The FA Trophy has never historically been a successful venture for the Dolly Blues and Saturday continued the club’s dreary run in the competition.
The story could, and should, have been very different if the Lancaster front line has been sharper in front of goal as a glut of missed chances fell by the wayside in the 90 minutes.
Tom Kilifin returned to the line-up from injury, but was badly out of sorts on the day as City exited the FA Trophy at the first qualifying round stage.
In the opening five minutes the striker had a great opportunity to open the scoring but under-hit his chip over ‘keeper Russ Saunders who scrambled back to smother the ball on the line.
There was certainly no shortage of scoring chances in the match but either the offside flag or wayward finishing was the Dollies’ undoing.
At the other end, Lancaster’s luck with the offside flag continued to hit new lows. Andy Keogh’s long through ball split the City defence with ease as Dougie Carroll raced clean through on goal to neatly poke past Hale to give Mossley the lead.
The visiting defence was certain Carroll was in an offside position but for the third game running their appeals were in vain.
On the half hour mark the hosts doubled their advantage as Carroll, unmarked, dispatched at the back post from a well-taken set piece.
Despite the set back, City were still dangerous going forward and there was a sense a goal would come sooner rather than later.
The goal that came from Garry Hunter was a simple free kick from the by line that eluded everyone and curled in at the right hand post and just when City thought they were back in it Mossley hit back.
The Lancaster backline had ample attempts to clear a ball that pinged around the box before Louis Horne smashed in from close range on the stroke of half-time to make it 3-1.
The second half saw a much stronger performance from City at both ends but the ball would just simply not go in the net.
Hunter and Mark Jackson, the latter playing through a bout of flu, both saw point blank headers well saved by Saunders.
Hunter saw a free-kick whistle past the post and Jackson narrowly missed the target on two occasions as chance after chance went begging to the visitors.
It was kitchen sink time and Danny Mahoney replaced Jackson up front and almost made an immediate impression.
When Saunders fumbled a cross out to Mahoney the midfielder turned striker swivelled and hit a shot straight at the ‘keeper with either side of the goal gaping.
Mahoney made amends with 10 minutes remaining with a sweetly struck volley from the edge of the box to reduce the deficit to one at 3-2.
The best of the remaining chances fell to Simon Wearing who was unlucky to see his effort from the edge of the box just miss the far post as the final seconds ticked away and the final whistle blew.
Whilst head coach Darren Peacock won’t be happy about the nature of the goals conceded, he will be no doubt left wondering just how his side came away from this game empty handed.
Lancaster City: Hale 8, Henry 6, Clark 6, Marshall 6, Elderton 7, Wills 6 (Winder 45), Akrigg 7, Hunter 8, Ince 6, Kilifin 6 (Wearing 77), Jackson 6 (Mahoney 66). Subs not used: Millar, Walker
Star man: Garry Hunter. Dominating display from City’s midfield engine.