Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Lincoln City v Kidderminster Harriers, 16th August 2011. Match report and a plea to all Imps fans

Venue: Sincil Bank, Lincoln
Attendance: 2,448
Final score: 0 -1

Lincoln were reacquainted with one of their former League 2 rivals tonight, in the first of two evening home matches this week.  Following the opening day draw away at Southport (which I still maintain wasn’t as bad a result as some people made out), Imps fans were keen to see their team record their first win of the season.  Before the game I’d said that 4 points from the two games this week would be a good return, but sadly City have failed at the first hurdle.

Kidderminster just missed out on the playoffs last season, so were never going to be pushovers, but in truth City made the game harder than it needed to be, and were ultimately the architects of their own downfall.

After a cagey start, City managed to get into the game and for a spell midway in the first half they were applying a lot of pressure and confidence was high.  Sadly, when you fail to get a goal in such circumstances, the fates of football have an unfortunate habit of biting you, and so it proved.  Kidderminster’s goal came from a 41st minute freekick, and poor marking saw Anyon beaten at close range by Gittings.

The second half saw more effort from the Imps, but it all seemed somehow aimless.  Despite some huffing and puffing towards the end, the simple fact is that the Kidderminster keeper was rarely tested, and Anyon had to make a couple of good saves to stop the scoreline from being worse, despite Kidderminster not looking like a team of world beaters (though they were certainly professional timewasters).

I promised to be positive this season and I intend to stick to that, certainly after only two games.  I thought that a number of the Imps new signings showed promise.  Power battled well in midfield, and showed an ability to run with the ball.  Nutter seemed solid at left back, and looks like he might be able to link up well with McCallum, who looked lively in the first half especially.  Perry had a good first half, though seemed to become more lumbering as the second half wore on.  Taylor looked creative when he came on, and was prepared to run at defenders.  There were some nice close passes from a number of players, and with other creative players still to return to fitness, I genuinely think we can score goals this season.

However, there are of course negatives to mention.  I was happy before the match to see that Watts had been moved to centre back, but almost as soon as the match kicked off, it was obvious that something is not right with him.  He looks to be lacking in confidence somehow, slow to react and too easily turned by opposition strikers.  I would be surprised if Danny Hone doesn’t get a return to the starting 11 on Friday night.  I said in my review of last season that being hard to beat was number 1 priority for this year and I still stand by that.

Another slight negative has to be Ali Fuseini.  I’m still prepared to give him a chance this season after his poor performances last year, but for me he still gets caught in possession far too often, and in dangerous positions.  Yes, he can ping some nice passes around, but he has to learn that the opposition are not going to let him take 10 minutes to do it.  His tackling is also generally poor, though his last ditch, goal saving tackle in the second half is certainly worthy of mention.

My single biggest worry for this season though is with Steve Tilson’s tactical prowess.  I still believe that he has managed to put together a hardworking side that has some degree of talent but I fear that he doesn’t know how to get the best out of them, to make them work to a game plan, and to tweak the team when things aren’t going to plan.

BUT!  I said in the title that there was a plea to City fans, and it is this:

Don’t get on the player’s backs this early in the season.  There was booing at the final whistle tonight, which I thought was out of order.  The fans may be carrying emotional baggage from last season, but the majority of this team aren’t.  To boo them after their first competitive home game, when despite the performance not being great the effort couldn’t be faulted, is self defeating.  We saw last season that a lack of support from the terraces ultimately led to the team not wanting to play at Sincil Bank because of the poor relationship with the fans.  If the fans aren’t careful, a whole new team will become similarly alienated.

Get behind the team.  Give a shout of encouragement instead of a groan.  Give the players the confidence to play attacking football.  Booing has been proven not to work.  Let’s give cheering a chance.

Anyway, at least we were treated to a nice sunset this evening, so it's not all bad...


1 Joe Anyon
13 Tony Sinclair
4 Adam Watts
5 Josh Gowling
3 John Nutter
8 Alan Power
10 Ali Fuseini
15 Simon Russell
30 Gavin McCallum
9 Kyle Perry
14 Sam Smith
7 Jamie Taylor, for McCallum 72
23 Josh O'Keefe, for Smith 72
19 Bradley Barraclough, for Russell 72
6 Danny Hone
17 Nicky Nicolau

1 Danny Lewis
2 Lee Vaughan
4 Luke Jones
6 Tom Marshall
3 Mike Williams
24 Kyle Storer
8 James Vincent
18 Callum Gittings
14 Nick Wright
9 Steve Guinan
10 Marc Williams
20 Jamille Matt
, for Guinan 73
5 Scott Phelan
, for Gittings 80
17 Luke Medley
, for Wright 87
15 Tom Sharpe
21 Dean Lyness

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