Lancaster City: Boss Phil Brown looks to the positives despite back-to-back defeats to start season

Lancaster City take on Matlock Town. Picture: Jez Tighe.
Lancaster City take on Matlock Town. Picture: Jez Tighe.

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown insists there is no doom and gloom despite his side starting the season with back-to-back defeats.

The Dolly Blues kicked off their NPL Premier Division campaign by going down 4-0 at Matlock Town on Saturday.

Warrington Town were then 3-1 winners at Giant Axe on Tuesday.

Brown however insists he is seeing progress with a difficult pre-season meaning his players had far from ideal preparation for the new season.

“I’m not going to lie, Matlock looked a yard quicker than us mentally and physically,” said the Blues boss.

“They were just more dynamic. The game changed with the first goal which was a dubious penalty but from then on I’ve got no complaints.

“I wanted a reaction on Tuesday and we were much better.

“We dominated the first phase and scored a good goal before being punished for our mistakes.

“There’s still work to do but our pre-season was disjointed due to postponements and our pitch not being ready.

“That’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. We only had one game in the final three weeks or something.

“I’m not kidding myself but I’m not down in the dumps and neither are the players.”

The City manager believes he will have a better idea of where his side are at come the end of the bank holiday weekend.

The Dollies travel to Nantwich Town on Saturday before hosting Marine on Monday with Brown trying to bed in a new approach this season.

“We’re trying to change the style of play from being solid and counter attacking to being more expansive,” he said.

“We saw more of that on Tuesday and if we’d got the second goal even their manager admitted we probably would have gone on to win.

“We made three mistakes and they scored three goals though.

“We just need to work on getting the balance right because we need to get the goals against down quickly.

“There’s no alarm bells but with four games in nine days to start the season I’ll know where we’re heading by then.

“If things aren’t improving then we might have to revise some things but I’ve told the players to keep believing, keep working hard, keep improving and when they’re at match pace results will come.

“I’m feeling positive.”

Brown’s cause at the start of the season hasn’t been helped by a number of injuries.

Sam Bailey’s appearance off the bench on the opening day at Matlock was his first action in two-and-a-half weeks due to tendonitis, while brother Charlie missed out with a groin problem on Tuesday night but should be fit for the weekend.

Paul Jarvis played the first 45 minutes against Matlock but is being managed carefully after his battle with cancer.

“We’ve got to be really careful with Paul,” Brown said.

“It’s not just the operation but he had a round of chemotherapy.

“Most of the players are catching up because of the pre-season problems and we have also had injuries to contend with as well.”