Clitheroe 2-1 Lancaster City

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WITH just three games left to play in their Evo-Stik First Division North campaign the Dolly Blues are making hard work of their play-off push.

After being outplayed by promotion rivals Witton Albion on Saturday Lancaster City travelled to Clitheroe knowing three points was vital.

For the opening half an hour there was only one team in it as City poured forward but failed to capitalise.

They did inch ahead, just not far enough, as Max Rothwell fired in a back post header on 24 minutes.

The goal was created by 17 year old Rhys Turner whose undoubted class has been a revelation in the past few weeks.

His pace and movement is terrific as is his confidence on the ball, he ghosted around his marker before standing up a lovely centre for Rothwell to convert.

The young forward had a half chance of his own as he surged in from the wing across the box and met a Ryan Elderton pass which he steered well over the bar.

Alex Meaney’s hooked ball forward set Tom Kilifin free into the box, the challenge on him was seemingly illegal – the defender had his arms all over his shoulder – yet he squirmed past him and got his shot off which was comfortably saved.

In cruel fashion the home side equalised moments later through a terrific 20 yard half volley from Joe Roberts that left Martin Fearon standing.

While it would be easy to criticise the official – whose justification of “I don’t give those type of penalties.” left City manager Tony Hesketh confused – it certainly leaves a sour taste in the mouth to know that if the young striker had gone to ground perhaps too easily than a spot kick would have been given.

City are creating enough chances at the moment and there was only really a Zac Clark cross spilled by the Clitheroe ’keeper to set the pulses racing.

That chance went to waste as there was nobody in the box.

Alex Meaney did have a long range dip straight at the home stopper which may have been comfortably saved but at least it was a brighter attempt than most.

Cruelly it was a 90th minute goal from substitute Glodj Kuba-Kuba that settled matters.

It was a lightning quick counter attack after the Dolly Blues had attacked in numbers.

Neil Marshall was pulled out of position on the left and the ball was floated over his head into the path of Kuba-Kuba who showed good pace and a tidy finish to score.

The three key games for Tony Hesketh’s men are a trip to Curzon Ashton, away to Mossley the Tuesday after, before next Saturday’s season closer at Giant Axe versus Warrington Town.

It really is rather simple too, win all three games and the Dolly Blues will steal the last play-off place, they currently sit sixth two points behind fifth and with a game in hand.

It seems a tough ask but this young City side are not lacking in confidence or talent and now have the chance to prove their mettle.

Lancaster City: Fearon 6, Henry 6, Elderton 6, Egerton-Wilson 7, Marshall 6, Kenyon 7, Wills 7, Turner 7 (Gregson 83), Kilifin 7 (Bunney 68), Rothwell 7 (Clark 68), Meaney 7

Subs not used: Cook

Attendance: 300

Starman: Simon Wills – Competed brilliantly and never stopped running, seemingly all across the midfield