Lancaster City’s inability to convert chances into points has become almost cliché over the past few weeks but it was the same familiar tale at Giant Axe on Tuesday night.
The Dolly Blues took the lead in the first half but spurned a string of chances before Clitheroe’s seemingly inevitable equaliser late in the game as 10-man City hung on for a point.
Whilst Glenn Steel returned at centre back from his spell on the sidelines, Lancaster were also missing veterans Ryan Elderton, Garry Hunter and Mark Jackson through injury as the Dolly Blues’ small squad continued to take hits.
Lancaster started the game brightly with striker Dave Swarbrick stinging the palms of ‘keeper Andrew Dawber from a tight angle in one of the more demanding saves that the visiting stopper was forced to make.
Swarbrick also saw an acrobatic effort narrowly miss the target before the returning Glenn Steel broke the deadlock.
Danny Mahoney’s floated free kick was well met by the head of Steel past Dawber to give City the lead.
At the other end Mike Hale was in usual fine aerial form and lapped up every cross and corner that came his way, whilst Ryan Winder and Glenn Steel both saw good chances aimed straight at Dawber as the hosts threated but couldn’t find the killer second.
The second half effort from City was fairly disjointed with short passes from midfield often going astray, but defensively they were sound and limited Clitheroe to just a few long range efforts.
The best chance of the game to double the lead fell to Swarbrick.
The tireless Simon Wearing on the break passed across goal for a seemingly easy finish into an empty net, but only Swarbrick will know how his scuffed effort rolled past the wrong side of the post in what surely would have wrapped the game up for the Dolly Blues.
With 10 minutes remaining Gavin Clark saw red in what was a rare defensive lapse for City when visiting forward Scott Bakkor split the back line and was clumsily brought down by the defender on his way through to goal.
The resultant penalty was expertly dispatched by Bakkor into the top right corner.
Despite being down to 10 men, City bravely played in a 3-4-2 formation in search of a win but their passing in the final third was frustratingly poor and neither side created any chance of note as the game wound down to a draw.
It was a draw that felt like a defeat, but City were hugely improved defensively and continued to create quality scoring opportunities and it’s only a matter of time before the Dollies’ front-line get back to firing form.
Lancaster City: Hale 7, Hudson 7 (Henry 83), Steel 8, Marshall 7, Clark 6, Akrigg 5, Mahoney 7, Wills 7 (Walker 87), Winder 7, Wearing 7 (Kilifin 89), Swarbrick 5 Subs not used: MacDonald, Thompson
Star man: Glenn Steel – Only player to find the net and solid defensive display.