Lancaster City out to shock Darlington in FA Cup

Billy Akrigg.
Billy Akrigg.

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown wants his side to repeat their LFA Challenge Trophy final performance in their big FA Cup tie at Giant Axe on Saturday.

The Dolly Blues host a Darlington 1883 side two divisions above them in the second qualifying round with a bumper crowd expected.

Brown has drawn parallels with their penalty shoot-out defeat to Chorley, also of the National League North, at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium in March as they look to spring a shock this weekend.

The City chief said: “There’s no pressure on us.

“We can use the experience from the LFA final last year and try and put on a really good show in a one-off game.

“We were disciplined, focused and raised our game which is what we need to do again on Saturday.

“There’s some different players here now but the answer is the same.

“We’ve just got to give it our best shot.

“Everybody is really looking forward to it.”

With a rich Football League history, the reformed Darlington are a club back on the rise after financial problems, City having enjoyed some good battles with them in the Evo-Stik First Division North a couple of years ago.

A couple of promotions since then, and a strong start to the new season, means the Dolly Blues face a tough task on Saturday against Martin Gray’s seventh-placed side.

Brown said: “There’s a good vibe at Darlo and they are near the top of their league. 
“They’ll be bringing plenty of fans but we’ll have some home comforts.

“We’re not frightened or scared, we’ve got a gameplan and believe we can win the game and will just hope it’s our day.”

City head into the game on the back of a battling 2-1 win at Hyde on Saturday, Brown’s side having gone behind to an early Ayrton Bevins goal before Jacob Gregory and Oliver Crolla struck late on for the visitors.

The City boss said: “We had lots of opportunities to go under.

“We conceded the early goal, we had to get used to the 4G, we lost Billy Akrigg 20 minutes in and had to make an early change.

“Questions were asked but we kept fighting and stayed in the game.

“With the goals we’ve got in the team we’ve always got a chance and it was good to see two midfielders score on Saturday.”

The pitch and Hyde’s set-up made things difficult for Lancaster early on with Brown admitting his side were lucky not to go in at half-time further behind.

He said: “In the first half Hyde played really well.

“They kept their shape well and played the pitch well.

“They put us on the back foot with the early goal and we needed show a bit of spirit.

“Coming in 1-0 down was about as good as it could have been.

“Towards the end of the first half there were signs we were picking up and we had a chat at half-time about getting higher up the pitch.

“We made a couple of changes and changed the shape and it worked.

“We were much better and dominated the game in terms of chances.

“It was really pleasing to see us finish strongly.

“Hyde are a good side are were unbeaten in four at home without conceding a goal which shows how good a win it was.”

Akrigg is 50-50 for the Darlington game after rolling his ankle at Hyde while Danny Shearwood is unavailable.

Adam Robinson’s loan spell has ended and he has returned to Preston North End.