A QUICK-fire Lancaster City double condemned Radcliffe to defeat at the Giant Axe, writes Kieran Wilson.

Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro had given Boro a fourth-minute lead but two goals in two minutes by Niall Cowperthwaite and Andrew Teague around the hour mark sealed victory for the home side.

Cam Belford returned between the posts following his three-match suspension after his red card away at Grantham Town while Akpa-Akpro started the game to play alongside Bobby Grant.

The Frenchman soon made his mark when Luca Navarro dinked a delightful ball into the 37-year-old at the back post, he took it down expertly before slotting it beyond Felix Goddard for his fifth goal of the season.

The early advantage was matched with a solid start all over the pitch as Boro enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout the pitch and cancelled out anything in Lancaster’s final third as they tried to come up with a quick response. Akpa-Akpro went close to grabbing a second goal in the 27th minute but flashed a shot just wide after Andy Teague’s header was partially cleared.

Lancaster lost Goddard to injury and with no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, centre back Glenn Steel had to pull on the gloves.

After the break, Lancaster switched their game plan which allowed them to dominate the entirety of the second half with Radcliffe looking shellshocked at their early approach.

Lancaster knocked on the door from the get go after the interval and in the 57th minute, their efforts were eventually awarded with a well-deserved equaliser through midfielder, Niall Cowperthwaite with a well executed header.

The hosts then grabbed inside an incredible two-minute period at the Giant Axe. Like a carbon-copy of their first, a teasing cross was floated into an inviting area where a number of Lancaster players looked to connect with the ball, Andrew Teague did just that by guiding a header beyond Cam Belford.

Radcliffe struggled to obtain possession as the Dolly Blues looked settled on sitting back to protect the goalkeeper from any late pressure he may have faced.

Boro did have a number of set pieces for the dead ball specialists to create an opportunity, as well as throwing all the tall players forward, but the ball stayed well clear of the Lancaster net with the defenders standing firm in the dying moments of the game.

Grant’s side, who are now 15th in the NPL Premier Division, will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they host a Basford United side who are one place and one point above them in the table.