Change in tactics sees Lancaster City defeat title contenders South Shields

A tactical shift early in the first half paved the way for the biggest win of Lancaster City’s season.

By Craig Salmon
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 8:00 am

The Dolly Blues defeated NPL Premier Division big boys South Shields 1-0 at Giant Axe thanks to Charlie Bailey’s 20th minute strike.

But it was looking like it was going to be a long night for the hosts after the title contenders, who are in second spot in the table and managed by former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips, penned them back early on.

However, Fell tinkered with his team’s tactics which ultimately worked a treat as City got a grip of the game to send the full-time outfit packing.

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Charlie Bailey fires home the winner against South Shields

"Considering where we have been the last few weeks, it was a really enjoyable performance,” said Fell.

"To be honest, we out-thought them tactically. The first 10 minutes, they were right on us and we couldn’t get out of our own half.

"But we just made a couple of small changes. We stopped them from playing down the sides by splitting our strikers and we let their centre-halves have the ball, then all of a sudden we cut all their passing lines off.

"We were really disciplined and the difference was if they wanted to score, they had to break down our block and they couldn’t do it.”

The goal was a real moment of quality, with Charlie Bailey finishing off an excellent passage of play.

"Liam Brockbank clears his lines deep into Shields’ half for a throw-in,” said Fell. “We win the ball back in a high area and then you look at the move between Liam, Christian Sloan, with his little reverse pass into Charlie who finished well. It was a move of such high quality.”

The only disappointment for Fell was the result came with City down in a mid-table spot. Fell admits it will take miraculous run of result for the Dolly Blues to finish in the top five, but a win at eighth-placed Stafford Rangers on Saturday and victory over 10th-placed Morpeth at home on Tuesday could keep things interesting as the season heads towards its conclusion.

“We have eight games left and I think we will need to win all of our remaining games bar one, to have a chance,” Fell said. "We know it will have to be something unbelievable from us, but let’s just focus on Stafford Rangers. If we got out of these two games with wins, then the conversation could be interesting next week.”

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