Lancaster boss Mark Fell thrilled by performance of youngster Sam Fishburn - Dolly Blues head to Grantham Town this weekend

As debuts go, Sam Fishburn could not have dreamed of a better start to his Lancaster City career.

The 17-year-old youngster was signed on loan from League Two outfit Carlisle United ahead of the Dolly Blues’ league clash at Witton Albion on Tuesday night.

He was only introduced to his new team-mates shortly before kick-off but none of that fazed him as he notched two goals to help City enjoy a 3-2 success.

It was a great morale-booster for the team, especially after they had opened their NPL Premier Division campaign with a narrow 1-0 loss at home to Whitby Town.

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell (photo:Tony North)

Boss Mark Fell was absolutely thrilled with Fishburn’s contribution – even suggesting he could have ended the match with a hat-trick to his name.

“He did really well,” said Fell. “He’s just a boy – he’s only 17.

“But I had spoken to Gavin Skelton, who is the assistant manager at Carlisle, a couple of times about him because he had been recommended to us.

“He was probably one of them that we would look at later on in the season to provide us with some reinforcements.

“But as things have developed, we are without Matty Blinkhorn and with Tom Kilifin getting injured, we ultimately had to bring him in to lead the line.

“What a mature performance from him.

“He was playing against Steve McNulty who was winning the League Two play-off final two years ago with Tranmere.

“He was up against three strong centre halves but he managed them all well and scored two great goals.

“He had a one-on-one which would have been his hat-trick and made it 4-1 for us but we could not have asked for a much better start from him.”

Fell was also pleased to see his side respond well after the blow of losing in front of their own fans at the weekend.

An early goal from Whitby coupled with a red card shown to Niall Cowperthwaite on the half-hour mark meant City were unable to get their campaign off to the best possible start.

“I thought we got some bad press on Saturday,” said Fell. “You read some of the comments – social media is always full of it after a game.

“But we played without a striker because of injuries and unavailability.

“We knew it was going to be a little bit tougher and yes we probably did fall a little bit below our usual standards.

“But nobody would have batted an eyelid, especially as we played with 10 men for 65/70 minutes of the game.

“So I wasn’t too down about it. It was the first game of the season and the first time I have ever lost the first game of any season in 10 years of management.

“But we won last night and deservedly so and if we win on Saturday then that’s two points per game, so it’s a good start.”

This weekend, City travel to Grantham Town who have opened the campaign in similar fashion to City – winning one and losing one.

Interestingly, their manager is former England, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Carlton Palmer.

“They have a new-look side so it’s probably not a bad time to play them,” said Fell. “But saying that, new sides are often full of exuberance and energy which can go far.

“They are managed by Carlton Palmer which makes it interesting but it’s a another place we generally play well at.”

City will be without Kilifin as well as Ben Hudson who is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

On Tuesday, they are at home to Stalybridge Celtic.

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