Tom Kilifin’s first goal since his return to the Lancaster City fold saw the Dolly Blues through to the last eight of the Doodson Sport Cup on Tuesday night.
The striker, who nearly left Giant Axe for Kendal earlier in the season, fired home the winner against Evo-Stik Premier Division side Marine just before the hour mark as City made it three wins out of three to start 2015.
His introduction made the difference for Darren Peacock’s side who had taken the lead through Reece Pearce shortly before half-time only for a Simon Wearing own goal to cancel it out almost immediately.
Kilifin soon restored City’s lead but the hosts were forced to defend for long periods in the second half, especially after Sam Bailey’s late red card for a second yellow card.
After an even opening Marine stopper Matthew Cooper produced three fine saves in a frantic 60-second spell shortly after the quarter hour.
Cooper first dived to his right to tip Billy Akrigg’s 25-yard drive round the post before from the resultant corner the Mariners number one twice got down low to his right, first stopping a Neil Marshall header before reacting quickly again to keep out Pearce’s low shot.
The terrible conditions, with high winds driving regular snow and hail storms across Giant Axe, made life difficult for both sides however.
Despite City’s early chances it was an even game with Mike Hale doing well to deny Lloyd Ellams as the big striker tried to round the Blues stopper eight minutes before the break.
It was the hosts who got their noses in front on 41 minutes, Bailey’s chipped through ball finding Pearce who beat the offside trap before calmly slotting the ball past Copper one-on-one.
The lead didn’t last long however with the visitors level two minutes later, Wearing rising with Ellams to meet Jamie Menagh’s free-kick only for his header to beat Hale low to his left with the aid of a post.
The visitors looked the more likely to get the game’s next goal after the break but after several promising attacks came to nothing Peacock’s side warmed to their task.
Kilifin first beat Andy Nicholas to a bouncing ball in the area only to see his poked effort come back off Cooper.
The Dolly Blues’ golden boot winner last year then dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area before getting the goal his play deserved.
As the pressure built Bailey’s cross from the right on 58 minutes was only half cleared with Kilifin keeping his composure before firing home from a narrow angle.
The game had developed into an entertaining cup tie with Lewis Cooling heading over for Marine before Kilifin saw his shot under pressure helped over the bar by Cooper.
The Dolly Blues gradually started to sit on their lead but defended resolutely with Hale equal to shots from Ellams and Thomas Owens when both should have extended the City stopper further.
The hosts for their part endeavoured to play football on a difficult surface, Pearce firing just over with a quarter of an hour to play after being fed by Matty Poole.
City’s passage to the quarter-final was complicated by Bailey’s red card eight minutes from time, the former Bolton getting a second booking for a late challenge on Owens.
Bailey felt the Marine man had gone in on him late seconds earlier but it was the Lancaster man who paid for his retaliation.
Thankfully for Peacock and his side it mattered not as they kept up their 100 per cent start to 2015.
Lancaster City: Hale, Bailey, Clark (Hudson 72), Davis, Marshall (capt), Hunter, Wearing (Kilifin 45), Akrigg, Poole, Pearce (Birch 77), Dodgson. Subs not used: Taylor, Donlon.
Booked: Dodgson, Bailey. Sent off: Bailey
Marine: Cooper, Clair, Wainwright, Nicholas, Bembo-Lita (capt), Blake, Menagh, Foley, Cooling (Fearnehough 66), Ellams (Owens 75), Langos. Subs not used: Hessey, Mitchison.