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Lancaster City and Bradford Park Avenue play out entertaining draw

Image by Michael Porter Photography

Lancaster City drew 2-2 with Bradford Park Avenue in their first game since Mark Fell’s departure.

Fell, who had been at the club since October 2018, resigned last week, along with assistant manager Graham Lancashire, first team coach Craig Rutherford and goalkeeping coach Mark Thornley.

Club captain Andrew Teague took charge of the Dolly Blues against the West Yorkshire side, and left himself out of the matchday squad. 

Simon Grand is the interim assistant, but he still featured for Lancaster.

City had the first real chance of the game around five minutes in.

Left wing back Kyle Brownhill got a shot off inside the box but it flashed wide.

Just moments later, Charlie Bailey had an opportunity to get his second goal in as many games but his effort, after a long throw from brother Sam, was also just off target.

The hosts were the better team in the first 20 minutes - it was at the end of that period when Dollies keeper Andre Mendes got his first test, albeit a straightforward one, comfortably stopping Chinedu Osadebe’s first effort of the game.

However, four minutes later, Mendes was beaten by Osadebe who was the final part of an impressive move down the right from the visitors.

Just before the half hour mark, Simon Grand could’ve got the leveller and his seventh goal of the season, but his effort didn’t find the target after a neat Charlie Bailey cross.

The last 15 minutes of the first half were end to end with few chances, but the second half was entertaining from the off.

Mere seconds after the restart, Lancaster equalised through Kyle Brownhill in a move that started off at the centre circle.

Brad Carroll sent the ball into the danger zone and, despite Avenue defenders scrambling to get it away, the ball fell to Brownhill, who couldn’t miss. 

Grand had the chance to turn the game on its head just over ten minutes later, and would’ve done had it not been for a superb  save from Brad Wade, who tipped the ball over the bar.

Twenty minutes into the second 45, Sam Bailey delivered one of his pinpoint crosses towards City’s latest signing Tom Kilifin.

It looked almost certain that the number nine’s header would find the net as he was at such close range but it went just wide. 

City had been the most dangerous of the two sides for most of the second half but with fifteen minutes of normal time left, Bradford PA were given a spot kick after Myles Le Bastide was alleged to have been challenged recklessly in the box.

Will Longbottom stepped up to take it but his effort rattled the woodwork, however his blushes were spared as Osadebe’s header on the rebound put the Green Army back in front.

Two minutes later though, the Dolly Blues were level. 

After a lot of pinball in the box following a Jake Connelly corner, Brad Carroll got to the ball and managed to get it over the line despite the Avenue rearguard’s best attempts to keep it out.

Andrew Teague then made two attack-minded substitutions - David Norris and Jacob Holland Wilkinson coming on for Charlie Barnes and Christian Sloan - showing he was going for the win.

Frustratingly for City, the scoreline remained the same but the number of players on the pitch did not.

Jamie Mellen, who Lancaster had earlier announced as their player of the match, was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. 

The hosts tried to overwhelm Avenue with corners and aerial pressure in the final stages of the game but Brad Wade collected every looping ball that came towards him.

Interim boss Andrew Teague spoke to Beyond Radio after Saturday's game and was impressed by the team’s performance after such a challenging week off the field.

“I thought that after everything that’s gone on this week within the club, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the lads," he said.

“To put a performance in like that with all the uncertainty is something to be proud of.

“It’s an honour to manage this football club along with Simon Grand.

“In the second half, we wanted to continue what we’d been doing in the first, but with a bit more purpose in the passing.

“We showed great character coming from behind twice.”

Teague and Grand are expected to be in charge for at least the next game, which is at home to Whitby Town on Tuesday (November 28).

“We’ve got a big squad, there were over twenty players training the other night so everyone will be getting used at some point,” said Teague.

“We hope the fans can get behind us on Tuesday like they did [on Saturday] - they were a great crowd.

“We’re looking forward to the next one.”

Lancaster City host Whitby Town at The Giant Axe on Tuesday at 7.45pm.


Lancaster City: Mendes, S Bailey, Brownhill, Barnes (Norris 81’) Grand, Mellen, Sloan (Holland-Wilkinson 81’), Cowperthwaite (c), Kilifin (Connelly 70’), Carroll, C Bailey

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