LANCASTER City picked up their first pre-season victory with a comfortable win over near-neighbours Garstang on Tuesday night.
The Dolly Blues went into this fixture without a win since returning to action on July 7, and fielded a strong team in search of some much-needed goals and confidence.
City took little time in testing Clifton in the Garstang goal as five minutes in Billy McKenna used his pace well on the right flank and crossed the ball to Jordan Connerton, who turned his man forcing the visiting ‘keeper to turn the shot over the crossbar.
But the home side weren’t to be denied for long as Tom Kilifin bagged his first pre-season goal, turning and finishing after latching on to Danny Gregson’s header from the resultant corner.
City had chances to double their lead as both Simon Wills and Connerton headed over the bar, with McKenna and right-back Dan Parkinson both impressing down the right.
Kilifin nearly doubled his and City’s tally, but Clifton was equal to his follow-up effort from Tom Entwistle’s long shot, diving well at the striker’s feet.
Garstang looked well-organised as manager and ex-Dolly Blue Iain Swann watched on from the dugout and should have drawn level before half-time.
City had Neil Beesley to thank for his reaction save to Oscar Panepinto’s point-blank effort following a goal-mouth scramble.
After the interval Lancaster brought on some fresh faces in Jordan Bowen and Josh Buller but struggled to find any rhythm until the hour mark.
Connerton harried the Garstang defence and won the ball inside the area and ‘keeper Clifton had to be at his best to tip the curling effort just wide of the far post.
Buller, who impressed in his 45 minute outing, was next to produce a fine save from Clifton after finding space on the edge of the box but he couldn’t beat the on-form stopper.
It was then Kilifin’s turn to come close as he broke the offside trap and struck a fantastic early half-volley that beat the ‘keeper but crashed off the post.
Lancaster finally got their deserved second when Clifton could only parry Max Rothwell’s shot from range into the path of Buller who made no mistake from two yards.
Minutes later and City were 3-0 up when Rothwell picked out Kilifin on the edge of the box who turned and fired a venomous strike off the underside of the bar and into the net.
Joe Culshaw had the best chance to make it four before full-time when Bowen set him up 12 yards from goal but the defender skied the ball over the bar.
With a win, a great performance and chances flowing, Mick Hoyle and Michael Stringfellow will no doubt be feeling confident as the squad starts to take shape.
Lancaster City: Beesley 7, Parkinson 8, Archer 7, Gregson 7, Marshall 7, McKenna 7, Wills 8, Carney 7, Connerton 8, Kilifin 9, Entwistle 7. Subs (all used): Bowen 8, Buller 8, Clark 7, Holden (GK) 7, Rothwell 8