Lancaster City came from behind to draw with Warrington Town in an entertaining match at Giant Axe on Tuesday night.
In an open, free-flowing game there were chances for both sides, with the hosts desperately unlucky not to snatch all three points after hitting the woodwork twice in the second half.
The game was played at a fast tempo with a physical edge and the early chance of the match fell to Tom Kilifin.
With a trademark turn of direction the striker made space inside the box but could only shoot straight at keeper Karl Wills.
The visitors drew first blood on 11 minutes when danger man Scott Metcalfe was given space to pick up the ball midway inside the City half and advance into the box. The winger hit a superb strike across Mike Hale into the top right corner to open the scoring.
Winger Lee Dodgson was withdrawn from action with a hamstring strain to add to the Dolly Blues injury woes midway through the first-half before Lancaster got their deserved equaliser.
Ryan Winder’s excellent first-time strike from 20 yards could only be parried by ‘keeper Wills into the path of Kilifin who converted from close range to level the match.
A couple of scrambles at each end of the pitch that came to nothing capped off the half that ended level.
The Dolly Blues, who have struggled with consistency from one 45 to another this season, flew out the traps and came closest to open the scoring when Winder drilled a shot inches wide from the edge of the box.
Warrington then had their goalkeeper Wills to thank for an excellent close range save from Kilifin, with the striker hitting the rebound against the post as City looked almost certain to get a winner.
Neil Marshall had a great chance to win it when he rose highest to meet Winder’s corner but fired his header narrowly over the bar.
It certainly felt like Lady Luck was deserting Darren Peacock’s side as they came close to winning the match in the dying minutes of injury time.
Aaron Taylor won the physical battle to meet Winder’s deep cross and thundered a diving header off the crossbar as the visitors cleared the ball to safety.
At the other end there were some valiant defensive efforts from the Lancaster backline to keep Mike Hale largely untested in the second half as the match finished all square.
A vastly improved performance from a recently underperforming City side will breathe confidence going into the FA Cup weekend as West Allotment Celtic await Peacock’s men on Saturday.
Lancaster City: Hale 7, Bailey 7, Hudson 7, Marshall 8, Elderton 8, Winder 8. Hunter 6, Akrigg 7, Dodgson (Clark 30), Kilifin 8, Taylor 7.
Star Man: Neil Marshall. A true captain’s performance in the heart of the City defence.