FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying
Lancaster City 2-1 Darlington 1883 Gregory 48 Purewell 80 Connerton 76
Evo Stik Division 1 North side Lancaster City beat National League North side Darlington 1883 in a very exciting FA Cup tie at Giant Axe today.
Jacob Gregory opened the scoring for the home side three minutes into the second half, whilst he was backed up by a controversial Jordan Connerton goal and Darlington got one back through Amar Purewell in the 80th minute to set up an exciting finish.
The game started with end-to-end football, and the first real chance came six minutes in when Nathan Cartman had a shot over the bar for the visitors.
Five minutes later, the home side had their first chance of the game with Louis Mayers- whose header went just wide of the goal.
Following two notable chances in the first ten minutes, the game spiced up a bit with the away side being reduced to ten men. Captain Gary Brown was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity (last man) when he brought Jordan Connerton down just outside the box in the 15th minute.
Two minutes later Darlington could’ve had another sending off as Mark Beck went in late on Ricky Mercer, but luckily for the former Carlisle striker he only got a booking.
The consequential free kick for the home side was unsuccessful, and unfortunately for them they were reduced to ten men themselves. Similarly to Gary Brown for the away side, centre-half Jacob Davis was sent off for a last-man challenge in the 25th minute, so both sides were level with regards to numbers again.
Just moments later Darlington had their best chances of the game so far, as Mark Beck headed onto the crossbar and then he had another header that was tipped over the bar by Mike Hale.
This was followed by Lancaster’s biggest chance of the game so far, eight minutes on, when Louis Mayers forced Wollston into a save and Jordan Connerton’s rebound was cleared off the line.
Mayers almost took the lead again five minutes later, when Gregory put a great ball into the box but unfortunately the forward couldn’t connect with it from close range. Surprisingly, it was goalless at half time.
It wasn’t goalless for long in the second half however, as Jacob Gregory opened the scoring three minutes in with a great run on the right-hand side, smashing it past Newcastle loanee Paul Wollston into the top corner to put the underdogs in front.
Darlington had the majority of chances in the second half, and it was a backs to the wall job for the home side as they ended up playing with just one man up front (Jordan Connerton).
Mark Beck headed straight into the hands of Hale in the 57th and 69th minutes respectively, and Terence Galbraith also had an ambitious shot straight at the keeper in the 70th minute.
Jacob Gregory found himself one-on-one with the keeper again in the 73rd minute, and this time he was denied by Wollston in a chance he really should’ve put away.
Three minutes later Lancaster doubled their lead through Jordan Connerton. The striker got past both the defence and the keeper, who raced out of his box, and Connerton was able to put the ball into an open goal. The away fans were outraged as the former Kendal striker appeared to be offside, but the goal stood.
Moments later, the Darlington defence had a scare as the keeper’s clearance bounced back off a defender, and then a defender’s clearance deflected off Gregory and the ball only just went wide.
The away side did give themselves a chance to get something from the game, as substitute Amar Purewell headed home from close range in the 80th minute following a brilliant cross by Stephen Thompson on the right-hand side.
This set up a very tense and exciting final ten minutes, and the away side really took the game to Lancaster but Mike Hale was well on top of his game.
Purewell had another header denied by Hale to his right in the 84th minute, and a good ball from Thompson across the goal was somehow stopped by Hale five minutes later.
Mark Beck then headed over from a cross in the 90th minute, and there was four minutes of added time. Cartman even went for an overhead kick, but it was saved by Hale yet again. There was a series of corners in the dying moments of the game, and Galbraith’s header would’ve gone in had it not been for an excellent last ditch save by Mike Hale, who never looked like conceding a second goal.
Up next for Lancaster City, who progress to the third round of qualifying, is Ramsbottom at home in the league on Tuesday night.
Lancaster City: Hale, Hudson (Henry 83), Mercer(c), Davis, Clark, Willis, Crolla (McKenna 71), Gregory, Sumner, Mayers (Westwood 58), Connerton.
Subs not used: Anderson, Raybould, Russell.
Sent off: Davis
Darlington 1883: Wollston, Marrs (Purewell 66), Galbraith, Brown(c), Watson (Thompson 54), Falkingham, Portas, L.Scott, Hardy (Hunter 20), Beck, Cartman.
Subs not used: Robinson, Mitchell, Nowakowski, H.Scott
Sent off: Brown(c)