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Lancaster City defeated by Stafford Rangers

Sam Bailey. Photo by Phil Dawson (@PhotosbyPhilD)

Lancaster City missed the opportunity to go above their opponents as they lost 2-1 to Stafford Rangers.

The Dolly Blues have now dropped to 17th in the NPL Premier Division table, three points and two places clear of the relegation zone.

All three goals, two of them a penalty for each side, were scored in the first half of Saturday's game.

Stafford were 2-0 up thanks to Kaiman Anderson’s tap-in from a set piece and Tom Tonks’ penalty, before Sam Bailey netted a penalty of his own to halve the deficit but Lancaster couldn’t find an equaliser.

Charlie Bailey was back from suspension and Brad Carroll made a substitute appearance after a couple of weeks out through injury.

Lancaster’s new signing, defender Rudy Missambo, came straight into the starting lineup for the Dollies and impressed.

Another relatively new arrival for Lancaster, Nathan Woodthorpe, had the visitors first real chance of the game but his header went just past the post.

Stafford Rangers went ahead when Ethan Stewart’s header from a Jack Baxter corner put it on a plate for Kaiman Anderson who left his marker and tapped the ball in past Sam Waller.

The home side were awarded a penalty after Woodthorpe brought down Joe Kenton. Tom Tonks fired his spot kick low into the bottom corner and Waller didn’t get near it.

Lancaster had a penalty of their own four minutes later following foul play from a corner and Sam Bailey was able to convert it, his effort was too strong for Cameron Belford who dived the right way.

Charlie Bailey was substituted on in the second half and had an opportunity to level things up with 20 minutes to go, but his shot was blocked and his brother Sam couldn’t get his second of the day on the rebound – his effort went comfortably over the bar.

Stafford substitute Tyreece Onyeka caught Waller off his line with seconds remaining and tried his luck from way out but his speculative attempt went wide.

Mark Fell told the club website that his side had a “soft centre” and were “bullied” in the first half, and went as far as to say that their penalty was “a lifeline that we didn’t deserve” and questioned whether it should’ve been given.

Fell saw Saturday’s game as “a great opportunity” which his side could have taken if “we applied ourselves in the second half”.

Despite the disappointment of the result, the Lancaster gaffer was full of praise for debutant Rudy Missambo.

“I thought Rudy was brilliant, second half especially, he really got to grips with the pace of the game. He started to be the dominant character in terms of the aerial battles so that was really promising and encouraging from Rudy.”

Lancaster’s next game is a trip to Guiseley on Tuesday evening.

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