Sunday, 14 August 2011

Southport v Lincoln City, 13th August 2011

Venue: Haig Avenue, Southport
Attendance: 1,687
Final score: 2 - 2

With a new football season there is always change, and one change I'm going to make this year is in the way I do match reporting.  Last season I tried to do more 'kick by kick' reporting, but to be honest you can get that from the official club website or from the Echo.  This year the reports will be shorter, but based much more on my own personal feelings.  As this is a personal blog, hopefully that will also make them more interesting (as well as quicker for me to write!).  I also intend to remain positive this season, starting with this opening day clash away on Merseyside.

Despite twice surrendering the lead, City at least hung on for an away point, meaning that this season has already started on a brighter note than last.  As disappointed Imps skipper Josh Gowling tweeted after the game 'No its not a disaster at all the sign of a good team is when they don't play well but pick up points and that's what we have done'.  If some City fans are going to get depressed every time we fail to win in the belief that we should walk this league, it's going to be a tough year for them.  There are good, organised teams in the BSQP and we would be arrogant in the extreme to let our hopes for an immediate return to the Football League become a belief that we are better than every other team and that every dropped point is a terminal disaster.

Despite Southport starting the game stronger, City settled into a rhythm and opened the scoring on 29 minutes when a clever corner saw Fuseini cross for Sam Smith, who planted his header firmly past keeper McMillan.

The Imps were being terrorised virtually single handedly by Southport striker John-Paul Kissock, and it was he who did the damage to the Imps on 41 minutes, curling a direct free kick from all of 30 yards away.

Interestingly, City were playing Adam Watts at right back, and the out of position centre half he struggled to cope all afternoon. This worries me in three ways:

1) our squad is obviously still lacking depth in some areas

2) Tilson didn't do anything to stop the damage being done when it was obvious early on who the danger man was

3) we don't know enough about this league and who the opposing danger men are in advance so as to tailor our tactics to counteract them

Despite this, it was the Imps who again took the lead in the second half, when Fuseini (who I've promised to give a second chance to this year after thinking him a complete pile of poo last season) whipped in a cross for Kyle Perry to convert with a header.

The celebrations of the large and boisterous Imps fans were once again cut short, this time after only 4 minutes, when Kissock fed Whalley, who was allowed to cut inside from the wing and fire past Anyon into the far corner.

I said here in my thoughts before the season started that our inability to stop the other team scoring will cost us, and it certainly did here. However, I promised to stay positive and I will, so here are the positives we should focus on:

1) two of our new strikers both scored well taken goals

2) it was a draw, not a defeat. Win your home games and draw your away games and you'll be fine, footballing lore tells us

3) the team is still bedding down so we shouldn't expect Brazil-like performances from day one

4) we still have creative players coming back from injury so the squad will improve

5) the away following was tremendous and will surely be of benefit to us at many smaller grounds this season

So, like most Imps fans I'm looking forward to the two nightime home games this week against Kidderminster and Wrexham, and the thought that if we can get 4 points out of them, we can officially say the the season has got off to a good start.

1 Tony McMillan
14 James Smith
15 Andy Owens
4 Steve Akrigg
6 Simon Grand
2 Kevin Lee
7 Shaun Whalley
17 Karl Ledsham
10 Tony Gray
21 John-Paul Kissock
12 Jonathan Brown
9 Steve Daly, for Brown 68
3 Chris Lever, for Owens 71
20 Russell Benjamin, for Gray 80
5 Earl Davis
13 Matt Nemes

1 Joe Anyon
4 Adam Watts
5 Josh Gowling
6 Danny Hone
3 John Nutter
8 Alan Power
10 Ali Fuseini
15 Simon Russell
30 Gavin McCallum
9 Kyle Perry
14 Sam Smith
19 Bradley Barraclough, for Mccallum 75
7 Jamie Taylor, for Perry 85
23 Josh O'Keefe, for Smith 88
13 Tony Sinclair
17 Nicky Nicolau

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