The Dolly Blues’ recent upturn in form finally earned Darren Peacock’s side a deserved three points with a fantastic attacking display against Padiham on Saturday.
City went into the game suffering from a host of injuries and illnesses that included Jacob Davis dropping to the bench and Tom Kilifin withdrawing from the squad entirely.
With the squad down to its bare-bones Trevor Sinclair made his first start for Lancaster on the left wing, and Josh Draycott returned to centre midfield.
Both teams started brightly and were guilty of missed chances, with Matty Poole wasting City’s best chance early on firing wide from close range after some neat build up play from the visitors.
City were passing the ball on the deck nicely, with Sinclair and Billy Akrigg on the flanks both linking up well with their attackers.
It was the former England international who was involved in the first goal as Lancaster broke the deadlock just before the break. Sinclair showed some great individual skill to beat his man and feed a ball into the feet of Matty Poole.
The forward played the ball across to Aaron Taylor just inside the area to neatly make space to side foot the ball past ‘keeper Sean Davis into the net to open the scoring.
The goal was certainly what Lancaster’s fine attacking play in the first half deserved, but they were also lucky not to concede as Padiham, looking dangerous attacking down the slope, went close with a shot from the edge of the area that flew inches past Mike Hale’s left hand post.
The pattern of play in the second half however was following the Dolly Blues down the slope as they created a raft of chances to increase their lead. On the hour mark City won a corner when Sinclair’s acrobatic effort was blocked, with the assistant manager opting to take the corner. The in-swinging cross was met by the head of skipper Neil Marshall to direct the ball low past Davis to double City’s advantage.
Lancaster began to pile on the pressure as well struck efforts from Garry Hunter and Draycott were both palmed wide by Davis as a third looked inevitable. The visitors sealed the game with their third goal with twenty minutes remaining. A flowing passing move involving Sinclair, Hunter and Akrigg was finished off with a low and accurate shot from Taylor into the bottom right corner of the net for his tenth league goal of the season.
At the other end Hale ensured a clean sheet with a smart near post reaction save to deny former Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod from close range, whilst Lancaster will have felt they should have had a fourth in added time.
Lancaster were given the advantage after Reece Pearce was upended inside the box, despite the ball falling to Tom Woods at a tight angle who could only hit wide of the far post. City were incensed the penalty wasn’t originally awarded, but the final whistle seconds later brought some long awaited cheers from the players and the travelling fans alike.
After putting an end to their losing streak with a clean sheet and a fantastic attacking performance, the Dolly Blues can head into the busy Christmas period on high spirits, with slumping rivals Kendal Town next in their sights on Boxing Day.
City XI: Hale 8, Bailey 8, Hudson 7, Marshall 8, Clark 7, Akrigg 9, Draycott 8, Hunter 8, Sinclair 8, Taylor 8, Poole 7.
Subs: Pearce, Woods, Birch, Donlon
Star man: Billy Akrigg. Continues to make strides in the Dolly Blue shirt.