Lancaster City boss Mark Fell demands response after loss
Lancaster City boss Mark Fell has demanded a reaction from his side after they dropped to fourth in the NPL Premier Division table on Saturday.
The Dolly Blues were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at Ashton United – a team fighting for survival.
It was the second defeat in a week for City, following on from their 2-1 loss to league leaders South Shields the previous weekend.
It all now means that Fell’s men have been overtaken by Basford United and FC United of Manchester in the play-off zone – and they are currently six points off the top having played three games more.
Fell admits he was surprised by the performance of his side against Ashton – something which he has become unaccustomed to.
“I was critical of the lads really,” said Fell. “I have watched the game back and we did have two absolute stonewall penalties turned down.
“But there was lots to be disappointed about and lots to be angry about.
“Looking at it, we still created chances but we just did not have that cutting edge.
“Some of our decision making was absolutely criminal.
“We were off the pace – at throw-ins, we were allowing them to throw the ball to feel unchallenged and that’s not what we are about.
“We are not that sort of team and I let the players know about it afterwards.
“I did not expect that from this group of players and I am looking for a good reaction this weekend.”
City will certainly need to be at their best this weekend when they host Warrington Town at Giant Axe.
The Wire are just a place and two points below them in the table and Fell knows his men could do with the three points to keep the teams below them at bay.
They will be boosted by the return of Sam Bailey from suspension but Lewis Femsome faces a spell on the sidelines after a scan revealed he has suffered a broken leg and striker Matty Blinkhorn is an injury doubt.
“We have just got to stay in and around it,” said Fell, who believes the title is still not out of the question for his men.
“We lost last weekend but we are still in the same position as we were before because South Shields lost against Witton.
“I would say they were actually better last season that they are this season
“They have a tough game this weekend against Stalybridge and they will drop points.
“We are quite capable of going on a run. Earlier this season we won 11 out of 13 games. So it is possible although it’s going to be a big ask.
“We know Warrington is going to be a tough game – we know what they are about and that is they are one of the best teams in the division.
“They have probably not had the season which they were expecting.
“They were a super play-off game away from being in the National League North this season.
“They have drawn a lot of games this season, although they have not lost a lot.”
Fell is due to undergo an operation later this month but the boss revealed he is unlikely to miss any games.
The keyhole surgery is likely to take place around the club’s LFA Challenge Trophy semi-final against Atherton Collieries, which could see Fell take a backseat role for that match.