New Lancaster City head coach Darren Peacock began his reign with defeat at 10-man Salford City on Saturday.
Ammies player-assistant manager Chris Thompson’s strike 20 seconds after half-time proved enough to see off the Dolly Blues in the final game of their Evo-Stik First Division North campaign.
There were positives for Peacock, who saw his side create enough chances to take at least a point at Moor Lane.
Tom Kilifin had the majority of the openings for the visitors, who tried in vain to play flowing football on a difficult surface.
First on 25 minutes the City striker dispossessed Ammies defender Jack Lane but could only fire straight at Ritchie Branagan when in on goal.
Then just after the half hour the Salford stopper produced a fine double save to keep the game goalless.
Branagan did well to get down low to his right to parry Kilifin’s effort before bravely denying Dolly Blues winger Billy McKenna from close range, the City man picking up an injury in the collision.
The home side hadn’t been without chances of their own and could have gone ahead on just 10 minutes, young full back James Fielding doing well to deny Leon Williams on the line after good work from Nathan McDonald down the left.
City’s first-half superiority was quickly forgotten as a sleeping defence allowed Thompson to arrive late in the box unchallenged and sweep a right-wing Williams cross home from 12 yards moments after the interval.
Substitute Simon Wills should have equalised for the visitors 10 minutes later, turning well in the box after being played in by Darren Green but he could only fire well over when in one-on-one with Branagan.
Twenty minutes from time City had Danny McDonald to thank for keeping them in the game, the Dolly Blues stopper racing from his line to deny Ammies skipper Jamie Rother.
It had been a fairly civil affair in the end of season sunshine but the home side were reduced to 10 men on 78 minutes, Brad Robinson seeing red for raising his hand to Wills after a clash near the home dugout.
Peacock’s side pushed for a winner but failed to test Branagan, Kilifin just failing to get on the end of a Green cross six minutes from time and Aaron Woodhouse looping a header onto the roof of the net with time just about up.
The defeat sees City finish 13th on 50 points with the new head coach surely looking for a vast improvement on that next term.
His hard work begins in earnest now.
Salford City: Branagan, Banda, King, Lane, Bellamy, Rother (capt), White (Khodja 77), Thompson, Williams (Kinsella 68), McDonald (Bold 81), Robinson. Subs not used: Taylor, Briody.
Lancaster City: McDonald, Hudson, Gregson, Marshall (capt), Fielding (Jones 62), Clark, Winder, Winters (Woodhouse 80), McKenna (Wills 34), Green, Kilifin. Subs not used: Allsop, Millar.