by Aaron Jackson
THE Dolly Blues came within one agonising goal of a place in the league play-offs on the last game of the season.
The scene was set at Giant Axe for Tony Hesketh’s men; beat the Wire by four clear goals and see Garforth Town versus Skelmersdale United finish as a draw and they would have dramatically nicked a spot.
However the Yorkshire men edged past Skelmersdale 2-1 to set up a semi-final clash with Curzon Ashton, the other play off sees Witton Albion host AFC Farsley.
On the pitch on Saturday City were at their effervescent best, attacking at will, solid at the back and in bullish mood to get the job done.
It was, for a refreshing change, from set-pieces where City were dominant and got their goals.
Captain Alex Kenyon kicked things off in style with a cheeky overhead kick at the near post after a corner was not cleared.
The Dolly Blues were physically too much for a youthful and frankly quite poor Warrington back four which featured one experienced full-back in Owen Roberts who seemed determined to get himself sent-off.
The City attacking trio of Joe Bunney, Rhys Turner
and Zac Clark harried and harassed them into mistake after mistake and next up to capitalise was Danny Gregson.
Another corner from the left from Lee Dodgson not dealt with was hooked at shoulder height by Gregson to easily beat Paul Pritchard in the visiting net.
Pritchard actually kept the score-line respectable in an excellent first half with two very smart saves, one leaping to tip a Neil Marshall
header over the bar and another low diving save to deny Bunney.
Five minutes before the break and it was three as Kenyon found a yard of space after another corner was not cleared, the space gave him chance to get the jump on his marker and loop a powerful header into the top corner.
At this stage it was a draw at Garforth’s Genix stadium and City were doing the biz at Giant Axe, it was nervy on the terraces and evidently on the pitch as three minutes after the break City slipped up at the back to concede.
Quite inevitably it came from a set-piece as substitute Dylan Glass converted from a corner.
The need for goals and attacking play did leave City looking a tad ragged at the back but they had more than enough to keep the visitors at bay and more goals were needed and indeed due.
Zac Clark shone in the second 45 with endless fleeting runs down the right, beating Roberts time and again and being felled twice by the errant full-back, the first looked a stone-wall penalty as he dropped him in the box and the second should have seen Roberts pick up a second booking with a rash challenge. He was subbed moments later.
It was Clark who grabbed the fourth after a trademark run and he finished it off with a cheeky side-footed effort.
Another set-piece, this time a Kenyon long throw-in, and it was five after a text-book goal mouth scramble saw Neil Marshall
flick the ball onto the bar and Michael Reid head the ball into his own net from the rebound.
However, things were simply not going to plan at the Genix, Skelmersdale were down to ten men and the home side 2-1 up, it went right to the end and more as the Yorkshire side held on through five minutes of added time to seal the win.
With Garforth Town resting heavy on the mind the memories of their 94th minute winner at Giant Axe on March 3 reared it’s ugly head.
However it is pointless to think of lost points, this young Dolly Blue side can be proud that they have done this well in a very competitive league.
Lancaster City: Fearon 7, Henry 7 (Egerton-Wilson 62), Gregson 8, Marshall 8, Kenyon 8, Clark 8, Dodgson 7 (Kilifin 67), Bunney 7, Meaney 7 (Wills 69), Turner 8
Subs not used: Cook
Warrington Town: Pritchard, Kavanagh, Roberts (Daniels 63), Emson, Winrow, Reid, Kinsella, Williams (Glass 45), Hardwick, Bakkor (Anderson 75), Shipton
Subs not used: Wells, Vaughan
Referee: Natalie Walker
Starman: Alex Kenyon – Held his position and composure brilliantly a powerhouse of a performance