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Lancaster City draw with FC United of Manchester in front of biggest home crowd for 16 years

Fans get behind Lancaster City on Saturday. Image by Michael Porter Photography

A crowd of 1,000 - the biggest at the Giant Axe since 2007 - watched as Lancaster City and FC United of Manchester played out a goalless draw.

There were plenty of chances at both ends on Saturday but somehow the score stayed at 0-0.

The draw sees the Dolly Blues move up one place to 14th. 

Saturday’s attendance was the highest in recent years for Lancaster City, and there was a terrific atmosphere at the ground throughout the afternoon. 

The game was preceded by The Last Post and an impeccably observed minute’s silence on Armistice Day.

Lancaster threatened very early in the game when David Norris took a shot on from close range to FC United ‘keeper Pat Boyes’ right, but the number one got down low to make the save.

Around 15 minutes in, there was chaos in the visitors’ box as City pushed for the first goal. 

Two Lancaster players swung efforts towards goal before the hosts started  making appeals for a handball by a FC United player on the line, but the referee waved them away.

With 25 minutes gone, FC United’s Dontai Gabidon was sent through on goal but Dollies keeper Andre Mendes, after initially only partially getting the ball away from danger, quickly got back up and used his physicality to clear the ball into the path of a City defender.

With just over five minutes remaining of the first half, David Norris crossed a delightful ball into the path of Kyle Brownhill, whose effort from inside the area hit the underside of the bar - the closest either side came to an opener in the first 45.

Andre Mendes did well to deny the away side the first goal of the game.

Michael Donohue dropped his shoulder, after receiving the ball from a corner, and launched an effort from outside the box, which Mendes got a strong left hand to.

The second half started off in the same vein as the first half, with both teams having good chances but just lacking that clinical touch.

Seven minutes after the restart, Dontai Gabidon had another chance for FC United but his effort inside the box was blocked for a corner. 

Midway into the second half, Lancaster had a golden opportunity to take the lead. 

David Norris got on the receiving end of a great cross from the right but just fired his effort wide.

The visitors had a couple of good opportunities themselves to go in front, seeing an effort on the turn blocked and close range efforts dealt with by the Lancaster backline. 

With less than 15 minutes remaining, Lancaster once again came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock.

Brad Carroll’s effort from a set piece routine rattled the crossbar in front of the vocal home support in the Neil Marshall Stand.

Defender Jamie Mellen came on as a substitute in the closing stages of the game, in his first appearance since mid-August when he suffered an injury.

Both teams had another chance each to grab a late winner as the game headed into stoppage time.

Andre Mendes kept a cool head to collect the ball after the visitors piled on the pressure from a set play, while Pat Boyes made a smart save to deny Charlie Bailey after he latched onto a long throw in, provided by brother Sam. 

That was the last noteworthy action in a tense and entertaining goalless draw. 

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell spoke to Beyond Radio post-match. 

“We’ve created brilliant chances, we’ve had a stonewall penalty turned down, we’ve hit the bar twice as well," he said.

“I’m really pleased with the performance and it was a really decent game.

“There were two really important things today: Jamie Mellen coming back from injury, which is a big bonus for us, and there was a thousand people here, what an atmosphere.

“Our fans have really come out in force today, they were magnificent.

“The lads have done everything that they could do to give them what they wanted, but I think we gave them a good performance to watch.”

Next up for Lancaster City is the visit of Ashton United at The Giant Axe on Tuesday (November 14). 

Ashton United are the team that Lancaster City lost to in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup back in September. 

“We learnt a lot from the game in the FA Cup," said Fell. 

“I think we have to get back on the front foot, at the moment we’re getting in the right areas and doing the right things but it’s just not landing for us. 

“We’ll give it a good go, I thought it was a close game when we played them in the cup, so I back us to get a positive result on Tuesday.”

 

Lancaster City: Mendes, S Bailey, Brownhill (Lawson 70’), Barnes, Teague (c), Grand, Carroll, Sloan, Carroll, C Bailey, Norris (Mellen 83’), Holland-Wilkinson (Connelly 56’)

Subs not used: Clarke, Gallagher-Allison

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