Lancaster City had the perfect opportunity to end their losing run with a long trip to the east coast to face strugglers Goole on Saturday.
The hosts struggles on and off the pitch, with just six points to their name and without enough players to fill their substitutes bench, provided City with a simple must-win game.
Like the east coast weather, City’s play was bright and calm but slowly dimmed towards the end of the game.
Darren Green, who had his best game in a City shirt, was instrumental in both first half goals and a constant threat throughout.
The striker should have opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game.
Played through one-on-one a combination of the bobbly surface and hesitation from the forward gave time for Goole ‘keeper Ryan Pugh to rush out and claim the ball just inside the box.
There was no hesitation from Green just two minutes later for City’s opener.
Following a scramble from a corner the ball fell to the feet of skipper Neil Marshall outside the left side of the box. The defender curled a great back-post cross to Green who made no mistake with an accurate header from a tight angle.
City’s second goal arrived on the half hour mark, Green’s well-placed free-kick from the right flank was flicked on by Danny Gregson’s deft header over a stranded Pugh and into the net.
Rory Winters, playing at right back in place of Ben Hudson, nearly added a third from a corner after volleying just over the bar shortly before half-time.
The restart drew an improved display from Goole, who restricted City to very little in the first 20 minutes without ever really challenging a solid Dolly Blues back-line.
The game sparked into life on the 70 minute mark with an early goal-of-the-season contender from Rob Wilson.
Wilson’s pace beat ‘keeper Pugh to a loose through ball and the midfielder showed great composure to calmly round the Goole stopper with two defenders rushing back to the line.
The midfielder’s silky footwork made light work of the desperate challenges with an open goal tap-in the reward for an incredible individual effort.
With seven minutes to go the hosts claimed a consolation goal with a speculative 35-yard free kick.
City stopper Danny McDonald will feel he should have done better with the well-struck but fairly central effort that found the net via the underside of the bar.
The game took another frustrating turn as Gavin Clark was shown a red card, the midfield man picking up the ball and half-heartedly throwing it at the back of Goole winger Louis Horne.
The referee showed no hesitation in giving Clark his marching orders and with it an impending three-match ban.
Whilst the Dolly Blues will be glad to get back to winning ways, the issue of discipline reared its ugly head once again.
A club that won three consecutive fair play awards now has it’s fourth red card of the season and without the deepest of squads lengthy and numerous suspensions will begin to take its toll sooner rather than later.
Lancaster City: McDonald 7, Winters 7, Marshall 7, Gregson 8, Elderton 7, Wilson 8, Stringfellow 7 (McKenna), Clark 6, Wainwright 7 (Rothwell), Green 8 (Bradley), Kilifin 7. Subs not used Subs: Naylor, Hudson
Star man: Darren Green - Great goal and assist instrumental to City’s win.