MATCH REPORT; City 1, Radcliffe 0

City stretched their unbeaten run to five games after a hard-fought 1-0 home victory against Radcliffe Borough.

Thanks to a Paul Dawson masterclass, the dollies remain level on points with Basford, who also sit on 24 points in second place.

City started the game lively, with an unchanged starting eleven being fielded that swept aside Ashton United at the weekend.

Sam Bailey was able to find space on the right numerous times in the opening encounters, getting the ball into the box as often as possible.

Sam also had work to do at the other end of the pitch, heading an attempt at goal off the line ahead of Sam Ashton.

City displayed good defensive discipline when called upon in the first half. One of the standout moments came from captain Glenn Steel, who was forced to head the ball out of the path of a Radcliffe forward who was ready to pounce on a knock-back into the box.

On the half hour mark Charlie Bailey was booked for a strong challenge as City looked to put themselves ahead in what was a closely contested battle.

The pressure began to pay off for the dollies when Blinkhorn flicked the ball into the path of David Norris, whose shot was smothered by Borough keeper Ollie Martin. Blinkhorn was given a second bite of the cherry, but his effort was blocked.

The first half went back and forth with each team going close to scoring towards the half time whistle. Radcliffe’s best chance of the half came from a header in the centre of the box going inches over the bar.

Then, a moment of magic got City up and running. Dawson made a strong run towards the Radcliffe box and was brought down just outside the 18-yard box. What followed was sheer brilliance, as the man who earnt the free kick swerved the ball into the top left corner of the net. 1-0 City.

The dollies came close to adding a second shortly after when Wilson picked out Sam Bailey, who blasted his effort wide.

The pressure continued from City. This time Norris and Blinkorn linked up brilliantly and should have made it two, but the latter’s’ shot went narrowly over the bar.

Javin Swaby-Neavin was booked for the away side, and that was the end of the first half. Either side could have been ahead and had chances to do so, but Dawson was the one to take it.

The beginning of the second half saw the visitors bring on Tyrese Sinclair for Liam Ellis, whilst Lancaster were unchanged.

City were looking to start the second half as brightly as they did the first, and they did just that after Charlie Bailey slipped Matty Blinkhorn clean through, only for a last-ditch challenge from the Radcliffe defence to deny him a shot on goal.

Accrington Stanley loanee Matty Williams showed what he could bring to the side defensively in the first half, but in the second he showed that he could also contribute in attacks. He slipped Blinkhorn in down the left flank, who then laid Dawson off on the edge of the box, stinging the palms of Martin.

City continued to cope well with Radcliffe’s offense, and went on to try and get the second of the match. Charlie Bailey was played in by Dawson in the box, Bailey then tried to find someone in the centre, but his cross was cleared.

On the hour mark both sides made changes. Radcliffe brought on Matthew Crothers for Swaby-Neavin, whilst City made their first change, with Roache coming on for Wilson.

The visitors began to grow into the second half and went looking for an equaliser. Matt Hughes flicked the ball into the path of a teammate from a corner, but he couldn’t quite reach it.

City’s hearts were in their mouths when appeals for a Borough penalty were ringing around the Giant Axe, the appeals were waived away by the referee.

Roache’s first contribution since coming on came from a great run down the right, he then drilled the ball perfectly into Dawson, whose shot somehow loops over the keeper and the net.

City entered the last 20 minutes of the game still a goal to the good, but Radcliffe were far from finished, pressing the dollies for an equaliser. The visitors started to see more of the ball, with City starting to get pegged back by Borough’s pressure.

On the 75th minute mark and both sides made another change. Danny Mitchley replaced Kingsley Williams for the away side, whilst City introduced Jack Armer into the game, replacing Charlie Bailey.

Not long after the changes were made, and Sam Ashton produced a jaw-dropping save to deny Radcliffe’s equaliser. The ball made its way into the box and somehow from close range, Ashton managed to keep the ball out of the City net.

City were still creating chances in the last few minutes of the game to put the game to bed, with Dawson and Roache both coming close for the dollies. Dawson and Blinkhorn both received yellow cards.

City found themselves hanging on for the full-time whistle, when two Radcliffe corners were awarded, one of which was headed narrowly over the bar. As soon as the second corner was cleared, the whistle was blown, and a huge sigh of relief ringed around the ground.

An important result for City in a game where there could have easily been more than one goal. But one goal is all that was needed to take the three points, and Paul Dawson’s pinpoint free kick was enough to win City the match.

Full time score: Lancaster City 1 Radcliffe Borough 0