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"Irresistible" Lancaster City advance to FA Trophy Second Round

Christian Sloan scores for City. Photo by Phil Dawson (@PhotosbyPhilD)

Lancaster City’s Halloween Match Day was far from a nightmare as they beat Gainsborough Trinity 3-2 to progress in the Isuzu FA Trophy.

The Dollies will play in the second round of the competition, the draw for which takes place on Monday (October 31).

Gainsborough took the lead at the start of an eventful few minutes part-way through the first half on Saturday.

Dom Lawson was forced off with an injury before David Norris levelled the scoring.

Nico Evangelinos turned the game on its head close to half-time, and City extended their advantage in the second half through Christian Sloan. Midway through the second period, Gainsborough halved the defecit but Lancaster saw out the game.

Dale Whitham had a chance to open the scoring early on after a nice ball from Norris but Trinity goalkeeper Matt Yates got there first.

Despite City’s early threat, it was the away side who scored the opener just over fifteen minutes in after Andrew Wright put pressure on Dollies’ number one Sam Waller when he unsuccessfully tried to clear the ball.

Dom Lawson was forced off with an injury and Nico Evangelinos was the man to replace him.

Lancaster equalised in spectacular fashion through David Norris, who initially made a headed attempt towards goal, which came off the bar. That was followed up by a fantastic bicycle kick from the 41-year-old.

Trinity’s Curtis Durose curled an effort towards goal but Waller was on hand to palm it away, the Lancaster 'keeper looking a lot more calm in goal following his error.

The home side pushed to get in front and right before half time they did just that. Nico Evangelinos proved to be a super sub as he latched onto a long ball and slotted it into an open net after Yates tried to gather the ball.

Christian Sloan made it 3-1 after half time, scoring his first of the season. Assisted by Dale Whitham, his original shot was blocked but he rifled his second attempt into the bottom corner.

Sam Waller impressively denied Harry Lewis’ volleyed strike from cutting the Dollies’ lead to just one goal, but the visitors found a way to make it 3-2 through Joe West.

Brad Carroll’s attempt to double the advantage again was held by Matt Yates, while Nico Evangelinos’ direct free kick went just wide of the post.

In the closing stages of the game, club captain Andy Teague returned to action from the bench after six weeks away. He was only on the pitch for around five minutes, but looked very commanding at the back, making a crucial tackle to cut out Gainsborough’s threat in the dying embers of the match.

Dolly Blues boss Mark Fell told the club website that he felt his side “were irresistible” for an hour of the game.

“We should have been two, three, four (goals) clear at half time, we created that many chances.”

On the club’s progression to the second round, Fell said “The job was just to get into the hat on Monday and that’s what we’ve done.

“It’s hard to get over-enthused about it because of where we are (in the league), so if that was worth three points I’d probably be a little bit happier.”

The scorer of the crucial goal, Christian Sloan, played out of his natural position as a midfielder, instead slotting in at left-wing-back.

“We’ll always trust Christian to do that sort of job for us, I thought he was excellent," said Fell.

Fell also praised the fans for their “brilliant” support during the game. “They’ve contributed to us getting to the next round today and we’re thankful for that – the players have gone over and applauded them.

“They’re as important at this place as the lads on the pitch and the more we can get them behind us like they were today, the more chance we have of getting us this league and turning this into a successful season.”

Lancaster’s next opponents are Stafford Rangers in the Northern Premier League Premier Division next Saturday (November 5).

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