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Lancaster City defeated by Stafford Rangers as skipper forced off with head wound

City captain Andy Teague after having 10 stitches in a head wound

Lancaster City skipper Andy Teague needed 10 stitches in a head wound as the Dollies lost 2-1 to Stafford Rangers in a controversial clash at Giant Axe.

Stafford went ahead with a controversial goal, which the Lancaster bench believed was offside.

After the break, the visitors made it two from a great counterattack.

The Dollies halved the deficit through Dale Whitham, but could not find an equaliser before the final whistle.

The match had a stop-start nature to it. Several players from both sides, especially in the first half, went down injured – the rainy conditions were having their affect on proceedings.

In the early stages of the game, Joe Dunne’s high cross nearly caught out Lancaster keeper Sam Waller who punched the ball, not out of danger, and had his blushes saved by his defence.

Sam Bailey delivered one of his many inch-perfect crosses for David Norris but he sliced his effort wide.

Lancaster captain Andy Teague was back in the starting 11 as he completed his gradual return to fitness following an injury he suffered back in September.

However, he was forced off within the first 20 minutes with a nasty head wound after a clash with Ntumba Massanka, who was not punished. He went straight to hospital where he was given 10 stitches.

Rangers took the lead when Alex Kiwomya spotted Waller off his line and drove the ball from far out.

While the Lancaster City players and staff were convinced the goal was offside – Massanka was allegedly ahead of the offside line – the referee allowed it to stand.

Nic Evangelinos had a chance to equalise just before the break but his effort went rising over the bar.

Lancaster started the second period with intent. Evangelinos’ free kick forced a save from Cameron Belford before a game of pinball began in Stafford’s box and several Lancaster shots were blocked by a string away defence.

Rangers looked very dangerous on the counterattack, and following a spell of City pressure, they broke forward in a move that ended up with goal scorer Kiwomya slicing his effort wide.

Kiwomya was to be involved again in yet another counterattack which was perfectly executed by Stafford. He started a magnificent run from his own half and got himself just outside Lancaster’s box. His cross found Jaiden White who hit his effort past Waller to make it 0-2.

The Dolly Blues pushed to get themselves back into the game. A chaotic 30 seconds halfway through the second half saw the ball hit the post for City, a handball appeal and many blocked shots.

Sub Dom Lawson’s effort went over the bar before Kyle Brownhill headed the ball just wide and volleyed a shot past the post.

Dale Whitham (pictured, photo by Phil Dawson) got a goal back for Lancaster with a strike just on the edge of the penalty area.

The home side really tried to make it 2-2, but the Stafford defence held strong.

Mark Fell told the club website after the game that he felt “sick” because of the result.

“We are playing the best football we’ve played since I’ve been here," he said.

"We have passed it, moved them, created so many chances. But in both boxes, which is where you win and lose football matches, that’s the problem at the moment.”

The Lancaster boss was not happy with the officiating of the game.

“There have been some things that have happened today which should not happen. Officials should not influence football matches in the way that they have done today.

“Their first goal is a mile offside. Sam (Waller) comes out, the lad (Massanka) that was offside has forced him out – it’s affecting play.

“He shouldn’t have been on the pitch because, it’s all right us being told that he didn’t do it on purpose but Andy Teague will now miss a couple of months from the fact that he’s got half of his forehead missing because the kid elbowed him.”

Fell admitted he and his team will take “accountability and responsibility” for the “woeful” defending for Stafford’s second.

Up next for Lancaster is an away match at Marske United, a club under new management in Curtis Woodhouse, on Tuesday evening.

Fell has set clear objectives for the clash: “Get your head down, work hard, take the best out of it (Saturday’s game), fix the problems from it, go to Marske and try and win the game.”

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