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Lancaster City exit Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy after 11-goal thriller with Bamber Bridge

City and Brig players clash during the 11-goal thriller. Image by Michael Porter Photography.

Lancaster City were on the wrong end of a 7-4 scoreline in a thrilling cup tie with Bamber Bridge.

The result on Tuesday saw them exit the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy at the quarter final stage.

The game was tightly fought until around 75 minutes in when ‘Brig’ substitute Mark Cullen got a hat trick in 18 minutes to give the visitors what was, in the end, a comfortable win.

Lancaster goalkeeper Andre Mendes limped off the pitch at full time after suffering a knock during a game.

The first of the 11 goals came within two minutes of kick off.

Bamber Bridge took the lead through Danny Edwards, who latched onto a ball over the top and cooly finished.

Lancaster equalised on the quarter hour mark.

The evergreen David Norris, on his 43rd birthday, got the leveller, just managing to get the ball past James Pradic in the visitors’ goal.

Two minutes later, Nic Evangelinos made it 2-1, making a simple finish after a great cross from the right.

A defensive mixup made it easy for Brig to level not long after though, the unmarked Harry Scarborough was the man who capitalised on it.

Bamber Bridge took the lead for a second time before the half hour mark.

Chris Churchman nodded the ball past Andre Mendes after a rapid cross caught the City backline out.

Brad Carroll scored from a set piece to make it 3-3 not long before the break but he was sent off in the aftermath after a coming together with the opposition player who was marking him.

It was a chaotic first half and it was difficult to see how the game would get even more unbelievable, but it did.

Brig regained the advantage six minutes into the second half.

Harry Scarborough got his second of the game after Adam Dodd headed a ball across goal for him to nod in.

Pradic kept out a Sam Bailey free kick ten minutes later, but Bailey would get the better of the keeper not long after.

Substitute Tom Kilifin was brought down recklessly in the box, giving City’s skipper the chance to level the scoring once more.

Bailey made no mistake and evened the game at 4-4.

Five minutes later, the most crucial tactical switch of the game was made.

Mark Cullen came on for Danny Forbes as the visitors looked to get themselves back in front for a fourth time.

A mere three minutes after his introduction, Cullen made it 4-5, popping up at the back stick to head it home.

Unfortunately for Lancaster, the substitute striker wasn’t done there.

He made it past his man with ease after a ball from the left and slotted the ball into the net, giving the away side clear daylight in the game.

Jake Connelly and Kyle Brownhill could have reduced the deficit back to one goal but their attempts in quick succession hit the woodwork.

Mark Cullen completed his hat trick to compound Lancaster’s misery.

Chris Willcock told Beyond Radio he was “embarrassed” by the result.

“I’ve never conceded seven before," he said.

"The way we defended collectively as a team, individually at times, wasn’t acceptable and we got punished.

"It’s a difficult one to swallow this evening but we’ll have to lick our wounds and come back on Saturday.”

Willcock touched on Andre Mendes’ injury and said he will be assessed for the weekend.

“Andre’s injury deteriorated as we went on which made him struggle to have the mobility that he’s normally good at with crosses, et cetera.

"We didn’t have anybody on the bench to relieve the pressure in that area.

“The physio will assess him over the next couple of days and then we’ll make a decision for Saturday.”

The focus for the rest of the season will now firmly be on the league.

Lancaster take on Ashton United in their next game on Saturday (February 24).

 

Lancaster City: Mendes, S Bailey (c), Brownhill, Sloan (Clarke 61’), Barnes, Gallagher-Allison, Evangelinos (Jarvis 61’), Norris, Connelly, Carroll (sent off 42’), C Bailey (Kilifin 61’)

Unused substitutes: Ikpakwu, Lawson​​

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