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Lancaster City lose at home for first time since December after dubious winner

Charlie Bailey scored a cracking goal for Lancaster. Photo by Michael Porter.

Lancaster City’s impressive unbeaten run at home came to an end on Saturday (April 8) as they lost 2-1 to Gainsborough Trinity.

The Dollies had not lost at home for eight matches, and the last six of those had all been wins.

However, with Trinity having the best away record in the NPL Premier Division this season, a tough test was always expected. Despite that, Lancaster put in a performance that warranted a point at least.

Lancaster took the lead through a brilliant Charlie Bailey strike, but Trinity turned the game on its head in the final five minutes of the first half - their winning goal was hugely controversial.

Sam Bailey hit a low free kick towards goal but Matt Yates collected his effort with ease.

Minutes later, it was the other Bailey brother’s turn to try his luck from range. Charlie Bailey let one fly from 20 yards out and rifled it into the top right hand corner of the net.

Brother Sam then tried to get a long range goal for himself from about 35 yards out and it didn’t go too far wide.

Gainsborough’s Fraser Preston had a go from far out too in an attempt to equalise but Sam Waller was equal to his effort and gathered it well.

Trinity’s top scorer Clayton Donaldson had an opportunity to level but snatched at his chance and the ball went well over.

Fraser Preston’s free kick from just outside the box was too high but it was the start of a period of pressure from the visitors which culminated in the game turning on its head.

A couple of minutes later, Sam Waller was forced into a great save, tipping a volley over the bar. From Trinity’s resulting corner, Hayden Cann headed it in. It wouldn’t be the only set piece the away side would profit from that half.

With the half time whistle approaching, another corner was swung in and, after a goalmouth scramble, Dylan Cogill got the touch that, according to the officials, sent the ball over the line. However, the Lancaster contingent were adamant that Brad Carroll had cleared it.

Carroll could have got City level from a tight angle six minutes after the break but Yates made a good save.

Donaldson had the chance to extend Trinity’s lead to two goals but Waller was there to block it imposingly, before the Lancaster defence got it away.

George Hornshaw made a good clearance to deny Lancaster an equaliser after a goalmouth scramble.

Sam Bailey tried a half volley that flashed wide of the goal, before Rudy Misambo headed over in the final few minutes. In his final action of the game, Matt Yates gathered a header from Nic Evangelinos in the closing moments.

Mark Fell said his side “played really well” and “had total control [in the] first half” aside from “a five minute wobble”. He went on to say that Charlie Bailey’s opener was his goal of the season.

However, he was frustrated with the way in which the Dollies conceded both goals.

“The corner on 41 minutes, the corner on 46 minutes, you’ve got to defend corners better.”

Fell wasn’t best pleased with the decision to award Gainsborough’s second. “What I will say is, it is the worst season for officials that I’ve ever seen.

“There’s got to be accountability, hasn’t there, when something is that clear on a video, when something is that obvious?”

Fell also went on to claim there were two handballs from Trinity players in the build up to two separate Lancaster chances.

The result sees Lancaster drop out of the top half of the table and into 12th.

“I do not want this team of players to finish in the bottom half of this league”, said Fell.

“I think they are far too good for that and we’ve got to give performances that demonstrate that and show that in the last three games. It would be a travesty for me.”

Lancaster City’s next game is a trip to Lancashire rivals Bamber Bridge on Easter Monday (April 10).

Their last game of the season is at home to Guiseley on April 22, and sandwiched between those two games is an away fixture at Ashton United on April 15.

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