Lancaster City surrendered a two-goal lead on Tuesday night at Giant Axe as they hung on for a draw against Burscough.
Two first-half stunners from the Dolly Blues saw them edge an open first 45 minutes but they could not get on terms with the visitors in a lacklustre second half and they saw their lead slowly and deservedly slip away.
It was Jake Simpson who fired City ahead with just three minutes on the clock as Gavin Clark – returning to central midfield after his suspension - played the ball forward to Dave Swarbrick on the edge of the box and he fed Simpson in the box to lift the ball over the ‘keeper from 15 yards.
Not to be outdone Swarbrick weighed up a lob of his own from 40-odd yards before pulling the trigger on one moments later, placing a brilliantly floated strike with the outside of his right boot over visiting ‘keeper Tim Horn.
It was the crowning moment of a decent first-half performance from the Dolly Blues, their best in recent weeks as they kept the ball well and looked dangerous.
The additions of Morecambe loanee James Short, who looked confident at left back, and Simon Wills from Kendal Town in time for the game were timely as City continue to struggle with injuries.
For Burscough, Niall Cummins hit a low shot just wide of the post before they gave a hint of their second half comeback with a late flurry to the half.
City stopper Richard Whiteside, struggling with a calf injury which was later to see him replaced, pulled off a pair of last-gasp saves, moments before the half-time whistle to keep his side two clear as he blocked a close-range shot after a corner and scramble and then comfortably caught a header seconds later.
If the first-half was open and exciting then the second was stilted, jerky and poor.
The visitors edged it with a drop more composure but neither side excelled and a fussy refereeing performance saw the ball being lined up for free-kicks more than anything else.
That being said Burscough deserved their goals on the weight of play and possession alone.
First striker William Jones powered through a crowd of players at the back post to hit a well placed volley past substitute goalkeeper Danny McDonald after the Dolly Blues had invited pressure by failing to clear a set-piece.
And it was a similar tale just five minutes from time as successive balls into the box were not dealt with by a tiring City defence and the ball squirmed its way to Paul Williams to score.
It was a difficult second-half task, the visitors were not going to take defeat lying down and while City disappointed in possession as the pitch cut up and conditions worsened, they can take heart from their workrate and determination to hang on, grim as it was.
December is not going to provide any gifts for the Dolly Blues as they welcome the league’s only unbeaten side in Skelmersdale on Saturday before an equally tough trip to Yorkshire to face Farsley FC.
Lancaster City: Whiteside 7 (McDonald 58), Hudson 7, Short 6, Marshall 6, Stringfellow 6, Simpson 6 (Kilifin 66), Clark 7, Elderton 6, Swarbrick 7, Dodgson 7, Wilson 7 (Wills 78). Subs not used: McKenna, Naylor.
Burscough: Horn, Camozzi, Quirk, Williams, Duff (Williams J 6), Clarke, Brookfield, Lynch, Cummins, Jones, Mayers (Tyson 63). Subs not used: Caddick, Stewart
Referee: Bernard Law
Star man: Dave Swarbrick - A terrific goal and always had the potential to create more.