Lancaster City 2-0 Shaw Lane
The Dolly Blues maintained their unbeaten record thanks to two superb goals from Craig Carney and Hannu Tam.
In a true all-around performance that included their third consecutive clean sheet, Phil Brown’s side showed their attacking potential and could have won by more against 10-man Shaw Lane, who had topped the Evo-Stik Premier Division table at the start of play.
With both sides set up to attack the game was far more open than previous matches and the first real chance fell to the visitors with Spencer Harris’ low drive from the edge of the box helped around the post by Josh Powell in the City goal.
At the other end Lancaster had plenty of possession and looked dangerous attacking down both flanks.
Set pieces and long throw-ins were also a constant threat and it was from Sam Bailey’s corner that City went closest to breaking the deadlock.
The in-swinger was flicked on by Glenn Steel and Ryan Winder’s header from a tight angle was cleared off the line.
Charlie Bailey went close to opening his account mid-way through the half but after advancing towards the edge of the box the midfielder’s deflected shot curled agonisingly the wrong side of the far post.
For how well the Dolly Blues played in the first half, after the restart they stepped it up another gear entirely and took just four minutes to open the scoring.
On the counter-attack Charlie Bailey’s ball over the top found Winder on the left side of the penalty area and the winger played a low ball to on-rushing Carney to hit a neat first-time shot home from just inside the box. With the scoring opened City continued to press for more goals. Winder was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet after a super free-kick from 25 yards drew a fine save from on-loan Carlisle United keeper Morgan Bacon.
Preston loanee Melle Meulensteen then entered the fray for his debut and made a near instant impact, an impact he was on the receiving end of.
Challenging Lane’s midfielder Kieran Ludgsden for a header he took a nasty looking elbow to the head and Ludgsden was instantly red carded.
The game took a feisty edge after that tackle with the visitors visibly frustrated. Powell produced a smart low save to deny Chib Chilaka from close range late in the half in the best that the Ducks could muster.
Substitute Tam then wrapped up the points with another great attacking play from Brown’s side with just minutes remaining. Carney turned away from the midfield on the counter and ran at the visitors’ defence, spotting Tam making an inside run and played a delicate through ball to the pacey striker who made no mistake from eight yards.
The Dollies hotshot nearly got his second in added time after a mazy run from the left flank but his effort was well saved by Bacon as an impressive afternoon’s work came to an end.
Lancaster City: Powell 8, Hudson 7, Steel 9, Clark 8, Dugdale 7, S Bailey 8, C Bailey 7, Wills 7, Winder 8, Carney 8, Wood 7
Star Man: Craig Carney - First-rate goal and assist