Pre-season ended with a whimper for Phil Brown’s side as an unusually poor performance saw Lancaster City lose to local rivals Bamber Bridge at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Saturday.
In a game that wasn’t the finest example of friendly football ever seen, chances were few and far between, the visitors creating arguably the better and more numerous opportunities.
It was the home side, last year’s Evo-Stik League Cup winners, who took the lead however with a controversial opener.
The Dolly Blues felt Brad Carsley was in an offside position when he received the ball to advance on goal but the flagged stayed down.
Showing great composure the striker slotted the ball under the advancing Chris Cheetham in the Lancaster goal.
The remaining chances in the first half were all for the Dollies, but they just couldn’t find the net.
An excellent opening fell to Scott Harries after Oliver Wood saw a shot from a tight angle saved.
The winger had a seemingly open goal but saw his effort headed off the line by a retreating Brig defender.
Wood had another chance to get City level after some passing play led to captain Ricky Mercer slipping the forward in on goal and his chipped effort beat the ‘keeper but bounced wide of the post.
Andy Haworth then had a fantastic free-kick effort tipped onto the bar but even at this early stage it just didn’t feel like City’s day.
When, shortly after the restart, Bamber Bridge doubled their lead with Danny Forbes’ free header from a corner, an off-day was pretty much confirmed for the First Division North champions.
There was still time for Haworth to strike the bar again with a shot from distance, whilst Josh Westwood drew another superb save with his headed effort before the game petered out to a familiar-feeling result for the Dollies at the former Irongate ground.
Brown now has a week to get his side ready for their Premier Division opener at Buxton on August 12.
In the West Lancashire Premier Division, Slyne-with-Hest lost their season-opener 4-0 at fancied Blackpool Wren Rovers.
Jordan Wood, with two, Carl Eastwood and Liam Frend were on target against Paul Rigby’s side.
Slyne next host Longridge Town tonight, Tuesday, at Bottomdale Road, before having another home game against Burscough Richmond on Saturday.
Garstang also went down to a opening-day defeat 3-0 at Haslingden St Marys.
Lee Baker’s side host Coppull United tomorrow night, Wednesday and Wren Rovers this Saturday.