THE DOLLY BLUES snapped back to reality on Tuesday night with a defeat to forget away at AFC Fylde.
Leaving Saturday’s heroics behind them City took their eye off the ball and shipped four goals, despite flying into an early lead through Billy McKenna.
The flying winger cut inside from the right with just one minute 40 seconds on the clock and struck a right-footed shot which took a deflection on its way into the bottom corner.
Fylde fielded five former City players in their starting eleven and at the heart of it was former captain Michael Stringfellow who was imperious at the back.
Inevitably Paul Jarvis – such a key attacking orchestrator for the Dolly Blues before signing for Fylde – had a hand in the equaliser as his in-swinging corner was missed by Martin Fearon and met by the head of Tom Cahill at the back post.
City created little throughout, playing relatively well up to the box before falling flat. There was one half-chance as Rob Wilson advanced and made himself space to shoot, his aim was off and it was saved comfortably by Lewis Edge in the Fylde net.
It was a misjudgement from Sam Nightingale at left-back that let Cahill in for his second, which he took well, thumping a shot into the far corner.
It was encouraging to see the Dolly Blue’s enthusiasm for the fight continually taking the game to their promotion chasing opponents but not quite breaking through.
Just three minutes later and Cahill’s hat-trick was complete and again it came from a corner as this time he got in front of the defence to head home.
After Saturday’s heavy physical bombardment from Chester the Dolly Blue defence was undone by a slippery customer in Cahill. There were a few positives along with the all-round sense of enthusiasm in the squad, Sam Gregson played well at centre-half and Billy McKenna added a few touches of guile to his pace to beat his full-back time and again.
Alex Kenyon came close late on with a good run to meet a corner with his head, it went over the bar and his frustration was palpable. He yet again excelled in the middle and it will be interesting to see Tony Hesketh’s team selection when Adam Farrell gets fit.
There were again changes to the Dolly Blues’ starting eleven, the ability to make changes and tough competition for places will be a bonus for Hesketh and his assistant Phil Brown.
Fylde had the luxury of introducing two proven goal-scorers off their bench in Matt Walwyn and Kevin Townson and the big-spenders added the gloss to their win through Walwyn in added time.
A thunderous drive from Matt Lawlor was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Fearon only to fall at Walwyn’s feet; he neatly pushed it onto his right foot and curled it home.
AFC Fylde: Edge, Lawlor, Elderton, Doughty, Stringfellow, Mercer, Booth, Mahoney (Townson 72), Cahill, Jarvis (Walwyn 72), Barnes (Bell 72)
Subs not used: Stevenson, Steele
Lancaster City: Fearon 7, Henry 5, Nightingale 5, Gregson 7, Marshall 5, Kenyon 7, McKenna 7 (Hall 64), Wilson R 6, Kenworthy 6 (Johnson 64), Rothwell 6, Swarbrick 7 (Wilson S 86)
Subs not used: Duggan, Rushton
Referee: J L Madine
STARMAN McKenna - Took on a chance for his goal and looked dangerous