Lancaster City produced a hugely encouraging display to start the new year by defeating play-off hopefuls Brighouse Town at Giant Axe on Saturday.
Goals from the in-form duo of Tom Kilifin and Ryan Winder saw City seal back-to-back wins and remain unbeaten since late November.
Despite the recent weather, a fantastic effort from the City groundsmen ensured the game went ahead on a pitch that was free of standing water but increasingly cut-up as the match progressed.
Phil Brown’s side, who dominated the game for large swathes, also had to overturn an early strike for the visitors after just seven minutes.
Thomas Haigh was given space to curl in an effort from distance with the outside of his boot, his shot just evading the out-stretched glove of Mike Hale to creep just inside the left post.
After the early setback the Dolly Blues grew into the game, looking especially dangerous from set pieces, and the breakthrough for the hosts came on 25 minutes.
After his initial corner was cleared, Winder took a quick chest control and drilled a cross into the crowded six-yard box with Tom Kilifin in the right place at the right time to deftly deflect the ball in mid-air over ‘keeper Chandler Hallwood to level the score.
Kilifin then came within a whisker of doubling the the Dollies’ lead on the counter attack just after the half hour mark but his low, curling effort towards the far corner came back off the foot of the post with Winder and Jacob Gregory both just missing out on the rebound.
The hosts ended the half well on top and immediately continued their form into the second period.
After a bright opening, City were rewarded for their attacking efforts with a free-kick just 20 yards from the visitors’ goal.
Winder stepped up and his curler clipped the top of the wall on its way to flying into the top left corner of the net to give Lancaster a deserved lead.
For the majority of the second half there was a procession of chances for Brown’s side, who will be disappointed not to have scored far more on the day.
The City midfield were particularly on form with Tom Watson, Billy Akrigg and Craig Carney winning the majority of challenges and second balls at the heart of one of the best home performances of the season.
Up-front, Kilifin was guilty of only hitting the side netting from a good position inside the box, whilst Gregory and Akrigg were also unlucky in narrowly missing the target as numerous chances came and went.
George West had the best of the final chances in an impressive cameo appearance as he hit a rebounded effort over the bar late in added time.
Brighouse gave it their all in the final minutes, throwing bodies forward at every opportunity, but the Dollies’ backline held strong and ensured Hale enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon.
Lancaster City: Hale 7, Davis 8, Mercer 8, Marshall 8, Henry 8, Gregory 9 (West 80), Watson 8, Akrigg 8, Carney 9, Winder 9, Kilifin 8 (Cummings 85). Subs not used: Rodgerson, Clark, Shearwood
Star Man: Ryan Winder - Well taken goal and assist.
The Dolly Blues are next in action when they host Bamber Bridge in the Integro Doodson League Cup first round on Tuesday night.