Lancaster City 1-3 Stockport County: Spirited Dollies out of FA Trophy
A spirited second-half performance from the Dolly Blues wasn't enough to produce a cup upset at Giant Axe on Saturday.
Their National League North opponents, Stockport County, had too much quality to take advantage of a disappointing first period for the hosts that gave City too much to do after the break.
Phil Brown’s side for all their endeavours produced little in the way of actual chances and were left to rue the luck of the bounce of the ball in two key moments of the game.
Lancaster were the makers of their own downfall in the first half. Set up to defend and absorb any early pressure they let themselves down with two disappointing goals to concede.
The first, Jason Oswell’s free header into the far corner, was a good finish but it was all too easy to cross in from the right flank and score nearly unmarked.
The second goal sucked all the life out of the tie and was one to forget for everyone, except County’s Gary Stopforth.
Playing out from the back a series of poor passes led to Ben Hudson slightly under-hitting a back pass to ‘keeper Josh Powell.
As the stopper rushed to clear first-time the ball took a horrendous bobble over Powell leaving City’s No.1 on the deck.
Stopforth was rewarded for his pressure and collected the ball with the former Salford City midfielder calmly stroking home to double the lead.
After possibly one of the most underwhelming big-game performances in recent memory in the opening half, to their credit Lancaster were much improved after the interval to give themselves a chance of a comeback.
The chance was presented when Steve Williams was tugged down in the box and a spot-kick was awarded.
Ryan Winder, who had just come on as sub, confidently dispatched the penalty low into the right-hand corner and suddenly it was game on.
With the wind in their sails it looked like City may snatch an equaliser with 25 minutes to go, Carney playing Williams in on goal, only for the ball to bobble up just as the make-shift striker attempted to place the ball past Josh Hinchcliffe. The resultant effort lacked power and was easily saved.
The visitors nearly sealed the game when Darren Stephenson had a chance to beat Powell one-on-one on the counter but the Lancaster ‘keeper produced a great save to keep City in it.
However, in what may have summed up the game for the Dolly Blues, the third goal that sealed the tie in the dying stages for County was again another slice of fortune for the visitors.
Bohan Dixon’s drive from range took a deflection on the edge of the box, wrong-footing Powell and rolling agonisingly just inside the post.