If the Dolly Blues didn’t have bad luck, they’d have none at all.
The trip to Curzon Ashton was billed as one to prove their promotion credentials, but whilst City did just that in an impressive performance a controversial penalty stole the spotlight.
Frustratingly for Lancaster, not only did Darren Peacock’s men play well and lose, they look to have lost strikers Jordan Connerton and Aaron Taylor to injury for the upcoming weeks.
Connerton, favouring his groin from the outset, missed City’s first two golden chances early in the second half.
His first effort one-on-one with ‘keeper Dave Carnell was hit low but straight at the Curzon stopper while his second chance was the pick of the game’s opportunities.
Garry Hunter’s cross from the right side of the area found Connerton all alone on edge of the six-yard box, but the striker scuffed his shot high over the bar.
In a fairly even first half, with hard challenges flying in from both sides, City were creating the clear cut opportunities.
Simon Wills was unlucky after a mazy run to see his poked effort fly straight at Carnell, whilst Tom Kilifin cutting inside the box from the left flank failed to properly test the ‘keeper.
Both teams were struggling to play possession football on a very bobbly surface and were opting to hit the ball long, with the Dollies’ backline in particular enjoying a dominant afternoon.
The talking point of the game arrived on 38 minutes, Joel Bembo-Leta going down under a challenge from Ryan Elderton with the Dolly Blues extremely unhappy with the penalty award.
Matthew Warburton took the resultant spot kick and his low effort was tipped onto the post by Mike Hale, but the ball fell right back to the feet of the striker to tap into an empty net giving Curzon a 1-0 lead at the break.
The second half was a tense and physical affair with both teams not holding back and a couple of very nasty tackles being dished out by both teams.
Referee Tom Nield decided to show no card to Curzon defender Simon Woodford for a stamp to the back of Mark Jackson’s leg, whilst Wills escaped a red for a high and late challenge on winger Chris Rowney.
The game took a turn for the worse when Connerton was withdrawn on the hour mark in visible discomfort. Substitute Taylor was then on the field for just three minutes before pulling up with a hamstring injury and being replaced by Simon Wearing.
As the game wore on Lancaster had two further chances to equalise, with Kilifin hitting another one-on-one chance for City straight at Carnell whilst Glenn Steel’s header drew a fantastic reaction save from the ‘stopper with his right foot late in the game.
At the other end, Hale spread himself well to deny Warburton the chance to seal the points in another assured display from City’s number one.
A bitterly disappointing result for the Dolly Blues, who did more than enough to argue they deserved all three points but lacked any conviction in front of goal to deliver the goods.
Lancaster City: Hale 8, Akrigg 7, Steel 8, Clark 8, Elderton 7, Donnelly 7, Wills 8, Hunter 7, Kilifin 6, Jackson 6, Connerton 6 (Taylor 74 (Wearing 78)). Subs not used: Hudson, Walker, Millar
Star man: Gavin Clark.