Millers seal place in play-off zone

Saturday December 1

Evo Stik NPL Division One North

New Mills 3 Lancaster City 1

IT was a tale of contrasting fortunes for two old boys at Church Lane on Saturday as New Mills cemented their place in the Evo Stik NPL play off zone with victory over Lancaster City.

The game took place following a mid-morning pitch inspection and in what was believed to be the teams first ever competitive fixture, it was the Millers who were quickest out of the blocks. In the first five minutes, strike partners Daniel Douglas-Pringle and Chris Luby both failed to hit the target and test Richard Whiteside after they found themselves with time and space.

The home side deservedly took the lead in the nineteenth minute with the goal coming from an unlikely source. A quick counter-attack involving Luke Horrocks and Daniel Douglas-Pringle down the left hand channel resulted in the latter’s shot forcing a save at full stretch from Richard Whiteside. However the keeper could only parry the ball straight into the path of ex-Lancaster defender Sam Egerton who comfortably found the net from close range to bag his first goal for the club since his recent move from Stalybridge Celtic.

That advantage was extended six minutes later with the undoubted goal of the afternoon. Daniel Douglas-Pringle collected the ball around the edge of Lancaster’s penalty area, picked his spot and continued his recent goalscoring streak by curling an absolute beauty into the top corner.

Shortly after, the rampant Millers should have further increased their lead when David Fitzpatrick’s free kick caused chaos in and around the six yard box. The ball fell to Luke Horrocks who from point blank range somehow crashed his shot against the upright with the keeper once again beaten.

Richard Whiteside kept his side in the game with an excellent fingertip save to deny Douglas-Pringle his second goal of the afternoon whilst his opposite number Andrew Mills made his significant contribution of the first half as the clock ticked down to the interval. The young goalkeeper on loan from Macclesfield Town, who was a virtual spectator for the vast majority of the opening forty five minutes, produced an outstanding triple save, the best of which denied Tom Kilfin.

Mills was beaten though within 60 seconds of the resumption when joint player manager Michael Stringfellow’s effort, which was heading towards the corner flag, took a huge deflection of Michael Bowler to completely wrong foot the goalkeeper to give Lancaster hope.

That flicker of hope was extinguished within four minutes as New Mills regained their two goal advantage. Dave Fitzpatrick’s corner floated its way to the back post and found the completely unmarked Chris Luby who celebrated his home debut by heading in from six yards. Almost immediately, Lancaster’s plight was hindered further by Dave Swarbrick, whose return to Church Lane was soured when he was shown a straight red card following an off the ball incident involving his former team-mate Sam Egerton.

New Mills capitalised on that advantage in the latter stages of the game as Lancaster tired. The keeper produced a string of excellent saves especially a late one to deny Daniel Douglas-Pringle but his Milleroverall performance did not prevent the Millers from collecting a third successive triumph with a highly satisfying and impressive team display.