Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Lancaster City 2-2 Warrington Town
Clark 66, 90+3 Jerome 12
A late goal from Gavin Clark meant that Lancaster City shared the points with Warrington Town in their first home game of the season at Giant Axe. The visitors took the lead early on through Ruben Jerome. Clark cancelled out Jerome’s goal 20 minutes into the second half with a good effort from the left, before Josh Hine regained the away side’s lead with a preventable header. Gavin Clark then got his second of the game in the third minute of added time, with a brilliant effort to secure a point for Phil Brown’s side.
The first half was all Warrington’s as it was full of chances for the visitors. In the sixth and 11th minutes respectively, they had free kicks in very similar positions. The first one was headed wide on the end of it by James McCarten and the second forced keeper Chris Cheetham to tip Tony Gray’s header over the bar.
Moments later, the Cheshire side were in front through Ruben Jerome. Liam Hynes worked really well on the right to beat Gavin Clark and he played a cracking ball to Jerome, who was able to bury it past the home keeper with the defence not able to track his run.
Tony Gray nearly doubled the visitors’ lead in the 15th minute with a good-looking volley but it went wide of the mark. Lancaster defender Josh Westwood then had a lapse in concentration as he headed backwards and it nearly beat his keeper. Instead it went out for a corner.
Chances were few and far between for the next 20 minutes or so in the game until Josh Hine came close again. The winger cut in from the right-hand side after beating Clark with ease, and his shot forced a brilliant save from keeper Chris Cheetham to his right.
Warrington Town led 1-0 at half time.
Lancaster started the second half better than they did the first, but the half wasn’t without Warrington chances. Oliver Wood managed to get past ex-City keeper Tony McMillan with a lob two minutes in but it was covered by the visiting defence. Ruben Jerome then nearly doubled the visitors’ lead but it was cleared off the line by Gavin Clark, shortly before Wood was denied by the Warrington keeper to the left and the ball was cleared away.
Ten minutes later, Billy Akrigg’s attempt went over the bar but then in the 67th minute Lancaster had an equaliser coming from an unlikely source. Left-back Gavin Clark beat his man and then his long-range effort beat McMillan to his right.
Warrington were back in front around twenty minutes later through Josh Hine. The winger took advantage of the loose ball and headed past Cheetham – who was off his line.
New Lancaster shot-stopper Chris Cheetham appeared out of his box more than once, and he nearly conceded another goal as a result. Substitute Dylan Vassallo attempted to exploit the keeper’s vulnerability off his line, but his effort went over the bar.
Lancaster’s best chance without scoring came in the 84th minute. Billy Akrigg’s pinpoint corner reached the head of captain Ricky Mercer who could only head onto the post.
Phil Brown’s side piled on the pressure in the last five minutes of the game. Substitute Hannu Tam found himself one-on-one with McMillan in the 87th minute but he was prevented from taking a shot.
Gavin Clark headed over from a corner in the second minute of added time, but he made up for this later on with a brilliant goal. Similarly to his first goal, the former Morecambe trainee made a great run along the left flank before striking the ball brilliantly with his right-foot into the top-left corner to send the home support wild and grab a late point.
The result means that Lancaster move up to 5th ahead of their clash at home to Mickleover Sports on Saturday whilst Warrington are 4th ahead of their trip to Coalville.
Lancaster City: Cheetham, Steel, Westwood, Mercer(c), Clark, Wills, Winder, Akrigg, S Bailey (C Bailey 57), Harries (Tam 85), Wood (Kilifin 85).
Subs not used: Dugdale and Sumner
Warrington Town: McMillan, Richards, McCarten, Goulding, McKeown, Williams, Hine, Hynes (Vassallo 72), Hughes (Mwasile 63), Jerome, Gray (Barnes 54).
Subs not used: Ashcroft, Carden.