Three unanswered second-half goals sealed a fourth straight league win for Phil Brown’s Lancaster City at Ossett Albion on Saturday.
On a pitch that was as close to frozen without being postponed, the match was at times scrappy and difficult and the first half was just that.
With stopping, turning and controlling the ball on the frozen slope next to impossible, the game took a long time to spring to life with the first half largely uneventful.
Rob Bordman opened the scoring for the hosts, who have surprised many with their early play-off push, after just 11 minutes.
A low cross was scuffed clear to the feet of the prolific Evo-Stik striker at the edge of the box, who chipped the loose ball over Mike Hale for what was the only goal in the first period.
City had two good chances to get on the scoresheet before half-time. Terry Cummings’ pull-back was set up well for Craig Carney on the edge of the box with the midfielder’s strike clean but straight at ‘keeper Brett Souter.
Ryan Winder then created himself a great chance after cutting inside from the right flank but his shot flashed narrowly across goal.
After the interval the game was dominated by the visitors who stepped up and took the game to Albion.
The Dolly Blues pressed their opponents high up the pitch and in relentless fashion, and the pressing game was key to the deserved equaliser.
Billy Akrigg chased down a back-pass to Souter and the rushed clearance was blocked by the Lancaster midfielder, deflecting into the path on Tom Kilifin.
The in-form striker took a touch just inside the box to settle the ball on the tricky surface before calmly sliding the ball into the unguarded net to level the scores.
As the second half progressed the influential Bordman came close to netting his second but his well-struck free-kick was clawed wide by a fantastic save from Hale.
After a brief spell of pressure from the hosts, City took a firm control as the Lancaster back-line took Bordman out of the game.
Zach Clark was introduced to add fresh legs to the Dollies’ attack with 20 minutes remaining and the tricky winger put Brown’s side ahead moments later.
Carney provided a superb assist for the goal, battling in the right-hand corner to beat his man and drill a cross into the six-yard box. Clark was in the right place to meet the ball in the air from close range to hammer the ball into the net and give City a thoroughly deserved lead.
The game was sealed with just eight minutes left. On the front-foot, the Dolly Blues looked dangerous with every attack and it was Carney who again provided the telling ball for City’s third.
Riding two heavy challenges on the edge of the Albion box, the midfield man spotted the driving run of Winder and set the winger in on goal with Lancaster’s top scorer making no mistake to hit low into the bottom left corner to wrap up the points.
Ossett had a chance of a consolation in added time as Bordman latched onto a lobbed ball through the middle of the City defence but his tired looking shot went horribly wide.
Lancaster City: Hale 8, Henry 7, Marshall 7, Mercer 8, Clark 7, Winder 8 (Shearwood 85), Akrigg 8, Davis 7, Carney 9, Cummings 8 (Clark 70), Kilifin 8 (West 89). Sub not used: Rodgerson
Star Man: Craig Carney - Two assists for in-form midfielder.