LANCASTER CITY put their unsettled pre-season behind them with a hard-fought draw against highly-fancied Farsley.
With star turns coming and going barely muddying their bright white boots and a manager on the treatment table, City needed, and got, a steadying performance in search of points.
They earned just the one and had their opponents to thank for that after a comedy own goal saw them equalise on the quarter hour mark.
Just moments earlier City had fallen behind, their back four afforded too much space to a composed Adam Priestley who beat Stefan Holden with a firm side-footed effort.
From the restart Farsley won the ball back and looked to keep it with a long pass back to their ‘keeper from Dave Briggs, in delightful slow motion it bobbled over Tom Morgan’s foot and into the Farsley net.
It was laugh out loud stuff but did the Dolly Blues the serious favour of levelling the scores, a deserved gift on the balance of play.
Lining up in a flexible 4-5-1 formation striker Joe Bunney was somewhat isolated, Dave Swarbrick and Zach Clark on the flanks did their best to bridge the gap but the midfield trio of Neil Wainwright, Simon Wills and Rob Wilson were at times too deep.
The system worked perfectly on the 20-minute mark however when Bunney combined with Swarbrick for, quite comfortably, the move of the game.
Bunney showed good movement to peel off down the left and a deft touch brought down a long pass before he played a lovely weighted pass into the path of the on-rushing Swarbrick but his vicious shot struck the bar.
This was an experienced defensive away side who shut out the Dolly Blues’ set-piece onslaught which produced 19 corners and seemingly endless attacking free-kicks in a dominant second 45.
They also had a tricky front line who gave City’s back four a difficult afternoon, winger Gareth Grant was their attacking focus point and was sharp and creative.
However, in particular, the two Dan’s Gregson and Parkinson defended diligently and young right-back Parkinson has a remarkable long throw that added to City’s full on assault of the Farsley box.
At times they got caught at the back but that is just as much down to the attacking threat of Farsley as it is City needing to find their shape in defence.
On chances City edged it, putting the ball into the net three times from offside positions, but could not turn other golden opportunities into goals.
Spurning set-pieces will hurt too, the closest they came was just moments towards the end when substitute Tom Kilifin shot over the bar from close range at the back post.
From his sun-lounger on an Ibiza beach interim manager Mick Hoyle can be rest assured that coach Michael Stringfellow handled his charges well. This was a deserved point against a top side.
Lancaster City: Holden, Parkinson, Elderton, Marshall, Gregson, Wilson (Carney 60), Swarbrick, Wills, Bunney (Kilifin 73), Wainwright, Clark (Rothwell 86). Subs not used: Wheeler, Hudson
Farsley: Morgan, Hardy, Serrant, Briggs (Muller 81), Jackson, Pacey, Priestley (Jones 73), Bambrook, Radcliffe, Grant, Walton. Subs not used: Carr, Guildford
Referee: Richard Wild
Star man: Dan Parkinson – An impressive league debut, composed in defence and a danger in attack with a long throw