Missed chances were the story of the day at Bracken Moor as Lancaster City were dumped out of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 defeat to Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Phil Brown’s side were made to pay for not putting the game to bed by a late second half sucker punch from Joe Lumsden, who had already capitalised on a defensive error to cancel out Billy Akrigg’s opener.
The Dolly Blues started the game brightly on Jamie Vardy’s former stomping ground and took just three minutes to get on the scoresheet.
Jordan Connerton was played through on goal but saw his initial shot blocked, the ball fell to the feet of Akrigg on the edge of the box who made no mistake in finding the back of the net to give the visitors the early lead.
Billy McKenna went close to adding a second for City with a drive from the left side of the penalty but his well-struck shot was tipped around the post by the on-form David Reay in the Steels’ goal.
Mike Hale had to be alert to make a fine save as his own as Lumsden set an early marker after finding his way behind the City backline, a warning shot that wasn’t heeded.
On 22 minutes the hosts were level in disappointing fashion for the Dollies.
A long hopeful ball over the top of the defence could and should have been cleared by either Josh Westwood or Ricky Mercer, but a miscommunication allowed Lumsden to steal the ball. Racing in on goal the striker got a slice of luck as his shot parried off Hale and into the back of the net.
The second half was almost entirely one-way traffic with Lancaster pressing high and attacking in numbers.
City were in particular having joy down the right-hand side as Jacob Gregory bullied the Steels’ backline and created a great chance early in the half playing in Connerton, only for the striker to see his shot tipped around the post by Reay.
It was Gregory who had the golden chance to wrap up the game on the hour mark but after being played in on goal with just the keeper beat the winger elected to hit hard and low and Reay was equal to the effort when a chipped effort may have seen City through to the next round.
Connerton saw a number of well-struck efforts matched by Reay as the Steels’ stopper kept his side in the game and allowed them to take victory with their one real chance of the half on 83 minutes.
Weaving his way past some less than brilliant defending by the right hand side corner flag Lumsden took the ball towards goal, firing a fierce shot past Hale at the near post to seal the game.
Lancaster huffed and puffed but couldn’t find the equaliser as they exited the trophy.
Brown’s side return to league action at Clitheroe on Tuesday night.
Lancaster City: Hale 6, Henry 7, Mercer 6, Westwood 6, Clark 6, Gregory 7, Akrigg 7, Wills 7, Sumner 7, Connerton 8, McKenna 7.
Star Man: Jordan Connerton - A constant goal threat, unlucky not to score at least one.