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Dominant Lancaster City rue missed chances as Belper Town snatch late equaliser

Lancaster City celebrate their goal on Saturday. Photo by Phil Dawson (@PhotosbyPhilD).

A dominant Lancaster City suffered late heartbreak against Belper Town in their attempt to gain their first home league win of the season.

Things started off brilliantly for the Dollies – they flew out of the traps at the Giant Axe on Saturday afternoon thanks to an effort from Bradley Carroll, starting a game for the first time since August 13 due to injury setbacks, within the opening two minutes.

City had plenty of chances to put the game to bed and double the advantage, but were punished for not taking them when Belper Town equalised just minutes before full time.

The Dolly Blues went in front when a corner kick from Bradley Hubbold was sent into the box, meeting Bradley Carroll who poked the ball home early on in proceedings.

They could have made it two several times in the first 45 minutes. Dale Whitham’s speculative effort whilst the Belper ‘keeper Daniel Moore rushed back to goal hit the woodwork and a Henri Ogunby close to the half hour mark went just over the bar – just two of the chances the hosts had to extend their lead, along with a couple of clear cut and one-on-one situations, in an impressive first half, in which Belper threatened once or twice.

City’s dominance continued for large parts of the second half, although the visitors looked more comfortable in the second period.

Goalscorer Carroll was replaced with four minutes of the second half gone with a suspected hamstring issue, but it did not look too concerning.

City put loads of great deliveries into the box but scarcely had someone there to direct the ball towards goal. Enock Likoy made an incredible run from his own half to a position where he could cross the ball – he did just that, only for Daniel Moore in the Nailers’ net to collect it.

The away side’s goal with less than two minutes of normal time left came after a short spell of Belper pressure and a clearance off the line by the City defence. Seconds later, the ball was whipped back in and James Carwell rose high to head in the equaliser which, on balance across the 90 minutes, came against the run of play.

The Dollies’ man of the match was chosen by the currently injured club captain Andy Teague, who selected Patrick Allington as his standout performer at the Axe, part of a back three that limited the visitors to short yet sharp bursts of pressure from the Belper forwards during the game.

After the game, striker Dom Lawson was presented with the club’s player of the month award for September. He scored two goals last month and was crucial in creating and being involved in good chances for the teams.

Speaking to the club website, Lancaster City boss Mark Fell described coming away with one point rather than three as “so frustrating”, and also criticised the defending for the away side’s goal, saying that “we didn’t deal with them well at the back post” and “it hurts when you concede a goal that’s as soft as that”.

“The frustration (with not winning) is as high as it’s ever been because we’ve got to get (more) points on the board and quickly and that’s the fact of the matter," said Fell.

“We have to change things quickly or we’re going to be in a position that we shouldn’t be in and don’t want to be in and life will become harder.”

Next up for City is a trip to North Yorkshire on Tuesday to take on Marske United, who are unbeaten at their Mount Pleasant stadium this season, but Fell says his side will “go there thinking we can get something from the game”.

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