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Ossett Town 1-0 Kendal Town
In a match of contrasting halves substitute Rob Branagan scored the only goal of the game as Ossett Town edged past Kendal to maintain their slim play-off hopes.
Impressive in the opening period, the Mintcakes failed to replicate their dominance in the second and were undone by Branagan’s strike shortly after the break.
With Danny Coid sidelined with a hamstring injury, Dave Foster drafted in Colin Watson on the left flank in the only change to the line-up which started against Padiham.
Kendal were in the ascendancy for much of the first half but failed to make the breakthrough and were ultimately made to pay.
Maison McGeechan glanced an early cross wide of goal before Danny Mitchley fired over after meeting a low Rob Wilson corner.
Craig Carney was the next to go close on 16 minutes, the midfielder clipping the top of the crossbar with a 25-yard effort after a neat midfield exchange.
The visitors were dominating possession and ten minutes later Mitchley was denied his 25th goal of the season by Ossett keeper Sam Dobbs after swivelling in box.
Kendal’s results on the road have blighted their season in many ways but consecutive victories at Farsley and Prescot Cables have seen a recent upturn.
Former Lancaster City midfielder Wilson saw a left-footed shot whistle past the post as the away side continued to press before McGeechan tested Dobbs from range.
Mercer had the final chance of the half when his downward header drifting narrowly wide as Kendal keeper Danny MacDonald barely had a save to make.
Kendal suffered a blow on the stroke of half-time, McGeechan withdrawn after aggravating a long-standing knee problem and replaced by Jamie Pattison.
With nothing to show for their first-half endeavours, there was every chance Kendal would count the cost of not turning their superiority into goals.
And after Mercer once again went close with a header from Wilson’s set-piece early in the second period, Ossett hit back with a sucker punch strike.
Richard Patterson played in half-time substitute Branagan three minutes after the re-start, with the January signing from Maltby Main firing low past MacDonald.
Moments later Ossett missed a golden opportunity to double their lead as James Eyles dragged an effort horribly off target despite a clear sight of goal.
From this point the game largely fizzled out in terms of clear-cut chances with neither side able to make much headway in the attacking third.
Shortly after the hour mark, strike duo Chris Wood and Eyles – both scorers when the sides met at Parkside Road in November – combined as the latter planted a header wide.
Despite no lack of desire, Kendal were unable to generate any sustained momentum in the second period as their four-game winning streak came to an end.
One bright spark for the away side was a late debut for Gary Basterfield as the club’s under-18 development squad continues to project players towards the first-team picture.
While Ossett are seven points outside the play-off picture with six fixtures of their season remaining, next up for the Mintcakes are champions-elect Curzon Ashton on Saturday.
Ossett Town: Sam Dobbs, Brad Kilburn, Wayne Hudson, Dean Bartle, Shaun Connor, Nick Wood (c) (Lewis Akeister 83), Ryan Williams, Richard Patterson, Chris Wood, James Eyles, Shaq Clarke-Adams (Rob Branagan 46). Subs not used: Brice Tiani, Sam Pashley, Matt Sykes
Kendal Town: Danny MacDonald, John Ross, Callum Hoctor, Warren Beattie (c), Ricky Mercer, Jack Smith, Rob Wilson, Colin Watson (Gary Basterfield 90), Danny Mitchley, Maison McGeechan (Jamie Pattison 43), Craig Carney. Subs not used: George Mason, Oli Mathieson, Michael Stringfellow
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