Saturday, 9 April 2011

Lincoln City v Gillingham, 9 April 2011

Venue: Sincil Bank, Lincoln
Attendance: 3,022
Final score: 0-4
After a bad run of results, influenced by injury and fatigue as well as crapness, the Imps have begun to slip dangerously close to the trapdoor that many hoped they had pulled away from.  The Imps were desperate for the wheels to start turning again against Gillingham, yet another side in the playoff mix and a tough proposition.  City haven’t now won a game in a month, and have only picked up a single point in that time.

The Imps were buoyed by the return of Ashley Grimes and Luke Howells to the starting 11, and Steve Tilson elected to switch back to a 4-4-2 formation, after being forced by a general dearth of decent strikers to play a lone striker for the previous few away matches.

The Imps started in a lively enough fashion, and Howells managed to test Gillingham keeper Julian with a close range shot.  City’s good start was halted when Hutchinson took a knock in the 10th minute, and the break seemed to allow Gillingham time to recover their composure, as it was the away side that began to show more control when play restarted.

The Gills soon created their first real chance when former Boston striker Akinfenwa forced Parish into a fine fingertip save.  The pressure continued until eventually, on the 20 minute mark, the Imps defence was breached and Gillingham took the lead.  A corner played into the centre of the goalmouth was met by Josh Gowling, who headed down past Parish.  Gowling had been on loan at Lincoln earlier in the season and was a player I rated highly so it is doubly frustrating to have him score against us.

Despite the poor recent form, Lincoln weren’t buried though, and Howell was presented with a half chance just after the game restarted, but could only hit wide.  Lincoln continued to press and Howells again tested Julian soon after.

Gillingham were content to sit back and hit the Imps on the break and in the 35th minute, they almost scored again.  McDonald slipped away from Hone, but could only put his shot over the bar when he should at least have tested Parish.  Lincoln again responded, winning a corner, but Grimes could only shoot wide when the ball came his way.

Despite Lincoln being more than a match for their opponents, once again they were punished for slack defending.  The dangerous Barcham was set free on the left wing and found McDonald with his cross.  McDonald made up for his earlier miss by putting his header past the unfortunate Parish, who could do little about it.  City seemed a little dazed at being two goals behind in such an evenly balanced half, but the scoreline remained that way into the halftime break.

Despite the Imps needing to begin the half strongly and pull a goal back, neither side was really able to take control of a game that was becoming increasingly scrappy.

Sadly for the Imps, Gillingham didn’t need to try to hard to score their third of the afternoon as the home side were kind enough to score it for them.  First the ineffectual-as-usual Fuseini cheaply gave away possession to put McDonald through.  His shot was heading in but should have been cleared by Hone.  Sadly, the usually reliable City centre half sliced that clearance into his own net, putting the game beyond City if it hadn’t been already.

Gillingham were now in control and before long had added a fourth.  Barcham again found space to cross, and this time it was Akinfenwa on the end of it, yet another header going past Parish who now has the ridiculous record of conceding 14 goals in 4 matches.

Although the game was now long gone, City’s afternoon took another little turn for the worse when Grimes was booked for a foul – a booking that will see him have to serve a two match suspension and further hamper the Imps’ chances of picking up any points before the end of the season.

Despite a few half chances, the game petered out to the final whistle.  The scoreline certainly didn’t reflect the flow of the game, particularly in the first half, but yet again City have to reflect on the fact that they just didn’t make enough of the possession they had whilst being far too profligate in possession, and far too error-prone at the back.  Those three things combined do not win football matches.

With Barnet beating Crewe, Stockport picking up a draw against Stevenage and Hereford ridiculously beating runaway leaders Chesterfield 3-0 today it is clear that the teams around and below City are capable of both scoring goals and winning matches.  Tilson and Brush have to do something to make this lackadaisical City team buck up their ideas soon, or the worst really may still be yet to come.

24 Elliott Parish
16 Julian Kelly
4 Adam Watts
6 Danny Hone
3 Joe Anderson
31 Ali Fuseini
14 Josh O'
15 Luke Howell
9 Gavin Mc
27 Ben Hutchinson
29 Ashley Grimes
10 Drewe Broughton for Hutchinson (68)
26 Tom Kilbey
for O'Keefe (68)
39 Scott Spencer
for Grimes (76)
2 Paul Green
19 Jamie Clapham
25 Cian Hughton
1 Joe Anyon

1 Alan Julian
2 Barry Fuller
16 Josh Gowling
15 Matt Lawrence
32 Joe Martin
7 Kevin Maher
17 Danny Spiller
4 Curtis Weston
11 Andy Barcham
10 Cody Mcdonald
27 Adebayo Akinfenwa
28 Jack Payne for Weston (54)
23 Stefan Payne
for Akinfenwa (76)
14 Luke Rooney
for Spiller (81)
3 John Nutter
6 Garry Richards
18 Danny Jackman
26 Lance Cronin

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