Lancaster City are hoping their fine run in the FA Trophy will spur them on in the league

Craig Stanley
Craig Stanley

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell put Saturday’s disappointing exit out of the FA Trophy as just one of those days when nothing seemed to go right.

The Dolly Blues were beaten 3-0 by National League North outfit Blyth Spartans in the first round proper of the competition at Giant Axe.

They ended the game with just nine players after Craig Stanley and Paul Dugdale were both sent off for professional fouls.

The scoreline, coupled with the horrendous weather conditions and an injury to Matty Blinkhorn, meant it was a miserable afternoon all around for City.

“It was just one of those days,” said Fell. The weather was some of the worst set of conditions I have ever seen.

“It got to the stage at one point with the wind where both goalkeepers were taking goal kicks and it was coming back to the edge of the penalty box.

“But it was the same for both sidesand they probably acquitted themselves a little bit better than what we did particularly in the first half.

“At half-time, I said to the players that we had an opportunity to get back into it.

“When we were on top, we missed two good chances and it’s the old saying of when you’re on top, you have to take your chances.

“We didn’t so didn’t get the result that we wanted.

“In the end their experience and quality saw them through.

“They are from the league above. They are a good side who are in good form at the moment.”

Fell felt his men were unlucky to be reduced to nine men and was also convinced Blyth should have been down to 10 men when the score was only 1-0.

“They should have had a man sent-off and then we had two sent off for last-man tackles,” Fell said.

“The first sending off there was cover and the second one was a long way outside of the box. So there was quite a few things which went against us on the day.”

The terrific run in the league has been a real tonic for City, especially with some of the quality sides they have beaten.

And now Fell is hoping that will aid his side over the busy Christmas period as they look to continue their ascent up the NPL Premier Division table.

Rock bottom when the new boss took over, he has presided over a steady incline and he is hoping the festive season will see the team put clear daylight between themselves and the teams occupying the relegation zone.

“It’s been great having the run in the Trophy,” said Fell. “It taken a little bit of the pressure away from the league.

“We’ve been able to go and have a free hit in the Trophy.games are. We are really looking forward to the Christmas period.

“It’s a great time for the players and the fans.

“They are getting a lot of football, a lot of product, but we know we will have to be on our game because we want to be coming out of it with real breathing space from the relegation zone.”

This weekend, City have a tough proposition in the shape of South Shields at home before welcoming Workington to Giant Axe on Boxing Day.

On New Year’s Day, they are at Marine and Fell also has his eyes on fixtures against Matlock Town and Mickleover Sports , which come in early January.

“It’s a good opportunity to pick up a lot of points over the next four or five games,” said Fell.

“South Shields is going to be tough. They are going well but I would like to think that being at home we will be in the game and looking to take all the points.On the injury front, Blinkhorn looks like he could be on the sidelines this weekend while Stanley and Dugdale will also be missing as they serve their one-match bans.

Defender Glen Steel could be available after a broken rib .