LANCASTER City assistant manager Phil Brown blamed end of season fatigue for the Dolly Blues’ defeat at Clitheroe on Easter Monday.
Goals from Ashley Parillon and Chris Smalley gave the East Lancashire side a 2-0 win and handed City their first defeat in four games.
Brown said: “It was a very disappointing result. There was lots of endeavour and I wouldn’t level that the lads didn’t try and work hard but for the first time in a long time it just didn’t happen for us. Mentally we weren’t quite right.
“We played a team who for me are still in football mode. They’ve got a new manager and maybe the players are playing for their places. That maybe motivated them more than it did us.”
The home side took the lead in the 14th minute. Former City man Alan Coar’s near post effort was blocked and Parillon was in the perfect place to put the rebound into the back of Martin Fearon’s net.
Despite some early second half pressure City were lucky not to go further behind when Clitheroe were awarded a penlaty after Alex Brees was felled in the box.
Parillon stepped up but one of City’s players of the season, goalkeeper Fearon, saved the spot kick.
The second goal wasn’t far behind however, Smalley heading home an Eddie Stanford corner in the 63rd minute.
The result leaves City ninth, one place behind Clitheroe and two points off sixth place, going into their final game at home to Mossley tomorrow, Friday, April 29, and Brown is keen for the Dolly Blues to finished the season on a high.
He said: “We can still finish in sixth and we want to finish the season as high as we can. But saying that and doing it are two different things.
“It’s going to be a really difficult game but we want to sign the season off in style and that is what we will be looking to do against Mossley.”
Clitheroe: Hibbert, Heywood (Green), Smalley, Naylor, Fisher, Higgins (c), Parillon, Stanford, Coar (Eastwood), Williams, Taylor (Brees).
Lancaster City: Fearon, Henry, Nightingale, Duggan, Marshall (c) (Johnson), Kenyon, S Wilson, R Wilson, Swarbrick, McKenna, Rothwell