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Lichfield City beaten in top of the table clash at Congleton Town

Lichfield City saw their title hopes dented by defeat in their top of the table clash at Congleton.

The two sides went into the fixture with Ivor Green’s men four points adrift of the leaders but with two games in hand.

An even first period saw few chances, but early in the second period Dan Needham broke the deadlock for the hosts with a neat finish from the edge of the box.

The result was wrapped up when Richard Duffy headed home from a corner on 65 minutes.

With both sides aware of just how big the three points would be, a cagey start to proceedings was not surprising, but Lichfield could have taken the lead when Dan Smith met Joe Haines’ cross at the back post but saw his effort cleared off the line by a defender.

Congleton also had a chance to get in front when James Beeson was forced into a low save to keep the scores level.

Jack Edwards was looking threatening for City and saw a good cross evade everyone and sail just wide of the back post.

The final chance of an even first half fell to Liam Kirton after Edwards and Cameron Dunn had carved out an opportunity, but the Lichfield man could only send his strike over the top.

Congleton drew first blood early in the second period when a cross eventually landed at the feet of Needham who sent a low drive past Beeson and into the bottom corner.

Things almost got worse for City straight from the restart when a home attack ended with the ball rattling the crossbar.

Lichfield tried to settle back into their game and went close when Dunn forced a save from keeper David Parton.

City’s hopes of finding a way back into the game were dashed though when a corner saw Congleton’s Richard Duffy head home at the far post.

The visitors tried to rally with Smith forcing Parton into a save.

Lichfield were thankful to keeper Beeson for keeping the deficit at two as he prevented a one-on-one opportunity.

Sub Jude Taylor sent a late shot wide as City succumbed to a frustrating defeat.

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