LANCASTER CITY finally hit something approaching their best form, on paper at least, as they hammered play-off rivals Farsley FC at Giant Axe.
The pitch at the Axe was never going to allow the Dolly Blues to turn on their free-flowing, counter-attacking style to full throttle but they were at a high enough gear to do the double over their Yorkshire rivals.
Tellingly, City’s luck seemed to take a turn for the better – deflections went their way, clearances dropped to them, penalties were missed and they got their decisions. All in all it was a fruitful day.
Zach Clark fired the home side into the lead on 19 minutes after Martin Fearon’s free-kick found Danny Hattersley in space, whose first touch brought it down, his second bobbled out to Clark whose shot looped off Ryan Serrant and into the net.
It was end-to-end stuff, box to box but both ’keepers’ actions were limited to picking the ball out of the net and kicking clear.
Fortunately for City, Fearon only had to perform the former task the once after Simeon Bambrook’s sweetly struck volley bounced past him into his left-hand corner.
All square seemed fair at the break. City had had the better chances, the best of which saw centre-half Danny Gregson neatly slide the ball into the box for Alex Kenyon to curl just over the bar – so that the Dolly Blues edged in front just before the break may have proved the game changer.
There was an element of luck to the goal as Hatterlsey’s header from an Alex Meaney corner was cleared off the line straight to Kenyon in the six-yard box who bundled the ball over the line.
There was no luck about City’s delivery from wide throughout, Meaney hit several dangerous free-kicks and his beautifully weighted ball across the box just prior to City’s second was crying out for a more convincing lunge from Hattersley.
As it was, City’s top scorer was not at the races, struggling to get to the pace of the game and not at his game-changing best.
Cue Meaney to look just like a game-changer. His quick feet and desire to shoot from the edge of the box was a constant threat, forcing Farsley to defend very narrowly and on another day he could have grabbed a goal.
Former City striker Ben Jones missed a golden chance to level matters just moments after the break. He stepped up from twelve yards to fire wide after Jack Duggan was adjudged to have toppled Gareth Grant inside the box.
In similar fashion some twenty minutes later City winger Clark was bundled over in the box, both men may have gone down easily, it would perhaps be fair to say that it was two penalties won rather than conceded.
Lee Dodgson showed Jones how to do it, sending Farsley stopper Tom Morgan the wrong way to gain that sought after two-goal cushion and effectively seal the win on 70 minutes.
Without captain Neil Marshall – left on the bench as something of a punishment for his sending off at Ossett Town – the Dolly Blues defended adroitly against some persistent Farsley pressure.
They finished matters doing what they do best, forced back into their box they recovered the ball and whipped forward down the left through substitute Tom Wood.
The young winger did well to keep the ball at pace and showed great composure to cross for Dave Swarbrick, who finished emphatically into the ’keeper’s top right corner.
A terrific defensive display, four goals and more importantly three points; if the Dolly Blues are able to turn that into a run of good form then the play-off push is more than on.
Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 7, Elderton 8 (Wood 74), Gregson 7, Kenyon 8, Clark 7 (Marshall 88), Wills 7, Hattersley 6, Dodgson 7 (Swarbrick 85), Meaney 8
Subs not used: Egerton-Wilson
Farsley FC: Morgan, Nicholson, Serrant, Williams (Watson 84), Jackson, Milnes, Stead (Muller 80), Bambrook, Jones, Grant, Krief
Subs not used: Radcliffe, Pecora
Referee: Gary Hilton
Starman: Alex Meaney – Just edged his namesake Kenyon, showed great ability and created chances.