A valiant effort at Cantilever Park saw 10-man Lancaster City come from behind twice to get a draw against Warrington Town in what was an eventful game. The match saw 4 goals, two of which absolutely outstanding goals for the Dolly Blues, and two red cards to make it a must-see Tuesday night away game.
City were the team that came firing out of the blocks, as Sam Bailey whipped in a dangerous ball into the Warrington Box. They managed to deal with the cross in after a defence mix-up almost presented City with a golden opportunity in the first minute of the game.
The next piece of action would bring a theme to the game and that was strong challenges. Paul Dawson went in for a strong challenge just inside City’s half, which resulted in the midfielder getting a fifth minute yellow card.
The first goal of the game went to the home side in the 8th minute. A Warrington corner was headed in by David Raven after everybody crowded Ashton min the six-yard box, which led to the keeper coming to claim the ball and somehow coming out of his grasp.
City did not waste any time mounting a comeback, with Paul Dawson striking a beautiful free kick into the top left corner from about 25 yards out in the 13th minute of the game.
From the goal, City dominated the play and it was clear. The ball came to Roache in the box soon after the goal, where he swivelled and struck the shot on the volley but could only direct Ito over the crossbar.
The City pressure continued as it was Wilson to try his look and was deflected over the bar for a Lancaster corner.
The corner resulted in another chnace which City were so unlucky not to score from. It was Wills this time with the effort, but the effort was again into the stands behind the Warrington goal.
Dawson was involved heavily in the midfield, controlling the game really well. However, he could have seen red by 20 minutes as he went in for a second strong challenge, but the referee chose to speak to the player rather than send him off.
Just four minutes later and Warrington were back in front.
A cross into the box was headed against the crossbar by Gray. The home side kept the ball and this time played the ball in from the right, where Garrity met the ball and headed past Ashton this time to get the goal.
Shortly after, Warrington saw red. Jennings was sent off for Warrington for what appeared to be a kick to the face of Dawson whilst he was on the floor, giving the referee no choice to be award the red card.
City had plenty of chnace throughout the game and after the red card was no different. Steele the next to have a shot, but he could only fire over from 30 yards out.
City continued their pressure up until half time with a lot of great crosses into the the box and promising attacks.
The best of which came to Fensome. Dawson held the ball up brilliantly on the right side of the box as Fensome rushed forward, but his shot was well saved by McMillan to prevent a City leveller.
In the second half, it was much of the same. City came out firing and it was clear they were looking to get level early on.
The first chance of the half fell to Lancaster, with Norris picking out Roache but his well hit effort went over the crossbar.
The 10-men of Warrington were not going to just sit back and try to defend, with Byrne pressing forward and getting in behind of the City defence. Byrne looked a good mile offside, but it was some excellent defending by Fensome which stopped the attack and any further danger for City.
The game then continued to be a back and forth affair, with the next chance going to the Dolly Blues. It was Rob Wilson who was next up to the plate, after doing brilliantly to create some space outside the box, but it was another effort which was just off target for City.
Warrington continued to attack when they could, particularly causing problems from set pieces. The Dolly Blues dealt with the corner really well this time and then Gray was flagged offside as the ball came back into the box.
The next major talking point was some incredible last ditch defending.
Mackreth burst down the right and found himself one-on-one with Ashton. The midfielder took it round Ashton and went to slot into the empty goal, only for Ben Hudson to appear from seemingly nowhere and clear the ball off the line and back into the hands of Ashton.
Hudson looked to pick up a slight knock in doing so and could only last another four minutes, as he was replaced by Anderson in the 62nd minute.
The game turned into a bit of a scrappy affair from this point. The referee gave Warrington a quick succession of three free kicks for no clear foul, one given for Williams winning a header.
The third of these free kicks did result in some frustration from the skipper, Wills, who was given a yellow card by the referee for dissent.
Just six minutes later and Wills was shown his second yellow in what is one of the most baffling decisions to come out of this game.
As Warrington broke on the counter attack, Sam Bailey came across the man to halt the attack and take one for the team. However, the referee decided to book Wills for the foul and said later it was for a “follow through”.
To add to the matter, Bailey told the referee he had made the challenge which got him a yellow card correctly. But the referee still dismissed Wills and City were down to 10-men themselves.
City used the stoppage in play to make their second substitution with Roache being replaced by Charlie Bailey.
The substitution added some fresh legs to the game and a huge burst of quality. Charlie Bailey linked up really well with his brother Sam after an incredible solo run through the midfielder, where Sam put the ball to the back post but Norris could only touch it behind for a goal kick.
Lancaster’s pressure continued and it was the super-sub Charlie Bailey pulling the strings. He made an incredible run through midfield again and tried his luck from outside the box, but could only find the hands of McMillan.
With just three minutes to go, the 10-men got their much deserved equaliser and what a goal to do it.
Charlie Bailey was the man to bring the ball forward yet again. The attack continued and found Norris who chipped it to the edge of the box where Rob Wilson met the ball with a thunderous volley into the top right corner, in what is easily a goal of the season contender.
The final change for Lancaster was made just after the goal, with Paul Dawson being replaced by Max Smith on the 88th minute mark.
As the game went into six minutes stoppage time, the pressure turned back against them.
The only major chance came to the home side who utilised a quick succession of long throws to try and grab a last minute winner.
Ashton was equal to every ball that came into his box, seeing the game out to finish as a 2-2 draw on the road.
Next up for the Dolly Blues is Ashton United back at the Giant Axe for Non-League Day, which is Saturday 12th October with kick off at 3pm.