New face due today

Social media is buzzing this morning with news of a new signing for Lincoln City, and although names haven’t been available, it seems fair to assume that the player in question is going to be a centre forward.

The departure of Theo has left us a little light up top, and despite Jack Muldoon’s goal on Tuesday night I think it’s clear that we do need to bring in some reinforcements up front. Whilst the FA Cup maybe be just one more game, there’s a strong chance of progress in the FA Trophy and even big Rheady can’t play every game.

So, if we assume it is a forward coming in, then it might be safe to assume that it is someone DC already knows of. He states he only brings in players after conducting ‘due diligence’, and therefore whoever is driving up to the Bank this morning will already be on our radar. There is a good chance he will have been on fan’s radar too.

One name that keeps getting bandied about is Ricky Miller, I’ll be honest I suspect there’s more chance of platting fog than signing the controversial Dover striker. They reportedly rebuffed a big bid from Bristol Rovers a couple of days ago, the Gas were looking to replace Matt Taylor who moved across the City. Jim Parmenter obviously thinks it is more important to push for the play-offs than to cash in on his star asset. It’s likely he’ll head to Peterborough in the summer, but it’s unlikely he’s currently in his car coming up the A1.

Another name in the frame is fellow former Boston striker, Dayle Southwell. He has been out injured for four months and only returned to training in the last couple of weeks. After joining Wycombe he went nine games without a goal before netting for the Chairboys in their 1-0 win over Stevenage in September. Since then they’ve pressed on with a play-off challenge, and Southwell may need to get games under his belt elsewhere.

Any move for Southwell would only be a loan deal, it is highly unlikely Gareth Ainsworth would let the striker leave so soon after signing. It’s a good shout on social media though, Southwell is well known to Danny Cowley and was reportedly close to signing in the summer. He’s a local lad too, hailing from Grimsby, and he’ll be known to a few of our players. Given this he would seem like a strong addition to the squad, if Wycombe are willing to let him go.

Any speculation outside of these two is purely that: speculation. Rumoured targets Nicke Kabamba and Simeon Akinola both moved on in January without surfacing in Lincoln, and on Tuesday night Jonny Margetts did the same thing. Danny was linked with Louis Theophanous in January, but there’s a suspicion this was more mindless speculation than solid rumour.

Either way it is unusual for social media not to have a sniff of who it might be, and my two pennies worth is no more than anyone else already does or doesn’t know. Could it be Dayle Southwell? He’d certainly be a popular shout after his goal scoring exploits at Boston.

Whoever it is, you can be assured that DC and NC will have studied him meticulously, his fitness, his work rate, his blood group and probably his GCSE results as well. No stone left unturned as we march on towards the Football League.

Theo leaves 

Fervent negotiations took place pitch side after the Imps fine 1-0 win over Solihull Moors. Theo Robinson wasn’t due to be at the ground having withdrawn from the squad for personal reasons. He emerged later in the game in the stands, and at the end of the game he entered into talks with Danny, with Kevin Cooke involved as well.

In the hours after the match it was confirmed he had joined back up with Southend Utd.

Despite the excitement Danny firstly praised Jack Muldoon for his goal and performance, and the post match shenanigans shouldn’t detract from a great performance by the centre forward.

After leaving Michael Hortin briefly to indulge in further discussions, he returned to confirm that Theo was the subject of interest from other clubs, but couldn’t confirm what exactly was happening. He did clearly state that he will never pay a player more than he’s worth, and he won’t pay a player more than his other players. Was this a barbed reference to Theo’s demands?

A passionate and less guarded Danny spoke of how proud he was to be associated with Lincoln City, and of how he only wanted players at the club who were proud to play for them. Essentially he spoke of no player being bigger than the team, and it seemed from his tone he was letting his passion spill through. He is always a measured and thoughtful man, but his words came across much more honest, and for want of a better word, raw.

So the search for a new striker starts / continues as our FA Cup hero leaves. The nature of his departure will doubtless sour the relationship he had with Imps fans, especially with the financial undertones. 

I’d like to thank Theo for his efforts and goals, and wish him every luck staying onside in the Football League. 

 

FA Cup Fifth Round: Who do you want?

As the (moon) dust settles on Sincil Bank after a historic weekend, attention will quickly turn to Monday’s draw for the last 16 of the FA Cup. For the first time since tractors have been used in fields (I shit you not), Lincoln City will feature. The pertinent question is, who do you want to play?

As a self-respecting blogger I obviously have my own favourites. For information, the line up is as follows:

1: Spurs
2: Derby or Leicester
3: Oxford
4: Sutton
5: Wolves
6: Arsenal
7: Danny Cowley’s Moon Stompers
8: Chelsea
9: Man Utd
10: Millwall
11: Huddersfield
12: Burnley
13: Blackburn
14: Fulham
15: Middlesbrough
16: Man City

The first question I ask is who we do not want to face? The obvious calls are sides such as Derby or Leicester, Millwall, Huddersfield and Fulham. These are sides that are likely to field full strength teams for a chance to get to the quarter finals, and perhaps wouldn’t be such a big draw for the fans. I was underwhelmed with Oldham, Brighton and Ipswich at the time, although the day out at Ipswich felt decidedly Premier League once we were there. That said, I don’t want to see one of the ‘little big’ clubs coming out against us.

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Setting up the big money Fifth Round clash

 

I think we’d benefit much more from an away tie. Despite the fact we’re last 16, I still maintain we are not going to win the cup. Therefore the focus has to be on the financials, and all of the fans who want to get to a game being able to go. In that respect we certainly don’t want Man Utd at Sincil Bank, can you imagine how many ‘new’ fans would suddenly want tickets? I’ve heard of die-hard Imps missing out on tickets against Ipswich and Brighton. A big club at the Bank, as nice as it would be, would cause too many logistical problems. Besides, who wants half the takings from a 9,500 crowd when you can have half of 40,000+?

I would quite like to have an away trip to London, Chelsea in particular. My Dad has always had a soft spot for Chelsea, and I’d be up for another weekend in London (after Welling next Saturday). There shouldn’t be to many problems getting a ticket either. I wouldn’t be too fussed if it was Arsenal or Spurs, both would represent the sort of day out we’ve earned, but definitely not Fulham. We want a team that we haven’t seen in League action at the Bank in the last 20 years really, the only exception perhaps being Man City if we were to head up north. The Man City of today is very different from the side we turned over three times in the late 1990’s.

Of course any of the big clubs on the list would make for a nice day out. It wouldn’t be my first trip to Old Trafford if we were to draw the red half of Manchester, and at least with United you know you’re going to get on the TV! It is crucial that whoever we draw gives us the chance to be one of the televised games, and with Sutton progressing it does half our chances of featuring. If we pull Huddersfield and they pull Arsenal, you know we may not  see that cool quarter of a million pounds that gets handed out for the chosen games.

The other draw that I know people probably don’t want would actually be Sutton. The opportunity for a non-league club to progress to the quarter finals would lead to even more exposure than we seen already, and without being insulting to our National League rivals it would be the most winnable game we’ve played in the competition since Altrincham in the first round proper. This wouldn’t bring the financial reward in terms of attendance, but it might present an opportunity to progress to the quarter finals. Can you imagine that? Little old Lincoln City in the last eight of the FA Cup? That said would we want all of our heroics to count for nothing as we went down 2-1 at Gander Green Lane?

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photo: Graham Burrell

 

The same could be said for Oxford. They’re not flying high in League One, they’re stranded almost ten points clear of safety and are a similar margin short of the play-offs. They would represent a more winnable game again, and although it wouldn’t be the glamour draw many people crave, it might be a springboard to a far greater prize.  We might not have been in the fifth round since Shredded Wheat was invented, but we’ve never been in the last eight of the competition.

I know the draw is completely random, and predicting who we’ll get is pointless, but I’m going to do it anyway. I think we’ll end up drawn against Blackburn or Burnley. Blackburn might present yet another chance to smash a Championship club, but Burnley (along with Middlesbrough) will see the FA Cup as a chance to get their hands on some silverware, and perhaps salvage some pride from an otherwise non-descript season. Both would present a very difficult challenge.

In fairness whoever we get, wherever we travel to, it’s a bonus. At the start of the season I would have taken the FA Trophy last 16 and a play off spot, and going into February we’re still in more competitions than Liverpool and West Ham combined. Last season it was LCFC of Leicester shocking everyone, this year it might be the LCFC wearing red and white that cause the monumental upsets.

So until tomorrow I’m going to put all talk of the FA Cup on hold. I’ve had a sniff of a scarf being waved in the next 24-48 hours, so maybe we’ll have something to discuss before the 7pm showcase. Immediately after we won’t rest on our laurels either as we have a massive, massive clash with Solihull Moors in which a win will see us retake a four point lead at the top.

The FA Cup might be securing our long term financial future, but the absolute best way to do that will be to win the National League, and I’d happily take Millwall away, buried in the banality of a 3pm non-televised kick off, if it meant us winning on Tuesday night.

It’s match day

Match day – by guest writer Matthew Wilson 


It’s 9am on Saturday 28th January 2017. I’ve just negotiated the logistical nightmare of 2 children engaged in different activities at opposite ends of the city and I’m now sat in my car on the Allenby industrial estate writing this on my phone.

I’m nervous, excited, on edge and so much more. A plethora of emotions coursing through me as every possible outcome fizzes around inside my head. I’ve spoken with plenty of people this week about what this afternoon might hold. A lot has been made of Brightons premier league push and the FA cup being a sideshow. How Chris Houghton will send out his ‘B’ team, his focus purely being achieving premier league status. But what about our own push for football league status? As for the FA cup being a sideshow, seriously? In my eyes we’re still in the greatest cup competition in the world. Yes, it could be considered a distraction but what a distraction to have. Look at the coverage our team and city are getting. It’s incredible. Little old Lincoln is all over the national media. They’re talking about us, Lincoln City Football Club.

By tea time tonight it will all be done and dusted. Might there be an away day to Brighton? (I’ve 2 holiday days left at work just in case) Could the Imps smash it and head into the last 16 dreaming of premier league opposition?

I’m not even going to think about the 3rd possibility because come 3pm today, when that whistle goes, it’s 11v11 for 90 minutes. Can our 11 heroes in red and white (alright one in pink. Love you Paul!) puff their chests out and stand once more to be counted? I think so. Can we, the supporters, raise the roof on Sincil Bank once more and drive them into the next round? Definitely. This is the FA cup and we are Lincoln City.

Half Time Analysis: Barrow

City trail promotion hopefuls Barrow 1-0 at half time at Holker Street.

A sparse crowd haven’t been treated to a game of football as yet. Barrow are efficient at what they do, but their tactics have prevented Lincoln from getting a foothold in the match.

The goal will anger Danny and Nicky immensely. The ball simply should not have been allowed to drop in the six yard box as it did. Whether Farms should have come for it, or whether a defender should have had it is up for debate, but either way it is sloppy.

Barrow should be down to ten men. As per a tweet I’ve just received it is either accidental and not a foul, or it is deliberate and it’s a red. There’s no middle ground, and a yellow card indicates he has bottled the big decision.

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Currently delivering the team talk

 

At the moment I can’t see how Lincoln will get back into the game, but rest assured the two men paid to plot our tactics will make a change to our approach. We’ve seen poor first halves before, and often a frsh Lincoln come out for the second half.

For my money, FA Cup Theo has been anonymous and I can’t see him shining in a game of this type. I’d like to see Muldoon replace him, he’s a far more robust striker who an hold his own better against the aggressive defending.

If we’re going to win this I can’t see the whipped ball into the box being the route to take second half. We look to get joy out wide, and I think perhaps a marauding midfielder might get some joy. Elliott Whitehouse might be a good option if we choose to make a change in personnel. The ball is bypassing midfield regularly, so (if it were me) I’d be tempted to pull Power out.

I’m not being too negative though, we knew what we’d expect from Barrow and I don’t seethem changing tact at all in the second period.

More memories than Facebook

There’s a ‘popular’ feature on Facebook that shows you memories from yesteryear and gives you the option to share them with your friends. I fear that this season we’re getting so many memories with Lincoln City that the social media giant might need more hard drive space to store them all on.

In fact I feel like us fans might need one of those pensieve things that Dumbeldore has in his office at Hogwarts to save all our recollections of the season in. I’m pretty sure that as the season progresses we’re going to run out of space in our limbic systems (that’s the area of the brain that stores memories for those amongst you that are not brain surgeons).

As Nathan Arnold collected that world class pass from Adam Marriott I could feel something being squeezed out just to accommodate that immense feeling of elation that we experienced as a collective. Therefore I want to provide a bit of a service and highlight five things from this season so far that should forever be etched into our minds.

August 4th, 2016

The first unforgettable moment should be the day that Danny managed to beat social media, and unveiled a star signing that has helped influence our season. Nobody guessed Sean Raggett was Lincoln bound, I suspect not even Sean Raggett himself. One phone call and a brief Facebook live later and we had nabbed the prized jewel from Dover’s defensive crown from under the noses of Barrow or Tranmere (depending on which rumour you believe).

It was a seminal moment that may have been forgotten as ‘just another day’, but it signalled the level of respect that non-league footballers have for our management team. It was the moment it became apparent that we were big hitters in the National League transfer market, a team attractive enough to tempt the very best this level has to offer. Sean has gone on to form a terrifying central defensive unit with Luke Waterfall, and a clean sheet against Championship opposition demonstrated that better than anything else could.

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Alex Woodyard on the ball against North Ferriby

 

August 9th, 2016

The night something changed, a night that I will remember for just as long as our win over Ipswich. It was the night I saw queues outside Sincil Bank for the first time in five years. It was the night we turned up and turned it on against a team we should be thrashing in resounding style. It was the night we first got a glimpse of what this team that Danny built is all about. It may only have been North Ferriby, it may only have been the second game but it was our biggest home win since October 2006 and it was in front of a (then) bumper crowd. It was three nil before I’d really settled into my seat, and as we cheered a further three goals the feeling that things were about to get exciting couldn’t be over ridden.

October 25th, 2016

The Imps beat Boreham Wood 2-0, and although it may seem a routine win it was a real test of our credentials. Boreham Wood had a superb away record at the time, and City had won three, drawn three and lost two of our last eight games. It had the potential to label us as bona fida promotion hopefuls, or taint us as outside play off chasers. Of course it was Nathan Arnold who started it all off in the 45th minute, and that goal gave us the confidence to push on and get a second through the big man. It will be a night that is forgotten by many in favour of far more fashionable memories, but the importance of that result should not be under estimated.

November 19th, 2016

It was my 38th birthday, and unable to travel to Forest Green I watched it on the TV with my Dad. City put us through the ringer and back with an average display for an hour or so. Forest Green raced into a 2-0 lead and despite us looking no worse than them we seemed on course to trail the championship hopefuls by 12 points. Very few of you will ever forget those last few minutes, after Alex Woodyard had registered his first goal of the season it fell to Luke and Sean to snatch first the draw, and then the unlikely win. The result left just six points between us, a deficit that we overturned as quickly as it had developed. It remains to be seen whether FGR can properly bounce back from this result, their visit to Sincil Bank at the end of March might be too late for them to think of doing the same to us.

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Wood, Marriott and Rhead all celebrate as FGR are beaten at the New Lawn.

 

Saturday 7th January, 2017

One aspect of our wonderful win against Ipswich on Tuesday might be that the efforts of the side in the first leg get over looked. Drawing at Portman Road at the start of the year was (at the time) the single biggest result we had achieved in terms of profile and, of course cash. 5,000 travelled to watch Theo Robinson add colour to the picture the fans had painted for ourselves. We shouldn’t have even needed the replay to finish off the 1978 FA Cup winners, and when we recount our heroics it must not be forgotten what a superb result it was to go away to a much higher ranked team and forcing the draw.

So there we go, five memories I’d like to put in my pensieve to be remembered forever. I could have gone for Rheady’s late winner at Torquay, or Macauley Bonne netting to down Tranmere. I feel almost rude to not include the battling 10 man win against Wrexham against all the odds in a match that showed the other side to our character, the battling and fighting qualities that go alongside the skill and flair upfront. The fine 3-2 win over Oldham pales in insignificance now, but at the time that was a night to remember also.

I suspect come May of this year we’ll have a few more to add, and I pray every single night that by then we can remember an FA Trophy trip to Wembley and our first league title since 1988.

Imps v Ipswich – The Players (part 1)

You would have to have spent the last 24 hours off your face on drugs not to know that Lincoln City beat Ipswich last night. Record crowd, another giant killing by our red and white heroes and extensive national exposure. Aside from appearing in every national paper (I can’t confirm the Scum though, I won’t ever buy it. I assume they reported on the game) we’ve even had a mention in the House of Commons today with Tory-boy McCartney asking Teresa May to congratulate us.

It would be pointless of me to try and write anymore about the achievement, when fourth round football last happened and all the other related stuff you’ve seen floating around the internet. I’ve heard there is a half decent match report here if you fancy reading it again. If not, click on it anyways eh? I’m keen for the guys at the Lincolnite to know it isn’t just me who thinks there is a gap in the market for sports coverage in Lincoln.

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I was too busy taking notes and cheering on my team to take photographs last night. Here’s one.

Anyway I wanted to go through each of our players one by one and do some analysis. It’s a formulaic blog, a list of players with me saying how great they were, but I’m sure it’s worth a read anyway.

Paul Farman

Farms didn’t have a great amount to do last night, that was a testament to the defence and how utterly appalling the so-called Championship side were. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed us breaking play up by using him as an outlet much more. On a couple of occasions last night he was almost sold short with an eager ball back to him, but his kicking was exemplary. He had one real save of note to make from Josh Emmanuel, a parry which we cleared immediately. He did face a drive from the former man of the moment, Tom Lawrence, but he stopped it with ease. Despite a mistake at Guiseley over the Christmas period, in the main he has been this solid all season.

Bradley Wood

Combative, aggressive, committed, hard-as-granite and a consummate professional. I think that sums Brad up, and he displayed every one of those qualities last night. I noticed a couple of really strong tackles from him on Tom Lawrence, one early in the second half which left the Leicester man prone on the turf. The referee didn’t book Brad, but you have to wonder if he managed to get inside Lawrence’s head. He won three Player of the Year trophies last season for playing exactly as he did last night. I know there’s a call for him to return to midfield and for Sean Long to fill in at full back, but for me Brad is a right back and that’s where he should stay.

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More balls than Lancelot and Guinevere put together.

Sam Habergham

Our Radio Lincolnshire commentary team often say Sam is a steady seven out of ten every match. In his last three appearances I think he’s been approaching the realms of nine out of ten. Sam is a clever player and even after ninety minutes against Gateshead he looked fit and fresh last night. I liked his link up with Terry Hawkridge, Sam often found he could roam forward as Terry dropped in nicely for him. Sam is a composed and intelligent footballer, miles ahead of Ipswich’s left sided player, Knudsen. If scouts were watching last night I’d wager Sam was one who caught their eye as being a potential Championship player.

Luke Waterfall

The very basics for a centre back are an ability to head it away when it comes at you in the air or kick it away when it is on the ground. You need to be able to chase and tackle too, and our captain can do all of those things with ease. The Championship attackers couldn’t find a way past our defensive wall of two bricks, and as one half of that wall Waterfall was absolutely superb. He also offers something going forward, his effort late in the first half should (and on any other day would) have yielded an opening goal. I find it incredible that this is the centre half who was kept out of the side for a spell last season by Chris Bush and Jamie McCombe. He is perhaps the one player I’d say has improved the most under Danny and Nicky, and he if continues to play like this every week then he’ll get his hands on at least one piece of silverware this season.

Sean Raggett

The other half of our defensive wall, and he gets exactly the same plaudits as the man I’ve just written about. He does the basics but can also get forward, although last night it was Luke who offered the attacking options. Sean tends to carry the ball out, more akin to perhaps Rio Ferdinand whereas Luke is a touch more like Steve Bruce. They’re bold comparisons to make, but in the context of their contribution to Lincoln City I think they’re fair. I thought Raggett would be one to be tapped up in the January transfer window, but I’m sure any scouts wouldn’t know which of the two was the stand out performer.

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Players like Alex Woodyard come around once in a generation.

Alex Woodyard

Early in the first half Alex put a stray pass into the path of Tom Lawrence who (obviously) missed the chance, but I must confess to being delighted. I think Alex is the heartbeat of the side, a player who has a hand in eighty per cent of everything good that we do, and to see him make an uncharacteristic slip gave me hope that a scout might overlook him in favour of one of our other players. An awful lot of armchair scouts (potentially four million I’m told) got to see out players last night, and when one so crucial makes an error it gives hope they might be ignored. The sad thing for me was that for the remaining seventy odd minutes of the game he was excellent. With Alex you know exactly what you’re going to get, he’s like Bradley in that respect. He ghosted in well for his headed chance, and alongside Mr Power he bossed the midfield with aplomb. I get a sense that wherever Danny and Nicky go, Alex will follow (or stay) and so their new contracts hopefully signal the same for this incredibly talented and humble young man.

Alan Power

If I was picking a man of the match I would be tempted to select our club captain. I thought Power was beyond outstanding last night, he played as if he was shaking off the demons of the last five years of hell. I remember watching him chasing every ball in a Gary Simpson side where nine other players didn’t seem to be up for the fight, he often looked frustrated and angry. Last night his efforts were matched across the park and he thrives in those conditions. He’s had a tough journey even this season, and more than any of the players I was delighted to see the smile on his face at the end. He cleared the free kick for Marriott to break, he teed up the half volley for Hawkridge to strike at goal and he threw himself into last ditch challenges on more occasions than I care to remember. Results like last night’s start to give him the iconic status that his 200+ (and counting) outings deserve. Never write this man off.

Part two coming up later this evening

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LINCOLN CITY WHO’S WHO 1993-2016

Bridging gaps and creating history

In the FA Cup third round tonight, Lincoln City created history. The players currently wearing the red and white stripes are making us as proud as any team since the era of the late, great Graham Taylor.

Firstly please take the time to read my report on The Lincolnite. Being asked to write for them this week is hopefully the start of a career in writing for me, and it’s as important to me that you read that as it is this blog. Thank you.

Now, what can I possibly say in addition to what 9069 fans saw? That is a record attendance for Sincil Bank as an all-seater stadium, and of those seats very few were spare. Aside from the Ipswich end I couldn’t see a spare seat in the house, and if you needed further proof you should have tried going to the toilet at half time. I’ve never had to queue to get OUT of a toilet before.

So it was busy, but how could our heroes possibly better the result of ten days ago? Coming within six minutes of knocking a Championship side out is one thing, but doing it all again once they know how you approach a game is different isn’t it?

Unfortunately for the Tractor Boys it isn’t. They seemed to approach the game in exactly the same manner as the first match, let us play our game and occasionally try and display some class. The issue comes when you don’t really have the class to display, and tonight even the enigmatic Tom Lawrence was quiet. If I had to pick an Ipswich man of the match I’d be hard pushed, they were ineffective and devoid of ideas. I said before that Mick McCarthy and Ipswich were a union that had run it’s course, and the powder puff display from the ‘championship’ side tonight really underlined that.

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If Ipswich knew what was coming I’d imagine they’d get back on the coach

 

As for Lincoln, once again we were superb to a man. It would be almost remiss to name individuals, but special mention has to go to the two wide men, Hawkridge and Arnold. We all know of Arnold’s class, but since Harry Anderson left I think Terry has come on in leaps and bounds. Tonight he was outstanding, much as he was on Saturday. His work ethic is unbelievable and his tracking back made it possible for Sam Habergham to occasionally roam forward. Those two combined as well as Bradley Wood and Arnold on the other flank, and they were a constant threat.

Matt Rhead was another player who had an outstanding game. Christophe Berra will be waking up in cold sweats for weeks to come from the nightmares that big Rheady gave him. They didn’t have an answer to his physical approach, but when required he played neat passes and showed clever touches. I thought these two games might be where Rheady got ‘found out’, but instead he’s shone through and has been a key component in both results.

Everyone was superb this evening, I was really please for Alan Power who showed the watching nation the qualities that I have seen in him every week. Alex Woodyard covered every inch of the pitch twice, and that was just in the first half. Farms made himself available at every opportunity, the centre halves defended everything that came their way and the hero from ten days ago, Theo Robinson, worked harder than an eight year old in a Chinese sweat shop.

I imagined when Freddie Sears and Andre Dozzell came on that we would see Ipswich up the ante. Tom Lawrence had been quiet, not least after a nice little reducer from Bradley Wood, but I thought the introduction of the only other to players to impress me from Portman Road would pay dividends towards the end of the match. Instead it was our own impact sub, Adam Marriott who once again turned the game.

He carried the ball forward superbly, and his weighted pass through to Nathan Arnold was inch perfect. Arnold had to keep his cool, but under pressure there is nobody as cool as the former Cambridge man. I’ve watched the goal over and over already, and the joy when that ball hits the back of the net cannot be replicated. To witness it in the flesh was just reward for the years of torment we’ve endured, ad although it is just another chapter in the over story of our season, it is perhaps one of the most memorable.

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I was too damn excited to take any decent photos.

 

Immediately after the game I found myself writing my match report in the car for the Lincolnite, and every since I sent send I’ve found myself singing ‘allez, allez, allez ooh’, as loud as I can. My missus is in bed now, my neighbours are asleep and I’ve had to turn the laptop speakers down just to watch the highlights again, and again, and again.

I must also mention the pleasure it gave me to hear Chris Sutton get a round off booing capped off with a fine rendition of ‘you’re a winker’ (or something similar). It warms my heart to know many of the 9,000 fans remembered what a significant part he played in putting us in this league in the first place.

The last manager to take Lincoln City to the FA Cup Fourth Round was Mr Graham Taylor, and there is perhaps a dark irony that he received two separate minutes applause, as well as a dedication form the 617. The only other manager to achieve it was Bill Anderson, and along with Taylor he also guided Lincoln to a league championship. Danny Cowley has already achieved one of those feats, and before we face Brighton in round four, he could secure us six crucial National League points to keep us on track for another championship.

After tonight I wouldn’t bet against them achieving it, we have a special group of players at the club, led by a special backroom team headed up by two very special brothers. After all of the years of suffering recently, our special fans deserve nights like tonight.

Enjoy it Imps, wherever you are.

Just seven hours to go

There’s lots of fervour around Sincil Bank today as we approached our moment in the spotlight, our 8.00pm date with BBC One.

Many are touting it as the biggest match of the season, but in reality, it isn’t anywhere close. In terms of what is at stake, Forest Green away and Tranmere at home were certainly much bigger. Tonight is all about enjoyment, it’s a moment to savour in front of a full crowd and a partisan home support.

I don’t believe there is any pressure on the boys to go out and win the game. Ipswich were expected to beat us in the first match and they’ll be hot favourites again this evening. You would hope that perhaps they’ll be a bit more prepared having seen first-hand how good we are, and if their weekend result is anything to go by then we have a fight on our hands. We knew that anyway.

The game will be won or lost around a couple of key battles. Firstly, we will need to keep Tom Lawrence under lock and key. Danny Cowley spoke of the danger from all areas of the park, and although he is right we know from experience it is the Leicester loanee who poses the biggest threat.

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For Lincoln, it will be the physicality of Matt Rhead up front that dictates how successful we are going forward. Ipswich struggled to contain the big man ten days ago, and that left all sorts of space for Robinson, Hawkridge and Arnold to exploit. If they struggle with him again then I’d wager, we will at least register a goal.

From me there’s no expectation and no real pressure to get a positive result. The only thing we do expect to see from the players is a committed and combative approach to the match, something that has become a hallmark of a Cowley team. As long as we give it a go for 90 minutes (or 120 if the score requires it) then they will have done the City proud.

So I hope Bob and the board, Danny and the backroom staff, Big Rheady and the players all enjoy our night in the spotlight, and most of all I hope our wonderful fans (the hardcore 3,000 and the new faces) all enjoy the best attended match at Sincil Bank in 15 years.

Don’t forget to support your truly by reading my review on The Lincolnite