Lancaster caretaker boss Craig Stanley admits his chances of securing the job on a permanent basis were dealt a severe blow on Tuesday night.
The Dolly Blues exited the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy at the first-round stage – beaten 2-1 at home to North West Counties’ Premier Division outfit Charnock Richard.
The fixture was a great opportunity for the Dolly Blues to register their first win of the season against a team who are two divisions below them in the football pyramid.
But City never performed on the night – something which left the temporary boss scratching his head.
“The performance on Tuesday was bad,” said Stanley.
“Since I have come in as caretaker manager, the effort, application and commitment has been first class from the players, but it wasn’t there on Tuesday.
“I can’t accept a lack of effort and a lack of commitment.
“The players just did not perform, which is the first time that has happened since I have come in and taken charge of the team.
“Fair play to Charnock Richard, they deserved to win the game.
“They were the better team all over the pitch.
“It looked like they were the team from the NPL Premier Division and we were in the division two leagues below them.
“That’s the disappointing thing. As the caretaker manager, I did not see that performance coming but we have just got to get ready for Saturday now.”
After losing 3-1 to Basford on Saturday in the NPL Premier Division, City are in desperate need of points when they travel to Buxton tomorrow.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Buxton are a very good team with good players all over the pitch.
“They have got three or four strikers who can score goals and in Liam Hardy they have got one of the top strikers in the league.”
Stanley may be able to welcome back Richie Baker to the squad this weekend, while Tom Preston has a chance of being involved.
Elsewhere, Kendal Town host Ramsbottom in the NPL First Division West, while Clitheroe travel to Chasetown.
In the NWCL Premier Division, Charnock Richard visit Irlam and Burscough are away to Padiham.