Radcliffe Borough 0-3 Lancaster City
A brace from Hannu Tam and Jordan Connerton's 21st goal of the season sent Lancaster City back to the top of the table with a textbook away performance at Stainton Park.
Farsley Celtic’s 2-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge means the latest twist in the race for the Evo-Stik First Division North title sees the Dolly Blues three points clear with six games to play.
Phil Brown’s side were made to wait for the breakthrough, with Tam netting a minute either side of the half-time whistle, whilst Mike Hale saved a second-half penalty to ensure a clean sheet.
The first chance after just three minutes fell to the hosts but it was spurned as soon as it came.
Elliot Rokka was the guilty man who scuffed his first-time shot from the edge of the box well wide of Hale’s left-hand post.
From this point on the pressure all came from the visitors as City pressed and pressed.
Ryan Winder and Craig Carney both hit shots straight at ‘keeper Kyle Haslem but with Radcliffe defending deep and in numbers clear chances were hard to come by.
There were plenty of goal-mouth scrambles and blocked shots that were very well defended by Borough’s organised back-line but the pressure was eventually too much.
On the stroke of half-time the deadlock was broken thanks to a expert though ball over the top from Jacob Gregory as Tam raced in behind the Borough defence.
With the ball bouncing 20 yards from goal the young forward hit a sweet first-time volley over Haslem and into the net to give Lancaster the lead at the break.
Playing down the slope in the second half the Dolly Blues moved up through the gears and really took the game to Radcliffe and doubled their lead shortly after the interval.
Connerton neatly flicked the ball on to Tam who showed quick feet to latch onto the ball, round the ‘keeper and slot home with deft composure for his and City’s second.
Haslem then pulled off a superb reaction save to deny Connerton, tipping a powerful effort around the post as City continued to press.
The hosts were then handed a potential lifeline when a shot from close-range was adjudged to have hit the arm of Ricky Mercer just inside the box.
Radcliffe’s chance to half the deficit came and went though, Jack Hindle’s effort too central and easily saved by Hale.
Connerton then added the gloss as Billy Akrigg played an inch-perfect pass to set the forward in on goal and just inside the left-hand side of the box his shot was low and powerful and wrapped the points up with quarter of an hour to play.
New signing Josh Earl, who has arrived on loan from Preston North End, made a late appearance and almost marked his debut with a goal.
Cutting inside from the left flank the winger unleashed a goal-bound strike that Haslem superbly tipped around the near post to keep the Dollies just three to the good on a fine afternoon for the new leaders.