Dolly Blues looking for immediate response against Gainsborough after two successive defeats

Mark Fell has urged his Lancaster City side not to dwell on Saturday’s surprising defeat at Hyde United in the NPL Premier Division.
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The Dolly Blues crashed to a 5-2 defeat at Ewen Fields, which followed a 3-1 loss at home to Whitby the previous Tuesday.

The two results have put a dent in the club’s bid to hold on to a play-off position as the teams at the top end are starting to bunch .

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Just eight points separate second-placed Basford United and Scarborough Athletic, who are in eighth.

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony NorthLancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North

Ninth-placed Morpeth Town are five points further back but have several games in hand on all of the teams in front of them.

Out of the team’s currently in the top five, City’s spot looks particularly precarious as they have played more games than everybody else bar Scarborough.

“We did not expect that on Saturday,” said Fell, whose side remain fourth in the table. “We were hoping for a reaction after the Whitby team but it was a poor performance from us.

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“It was without doubt the worst performance of the season. We conceded some sloppy goals against Whitby but we were always still in the game, but we were well beaten by Hyde.

“If it had of been seven or eight, I couldn’t really have any complaints.

“I just put it down to one of those days. I am not making excuses or hiding from it, but we are not going to dwell on it.”

Fell insists with 10 games of their season left, matters are still very much in their hands.

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If history is anything to go by then the 70 point-mark is generally the standard teams with hopes of finishing inside the top six must reach.

That means City must accumulate 18 points from their run-in – something which Fell believes his team are more than capable of doing.

Indeed he believes catching South Shields at the top of the table is still within his team’s grasp if they can hit a purple patch over the final quarter of the season.

“We probably need to win around half of our games to get in the play-offs,” he said.“If past seasons are anything to go by then another six wins will get us in the play-offs. It’s that times of season when pressure does funny things to people.

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“We haven’t got anybody within our squad who has won promotion from this division to the next one.

“Obviously we have Matty Blinkhorn and David Norris who have won promotion in professional leagues and we need to draw on that experience.

“I am still not convinced South Shields will win this league – I think it’s open for somebody else including us. If we can together eight or nine wins then we have a chance.”

This weekend, City host Gainsborough Trinity at Giant Axe. They eased any relegation worries they may have with a 4-1 win over Radcliffe in midweek.

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“I think they will be okay,” said Fell. “Curtis Woodhouse is their manager so we know they are going to be a hard-working teams that will graft.”

City will be without Blinkhorn, who is unavailble, while Norris is suspended.

On Wednesday, the Dolly Blue takes on Atherton Collieries in their LFA Challenge Trophy semi-final at the County Ground. Kick-off is 7-45pm.