A SECOND-HALF Billy Akrigg strike saw Lancaster City edge past Kendal and ensure their faltering quest for a play-off spot is taken to the final weekend of the season.
Darren Peacock’s side broke the deadlock in the final quarter of the game but still trail fifth-place Ramsbottom United by two points with only one game remaining.
While never quite hitting top gear, Kendal more than matched their promotion-chasing rivals for large parts as Danny Mitchley twice hit the woodwork for the Mintcakes.
The connections between the two clubs are extensive with Danny MacDonald, Rob Wilson, Craig Carney and Mike Rushton all former Dolly Blues, while Lancaster included ex-Kendal forward Tom Kilifin in their line-up.
In addition, Dave Foster was a prolific Giant Axe goalscorer during his playing days while Michael Stringfellow had a spell in joint-charge of Lancaster in the recent past.
And the Parkside Road management duo made one change to the Kendal side which won so impressively at New Mills, with Jack Smith replacing Gary Basterfield on the left flank.
The game was two minutes old when a last-ditch tackle from Lancaster skipper Neil Marshall denied Rushton a clear run on goal, while a number of early Wilson corners came to nothing.
With only one win from their previous six games, Lancaster’s opening chance fell to the dangerous Dave Swarbrick who sliced wide after latching onto a deflected Ben Hudson effort.
With quarter of an hour on the clock, Mitchley controlled a long MacDonald clearance before swivelling and clipping the top of the crossbar with a left-footed volley from the edge of the box.
Kendal were enjoying the majority of possession, with Warren Beattie failing to properly connect with a Danny Coid free-kick after the ball bypassed a host of players into the six-yard box.
At the other end, Kilifin blazed high and wide before an alert MacDonald turned away a Ryan Winder attempt with his feet after the winger’s initial right-wing cross was blocked.
With the scores goalless at the break, Mitchley’s forceful volley sailed narrowly wide in the early stages of the second period after Jack Smith’s header into the box was only half-cleared.
Shortly before the hour-mark, MacDonald was called into action, saving from Lee Dodgson after the ex-Northwich Victoria midfielder exchanged passes with Kilifin on the left of the box.
Lancaster required maximum points to keep their play-off aspirations alive and their 72nd minute winner came at a time when the game was turning increasingly scrappy.
Akrigg tapped home Swarbrick’s square pass across goal after an under-pressure MacDonald failed to claim the ball as Clark’s header from an inswinging Kilifin cross looped into the air.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium, with Rushton’s effort lacking the necessary power to trouble Dolly Blues keeper Mike Hale after Mitchley’s flick from a Wilson set-piece.
With time running out, MacDonald repelled an acrobatic Swarbrick effort from a right-wing Akrigg cross before Mitchley was inches away from salvaging a late point for the hosts.
Following Coid’s hooked ball into the box, the former Altrincham forward saw his instinctive left-footed volley from the edge of the box strike the post with Hale beaten.
Despite forcing a total of ten corners, Kendal were unable de-rail Lancaster’s play-off bid and now head to Radcliffe Borough on Saturday for their final game of the season.
Kendal Town: Danny MacDonald, Colin Watson, Danny Coid, Warren Beattie (c), Ricky Mercer, Rob Wilson, Jamie Pattinson (Gary Basterfield 67), Craig Carney, Danny Mitchley, Mike Rushton (Kevin Brown 84), Jack Smith. Subs not used: Michael Stringfellow, Aaron Fleming, George Mason
Lancaster City: Mike Hale, Ben Hudson, Jacob Davies, Ryan Elderton, Neil Marshall (c), Garry Hunter, Ryan Winder, Bill Akrigg, Dave Swarbrick (Simon Waring 89), Lee Dodgson (Gavin Clark 70), Tom Kilifin. Subs not used: Mike Donlon, Josh Donnelly, Rob Walker