City boss had all but given up hope before Norris winner

Lancaster City FC manager Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North.
Lancaster City FC manager Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North.

Mark Fell admitted he had all but given up hope that his team would finally break down Atherton Collieries at the Giant Axe on Tuesday night.

The Dolly Blues boss felt his side had been the better side over the course of the match, but had failed to find a way through a resolute visitors’ defence.

But as the clock moved past 90 minutes, City found a winner – from the most unlikeliest of sources.

Thirty-eight-year-old midfielder David Norris popped up at the back post to head home Jack Armer’s enticing cross from the left.

Although a veteran of nearly 500 Football League appearances, the diminutive Norris – who stands at around 5ft8intall – was rarely known for his heading ability.

However, the former Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle player, turned up trumps in the final moments to hand City their second NPL Premeir Division win of the season so far.

“We had lots of great chances during the match,” said Fell. “We controlled the play apart from a 10 minute spell in the first half and one in the second.

“For about 20 minutes at the end of the first half, they never got out of their own half, the only thing missing was putting the ball in the net.

“I thought we had a couple of really good penalty appeals turned down as well.

“But we ended up having to rely on a 38-year-old to put away a header at the back post.

“During his career, he was known for every else except his heading.

“He’s only 5ft 8in and I don’t think he’s scored two many headers.

“But he got himself in the right area and got us the goal.

“We deserved it, but Atherton are a good side. They have got some good players.

“I think all three of the promoted teams have the potential to be top half this season.

“It was good to beat them and scoring in the last seconds is probably not good for the heart, but is the best way to win a game of football.”

After losing 4-1 at the hands of Basford United away on Saturday, Fell – who felt the scoreline flattered the Nottinghamshire outfit – decided to freshen his squad.

In came Lewis Fensome. Simon Wills, Sam Bailey and Luke Thompson for the visit of Atherton.

He added: “For the first three games of the season we were unchanged and with the benefit of hind sight, maybe some of the lads were blowing a bit on Saturday at Basford.

“We did not get the goal that we needed when we were on top and they caught us on the break when we were going for it.

“We freshened the team up for Atherton. Lewis Fensome came in at right back, Simon Wills played his first game – he had an operation in the summer and we just felt he was behind everybody in terms of fitness.

“Sam Bailey played and I thought he was man of the match.

“Luke Thompson played his first game for the club and did well.”

City have six points out of 12 from their opening four games of the season and Fell revealed they had targeted nine points from their first five.

A win at Gainsborough Trinity would see them hit that target amd Fell insisted he sees no reason why his men cannot got here and cause some problems.

Trinity are below City in the table having picked up four points.

“They have not had the best of starts to say they are probably one of the most well resourced clubs int he division,” Fells aid.

“They will be disapointed with their start but a few of the bigger clubs have not had a great start at all.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting league this yearand very competitive.”

Fell will welcome back striker Brad Carsley this weekend, who went down with a bout of tonsilitis on Monday, to his 20-man squad.