Sunday, 6 November 2011

Lincoln City v AFC Barrow, 5th November 2011

Venue: Sincil Bank, Lincoln
Attendance: 2,090
Final score: 2-1

Revenge is a sweet thing in football, so it was with much relish that Lincoln celebrated a rare home win against a team that had beaten the Imps 1-0 earlier in the season.

This was new manager David Holdsworth’s first league game in charge, and he made no hesitation in bringing his new signings into the starting 11, and to good effect.  Goalkeeper Paul Farman, centre-back Richard Hinds and winger Conal Platt all featured, with the midfield consisting of Josh O’Keefe and Nicky Nicolau – both players who had rarely featured under Steve Tilson.

Holdsworth’s aim seems to be to make the Imps a tougher team to beat, both physically and mentally, and to make the team play a little more directly, with the aim of putting more pressure on the opposition higher up the pitch.

This tactic worked well in the first half, with Barrow struggling to get their game going, and City having the better of the opening salvoes.  The Imps took the lead, to the great relief of the home crowd, in the 20th minute when Platt put Smith through to supply a neat finish.  I’ve been critical of Smith this season, but I might have to be prepared to eat my words, as the tall striker seems to be finding some form, and his 6 league goals this season show that he does have some finishing ability.

The Imps quickly extended their lead when, a mere two minutes later, Barrow keeper Danny Hurst punched away Nutter’s cross, but left himself stranded off his line when the clearance fell to Christophe. The French midfielder lifted a neat chip over the keeper from 25 yards to score his first goal in City colours.

City continued to look the sharper team, but were unable to extend their lead before the break.

The second half brought more life from Barrow, who had obviously been giving a dressing down at half time, and the City fans were showing some nerves at the thought of how a single Barrow goal could make the game turn rather sour.  As it was, the City defence held firm against increased Barrow possession, and it was Perry on the hour mark who had the best chance of the half, when his shot hit the post.

Barrow did manage to get their goal in injury time, when a loose ball in the box was fired home by Pearson, but it was too little too late for the visitors, and the City faithful went home happy with both the performance and the result – a rare combination in recent months.

The 3 points lift City out of the relegation places, and that in itself is cause for celebration, though there is clearly a long way to go before any champagne corks can be popped.

Listening to Holdsworth on the radio afterwards makes me think that this is a manager I’m going to like – honest, straight talking, and someone who seems to have positive ideas about what needs to be changed to fix the mess we are in.  After Tilson’s dithering, such positivity will hopefully rub off on all those connected with the Imps.

28 Paul Farman
13 Tony Sinclair
2 Richard Hinds
16 Mitchell Nelson
3 John Nutter
27 Jean-Francois Christophe
23 Josh O'Keefe
12 Conal Platt
17 Nicky Nicolau
9 Kyle Perry
14 Sam Smith
11 Francis Laurent, for Nutter 64
5 Josh Gowling, for O'Keefe 88
7 Jamie Taylor
30 Gavin McCallum
21 Nick Draper

AFC Barrow
1 Danny Hurst
15 Paul Smith
3 Gavin Skelton
2 Mike Pearson
17 Adam Quinn
16 Jack Mackreth
12 James Owen
8 Richie Baker
7 Paul Rutherford
9 Andy Cook
11 Adam Boyes
24 Danny Rowe, for Rutherford 64
18 Louis Almond, for Cook 64
5 Phil Bolland
10 Andy Ferrell
21 Shaun Pearson

No comments:

Post a Comment