Saturday, 22 January 2011

Stockport County v Lincoln City, 22 January 2011

Venue: Edgeley Park, Stockport
Final score:3-4

A dramatic afternoon at Edgeley Park this afternoon between two of the league’s bottom teams saw a tense 7 goal thriller and the Imps gain a vital 3 points.  Even though they still sit bottom of the table, the light at the end of the tunnel is shining a little bit brighter.  The thought of how the table would look had the Imps drawn or lost this afternoon is one that Imps fans can fortunately now put out of their minds.

Imps manager Steve Tilson had strengthened his squad in midweek with the arrival on loan of Notts County defender Stephen Hunt and Sunderland goalkeeper Trevor Carson, both of whom went straight into the starting 11 in an attempt to boost the Imps’ leaky defence.  The inclusion of Carson was due to an injury to regular keeper Joe Anyon, but because of recent shaky performances some Imps fans will be forgiven for feeling a slight relief that a new keeper was taking his place for such an important game.  Scott Kerr once again began on the bench, joined by usual starter Albert Jarrett.

The match started in promising fashion for City with the in-form Grimes adding to his recent streak of long range finishes with a 25 yard lob over keeper Glennon.  It was the perfect start for the Imps, but far from the end of the goalmouth action.

It was a lively opening period, with both keepers tested and both sides desperate to claim the initiative.  City were forced into an early change, however, when Carayol limped off to be replaced by Kerr.

Stockport brought the match level on 25 minutes when Tansey’s freekick was parried by Carson, but only as far as Griffin who poached the equalizer.

The remainder of the first half was a tight affair, with neither side able to seize the initiative until injury time.  A freekick was lofted to the far post, where Danny Hone won his header to put the ball back into the box where his central defensive partner Adam Watts was waiting to stab home from close range.  City went into the half time break the more buoyant side with a 2-1 lead.

The second half started with a long injury break to Stockport’s Tansey, who was ultimately able to continue.  Despite this, the half began quietly, with little goalmouth action.  This changed on the hour mark though as Lincoln extended their lead.  McCallum was put through one on one with Glennon, but showed good awareness to slide the ball to Grimes, who slotted home his second of the afternoon.

Imps fans began to breathe easier, and the prospect of a vital win now seemed a distinct possibility.  Such thoughts were soon dispelled though as City’s defensive frailties were once again exposed just 3 minutes later.  Poole was allowed to break free in the box to fire past Carson to make it 3-2.  A match that had seemed in City’s control now seemed liable to swing the other way.

Just 2 minutes after the restart the net would bulge again, in the form of Grimes claiming his first hattrick for the Imps after picking up on a loose ball after Howell’s shot was saved by Glennon.  It was the first hattrick by an Imps player since Jamie Forrester in 2006, and proof of just how vital Grimes will be to the Imp’s survival prospects this season.

The match once again opened up, with the Imps trying to get a fifth to finish the game off, and Stockport desperate to get back in contention.  When a drive from Demontagnac clipped off Watts to wrongfoot Carson, the match had its seventh and final goal as Stockport pulled it back to 4-3.  Once again the Imps had let the two goal lead slip, and once again Imps fans feared the worst.

City had chances to extend their lead again at the death, through the bustling Delroy Facey.  First he had a goal disallowed for offside, then fired agonizingly wide.  The final whistle brought relief for City fans though, as the vital and deserved three points were claimed.

The result still leaves City at the foot of the table, but now level with Hereford on points and only two away from Stockport with games in hand on all of the teams above them, including a huge 5 games in hand over Stockport.  With Hereford selling their talismanic striker Manset in midweek and City picking up this vital and morale-boosting win, the race to avoid the drop seems far from over this evening.

27. Matt Glennon
. Adam Griffin
. Mansour Assoumani
. Matthew Grieve
. Andy Halls
. Paul Turnbull
. James Vincent
. Greg Tansey
. Ishmel Demontagnac
. David Poole
. Anthony Elding
19. Tom Fisher for Vincent (61)
. Robbie Williams for Grieve (86)
. Mark Lynch
. Matty Mainwaring
. Danny Pilkington
. Jordan Rose
. Ian Ormson

24. Trevor Carson
16. Julian Kelly
4. Adam Watts
6. Danny Hone
23. Stephen Hunt
14. Josh O'Keefe
15. Luke Howell
7. Mustapha Carayol
9. Gavin McCallum
18. Delroy Facey
29. Ashley Grimes
11. Scott Kerr for Carayol (22)
17. Albert Jarrett for Grimes (84)
2. Paul Green
5. Moses Swaibu
10. Drewe Broughton
27. Ben Hutchinson
20. Paul Musselwhite

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