The Dolly Blues continued their remarkable 2015 revival with a deserved victory at title-chasing Northwich Victoria on Saturday.
Tom Kilifin scored the lone goal of the game with 20 minutes remaining as City produced a battling team display to continue their recent winning ways.
In a game that was dominated by physical midfield battles, Northwich were also reduced to 10 men after Brian Summerskill was sent off for a late studs-up challenge on Ryan Winder in added time, compounding the Vics’ misery.
The game started slowly with both teams having just one chance of note in the opening half.
Mike Hale pulled off a fine point-blank save from forward Scott Harries’ header whilst Garry Hunter’s dipping 30-yard volley was well saved Tim Deasy.
The midfield trio of Hunter, Billy Akrigg and Ryan Winder in particular all rose to the challenge against Vics manager Jim Gannon’s side as the visitors enjoyed large spells of possession without managing to break down the stubborn hosts’ back line.
The opening exchanges of the second period continued to be played out in midfield with the Dollies’ defence proving equally difficult to break down.
The turning point on 70 minutes proved to be the match-winning moment.
On a counter attack, Winder fed the ball across the box to Kilfiin who turned his marker superbly to unleash an low drive past Deasy into the right corner of the net.
After the breakthrough the game opened up but it was Darren Peacock’s side who were creating the chances.
Winder saw a curling goal-bound effort tipped round the post whilst Akrigg could only slice Aaron Taylor’s set up way wide from a good position inside the box.
The Blues did have the ball in the net a second time but Neil Marshall’s headed set-piece effort was chalked out for a marginal-looking offside call.
The final talking point in added time was the sending off for Summerskill as his late and high challenge drew an immediate red card from referee Anthony Moore.
The referee’s whistle after almost six minutes of added time finally blew and Lancaster could celebrate yet another win, clean sheet and a long-awaited return to the top half of the table.
Lancaster City: Hale 8, Hudson 7 (Bailey 55), Davis 9, Marshall 8, Clark 8, Hunter 9, Winder 8, Akrigg 7, Kilifin 8, Taylor 7, Pearce 7 (Poole 72). Subs not used: Donlon, Birch, Woods.
Star Man: Garry Hunter - Arguably his best display in a City shirt.