Lancaster City turned in a sterling defensive performance to secure a point at high-flying Spennymoor Town on Tuesday.
Playing down the considerable slope, City created the first scoring opportunity as Jacob Davis played in Billy Akrigg, who fired a testing ball across the face of goal with no one able to apply the finishing touch.
From that point on, though, it was a case of backs to the wall as the lively Moors attack placed the visitors’ defence under constant pressure.
Time and again throughout the 90 minutes, City’s back line of Sam Bailey, Davis, Neil Marshall, and Adam Freeland kept at bay what assistant boss Trevor Sinclair described as “possibly the best team we’ve faced all season”, and on the rare occasions on which the defence was breached, keeper Mike Hale again showed why he is regarded as arguably the best in the division.
One first-half save from Liam Henderson was out of the top drawer, and twice in the second period the big stopper produced instinctive blocks to repel close-range efforts.
The closest City came to a goal in the second half was a shot from Simon Wearing which Moors keeper Adam McHugh blocked with his legs, but this was a rare foray into the home team’s half.
As the Dolly Blues’ defence visibly grew in confidence, however, Spennymoor, roared on by most of a crowd of 436, became increasingly anxious, and their frustration boiled over as speedy winger Anthony Peacock received a straight red card for kicking out at Garry Hunter, who saw yellow for his part in the incident.
The remaining minutes were played out without further alarms as City recorded a third clean sheet in a row.
Spennymoor Town: McHugh; Griffiths, Mason, Briggs, Tait; Capper, Stephenson, Henry; Henderson, Roberts, Peacock.
Lancaster City: Hale; Bailey, Davis, Marshall, Freeland; Winder, Akrigg, Hunter, Clark; Pearce (Draycott), Wearing. Subs not used: Hoyle, Sinclair, Donlon.
Star Man: Mike Hale
Referee: Marc Edwards