enough on the ball and the covering Town full back did well to clear.
Ossett hardly threatened despite their extra man and Zach Clark’s powerful shot was saved at the other end in the dying moments of the first half.
Into the second period, another poor officiating decision awarded Lancaster a free kick on the halfway line when they were through on goal and no advantage played.
Ossett responded by going two up when Patrick McGuire’s cross eventually fell to the grateful Neil Towler, who made no mistake from six yards out.
Danny Hattersley failed to get proper connection to a header from Ryan Elderton’s corner, whilst Lancaster had the ever consistent full back to thank for keeping them in the game by clearing off the line in a scramble at the other end.
Late in the second half Alex Kenyon chipped the ball over the defence for substitute Joe Bunney, but the young striker had his shot saved before Duggan almost connected with an Alex Meaney free kick and poked a volley straight at the ’keeper.
The Dolly Blues got their consolation right at the end, as Zach Clark did well near the by-line and fizzed the ball across goal for Joe Bunney to claim his first strike since a double against Bamber Bridge in November.
It wasn’t enough and Lancaster couldn’t continue their recent mini-revival.
Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 6, Elderton (Bunney 77), Duggan 6 (booked), Marshall 6 (sent off), Kenyon 7, Clark 7, Wills 6, Swarbrick 7 (Gregson, 68), Hattersley 7, Dodgson 6 (Meaney 77).
Subs not used: Egerton-Wilson, Wood.