Lancaster City's play-off hopes still alive after victory

Nantwich Town were Lancaster City’s victims on a glorious Saturday afternoon when Jack Byrne scored the game’s only goal with a towering back post header in the first half, breathing more life into the scattered mentions of playoff football.
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Non-League Day brought great support to Giant Axe, though the early rhythms of the game did not match the buzz emanating from all four sides. Neither team had complete control, and the game was played back to front and in the air.

Lancaster did a good job of keeping Nantwich Town’s well-stocked forward line from troubling Curtis Anderson, though he had to deny the Dabbers’ Sean Cooke niftily when his low free-kick looked to be creeping in.

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Nevertheless, the Dollies proved the worth of their measured start when Jack Byrne headed in his second goal in a Lancaster shirt on 26 minutes to give the Dollies a 1-0 lead. Liam Brockbank dipped a delightful corner over the Nantwich defence to find Byrne a yard out at the back post.

Lancaster City in action at home to Nantwich Town (photo: Phil Dawson)Lancaster City in action at home to Nantwich Town (photo: Phil Dawson)
Lancaster City in action at home to Nantwich Town (photo: Phil Dawson)

The goal, however, didn’t change the game’s slow first-half pace, and an injury to Andy Teague was the only other first-half incident.

After the break, Nantwich nearly levelled when Connor Heath snaked his way through the right side of the defence, but a last-minute block saved City from being the victims of an unexpected equaliser. The game, though, remained scrappy, and Lancaster’s defence led expertly by man-of-the-match Glenn Steel, maintained focus to repel the Dabbers’ threats. Anderson produced another fine low save when a powerful shot at close range threatened to squirm in at the near post.

As full time drew closer, Lancaster slowly began to shut the door and retreated deeper. Charlie Bailey and Joe Rodwell-Grant found themselves in a two-on-one shortly after the latter’s arrival but fluffed their lines to keep the lead nervy, but the Dollies ultimately held on for the win.

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In isolation, Lancaster’s win was unmemorable, but in the context of the season, this could be a game that Giant Axe looks back on with great fondness and appreciation.

Lancaster: Anderson, Bailey, Brockbank, Byrne, Teague (Blanchard 41), Steel, Sloan, Wills, Liko (Wilson 79), Bailey, Reid (Rodwell-Grant 83). Subs: Anderson, Davidson.

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