Stafford Rangers 1-1 Lancaster City

Rob Wilson. Picture: Tony North.
Rob Wilson. Picture: Tony North.
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Lancaster City looked to have earned themselves three points on the road at Stafford Rangers on Saturday, only for the home side to equalise in the fifth minute of injury time.

The visitors had the first real chance of the game when a freekick from just outside the area was curled wide of Jack Sims’ goal.

There was then a shout for a penalty by the home side when the ball bounced in the penalty area and the Stafford players an dfans claimed it hit the hand of Glenn Steel, only for the referee to wave away the protests.

The Dolly Blues created their first opportunity in the 20th minute when a free kick was crossed in from deep out on the right and fell to Brad Carsley, who controlled the ball well but his shot from 10 yards out clipped the top of the cross bar and went over.

Matty Blinkhorn went close soon after when he gathered the ball inside the area and turned excellently but he couldn’t hit the target, his shot going wide of the left hand post.

There was then another shout for a penalty by the home crowd when winger Theodore Bailey-Jones crossed from the right and Steel headed the ball into the air.

There was a mix up in the City defence as the ball bounced off a Dolly Blues defender but once again the referee ignored their protests.

Then, to make matters worse for Stafford, City were awarded a penalty in the 33rd minute when a lovely throughball sent Blinkhorn through on goal, but as he tried to take the ball around Rangers’ keeper Adam Sivitar, he was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Rob Wilson and he fired the ball into the net to give the Dolly Blues a 34th minute lead.

Sims was forced into a save down to his right early in the second half and despite the effort from 25 yards being well struck, the City stopper held onto the ball.

Sims was called into action again when Thomas Thorley managed to get his shot away from close range, which led to a goalmouth scramble and the ball eventually went out for a goalkick

Stafford kept the pressure on and an Andrew Haworth cross from the left was poked across the six yard box but nobody able to get on the end of it. The danger wasn’t over though as the ball was then crossed back in from the right, forcing Sims to come off his line and punch the ball away.

Haworth then went close again with another freekick from just outside the area but his right footed curling effort just went over the bar.

It wasn’t all one way traffic though as the Dolly Blues went close themselves when a corner was played in from the left, Stafford centre back Daniel Burns got his head to it but it fell straight to the feet of Tom Kilifin inside the area but he fired his shot over the bar.

City then went agonisingly close to making it 2-0 when substitute Ryan Winder played in a superb cross along the floor from the right and Kilifin got his outstreched leg to the ball, only for the keeper to somehow claw the ball off the line and away from danger.

The Dolly Blues were punished for not killing the game off in injury time when Stafford were awarded a freekick on the left hand edge of the penalty area, this time Thorley made no mistake, beautifully curling the ball into the far corner of the net, giving Sims absolutely no chance.

As soon as City took the restart the referee blew the full time whistle and the Dolly Blues had to settle for a point.