Northwich Victoria 1-2 Lancaster City

Lancaster City players celebrate. Picture: Tony North.
Lancaster City players celebrate. Picture: Tony North.

A David Norris brace at Wincham Park was enough to give Lancaster City safe passage through to the second qualifying round of the FA cup after a 2-1 victory over Northwich Victoria.

Mark Fell made four changes to the City starting 11, back into the fold came Luke Thompson after suspension, Charlie Bailey, Paul Dawson and Jason Walker.

And it was the Dolly Blues who started the brightest and will have been left wondering how they weren’t ahead at the break after a half where Vics barely got into their attacking third of the pitch.

Just two minutes were on the clock when Walker had his first sighter but his left foot shot was just the wrong side of the post.

Five minutes later City carved out a wonderful chance after some good work from Matt Blinkhorn, he played in Bailey whose effort brought the first in a series of great saves from Vics’ keeper Danny Taberner.

He denied Blinkhorn from point blank range on 15 minutes with Jack Armer hitting the post on the rebound.

Penalty appeals for handball were waved away following a 30 yard pile-driver from Dawson as City continued to probe the Vics defence.

A series of bookings followed for Vics’ players Brandon Barski and Tom Kilifin as the game got more physical, but the Blues were in their stride, playing some lovely one touch football that only lacked the finishing touch.

The closest they came was on the half hour, Armer linking with Charlie Bailey in the left channel to deliver a cross from Blinkhorn whose header was somehow kept out by Taberner.

As the half drew to a close City had no reward for their dominance and the tie was certainly still in the balance.

However, the start of the second half saw the Dollies shift up another gear.

Vics had a warning just a minute after the break when Dawson tested Taberner from distance but on 50 minutes the deadlock was broken.

City kept the ball alive from a corner and worked it out to the effervescent Armer, who beat his man and squared to Norris who swivelled and shot past Taberner to make it 1-0.

Moments later it should have been two, Armer again the supplier to Walker whose left footed curling effort just missed the target.

At the other end a rare Vics breakaway saw Sam Ashton brought into action with a smart double save to deny Ryan Winder.

On the hour mark Blinkhorn was replaced by Sam Joel as City looked to be more dynamic on the break and Vics had their first spell of pressure in the game without creating any real clear cut chances.

Indeed, further chances came for City, a header for Joel from a corner drew another great save from Taberner and with 20 minutes to go a rasping, dipping volley from Norris rattled the crossbar with Taberner stranded.

But Norris wouldn’t be denied in the 84th minute as he capped a superb City move.

A headed clearance from Ben Hudson was flicked on by substitute Sam Bailey into Walker who tied the Vics defence in knots before a sumptuous pass to Norris.

The City forward took a touch past Taberner and smashed the ball into the open net to make it 2-0 and it was effectively tie over.

A stoppage time Vics flurry saw them pull a goal back from Kieron Kenny but City held on to get the win that their performance deserved.

Much improved from Saturday, the difference in class showed and City will now face Spennymoor Town at home in the second qualifying round on Saturday, September 21 at the Giant Axe.