Radcliffe Borough 2-0 Lancaster City

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Lancaster City’s unbeaten start to 2013 came to an abrupt end in Greater Manchester as Radcliffe recorded their third straight home win.

Kicking against a significant slope in the first half, the Dolly Blues kept their hosts at arms length in the opening stages, restricting ‘Boro to just a couple of long-range efforts – one from the dangerous Kevin Sanasy that sailed harmlessly over the bar and the other from captain Kevin Jones, that was easily parried by Danny McDonald.

There was plenty of endeavour and good approach play from the Dollies, but they were struggling to really break their opponents down and were caught out on 21 minutes.

A through ball split the Lancaster defence and top scorer Sanasy ran through to finish with a low drive that found the net despite McDonald getting a hand to it.

Sanasy had the ball in the net again a minute later following good work down the Radcliffe left, but that effort was ruled out for offside, before City finally began to find their attacking feet towards the end of the half - Darren Green finding space on 28 minutes to slip Tom Kilifin into space, but the striker dragged his effort wide from the edge of the box.

On 38 minutes, Boro striker Ben Wharton headed a free kick narrowly wide and from the ensuing goal-kick Lancaster crafted their best chance of the half.

Good work in the middle of the park saw Green spring the Radcliffe offside trap but his effort was blocked on the edge of the box by the legs of on-rushing keeper Terry Smith.

With the advantage of the slope, Lancaster began the second period brightly with decent efforts by Ryan Elderton and Simon Wills in the opening exchanges.

Boro were looking dangerous too though and a delicious through ball by Darren Sheridan sent Wharton clear but his curling effort from 12 yards whistled over the angle of post and bar.

Radcliffe then scored a killer second on 59 minutes as Sanasy found space down the left and played in Wharton who squared the ball across the area for the on-coming Sam Freakes who delivered an accomplished side foot finish into the bottom corner of McDonald’s net.

Aaron Taylor had come on for Jake Simpson, who didn’t recover from a cynical forearm smash to the head that went unpunished by the referee just before half-time, and caused problems for the Boro defence in the air but it was proving to be one of those days in front of goal for City – Dodgson, Wilson and Gregson all should have done better when well placed.

Radcliffe almost extended their lead with ten minutes to go when a slip by Neil Marshall allowed Matt Chadwick to break from half way, but his effort was superbly blocked by McDonald.

Lancaster’s day was summed up when Michael Stringfellow missed the target when well placed from 15 yards in the dying minutes.

Lancaster City: McDonald 7, Hudson 6, Marshall (capt) 6, Gregson 7, Winters 7, Wills 6 (Wilson 6), Simpson 6 (Taylor 6), Elderton 7, Kilifin 6, Green 6 (Stringfellow 6), Dodgson 6. Subs not used: Winder, Clark.

Booked: Marshall

Radcliffe Borough: Smith, Shaw, Mortimer, Freakes, Parker, Sheridan, Baguley, Jones (capt), Wharton, Sanasy, Chadwick. Subs: Brooks, Daniels, Sherlock.

Booked: Chadwick.

Attendance: 237

Star man: Danny Gregson – Another assured display at the heart of the defence.