Bamber Bridge 4-3 Lancaster City

Ryan Elderton plays the ball forward for Lancaster City. Picture: Stefan Willoughby
Ryan Elderton plays the ball forward for Lancaster City. Picture: Stefan Willoughby
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The Dolly Blues had the chance for their first ever third successive win in the league when they travelled to Irongate for their Boxing Day derby with Bamber Bridge.

It was the visitors who took the early lead when Tom Kilifin opened the scoring for City. The striker cut inside the box from the left and lashed a shot across goal into the corner for his 9th goal of the season.

The lead, howver, didn’t last 60 seconds. Greg Johnstone’s long range effort into the bottom right corner soon after the restart levelled the score at 1-1 on 10 minutes as the game turned into a great end to end spectacle.

Brig ‘keeper Lee Dovey pulled out two fantastic stops to deny headed efforts from Neil Marshall and Lee Dodgson before City took a deserved lead a minute before half time. Ex-Brig forward Darren Green made light work of the heavy conditions to latch onto a through ball, round ‘keeper Dovey, and slot the ball home to send the large travelling Dolly contingent into raptures.

The second half somehow beat the first half for entertainment in an all out attack 45 minutes of football that the Dolly Blues were desperately unlucky to lose. With the rain lashing down and the pitch becoming ever muddier, defending became a desperate ordeal and the hosts took advantage six minutes into the half. Brig striker Andrew Bell following up a scramble from close range to score a simple if hard earned goal that drew the game level again at 2-2.

The respite didn’t last when on the hour mark City were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Green elected to take it and hit a dipping strike into the top right corner of the net to regain the visitors their one goal advantage.

City were on top and should have doubled their lead when Jake Simpson was presented with a golden chance on 65 minutes. Six yards from goal the winger volleyed Green’s pass across goal straight at the feet of the keeper.

The resultant counter-attack changed the course of the game. In on goal, Andrew Bell was brought down by a hard shoulder barge from Danny Gregson and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Bell blasted the ball down the middle of the goal to draw the game level for a third time at 3-3.

By this time the pitch was sodden and Kilifin, Green and Simon Wills all had runs through on goal halted by a ball that refused to run easily through the mud and standing water.

The hosts eventually scored the winner that could have gone either way seven minutes from time.

Greg Johnstone claimed his second and his team’s fourth tucking away a rebound at the far post to harshly condemn City to derby defeat.

An amazing game of football, that could so easily have gone all City’s way, ends up in cruel defeat for the Dolly Blues.

With such difficult conditions such games are hard to analyse, except to say that all the supporters that braved the weather were given one last Christmas present in this seven-goal thriller.

Lancaster City: McDonald 6, Winters 6, Gregson (Hudson) 6, Marshall 7, Short 7, Simpson 6, Wills 7 (Clark), Elderton 7, Dodgson 6, Kilifin 7 (Bradley), Green 8

Subs not used: Stringfellow, McKenna

Starman: Darren Green. Great run of form continues with a fine brace.