Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wrexham v Lincoln City, 19th November 2011

Venue: The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Attendance: 3,424
Final score: 2-0

Sincil Bank was a hive of activity this week with player comings and goings.  So much so, in fact, that Lincoln City Land almost has an air of pre-season about the place (albeit it before a season that starts with a points deduction…)

The arrival of new blood has to be welcomed, and hopefully Jake Sheridan, Tyrone Thompson, Luke Medley (who runs like an Italian pig, we learned this week) and returnee Mitchell Nelson will shake things up, provide some competition for places and generally be a catalyst to get the Imps’ season kick-started.

David Holdsworth has also been active in trying to offload players, with Danny Hone being sent out on loan to Barrow, and the survivors from last season, McCallum, Watts and O’Keefe, being offered around to other clubs.  Whilst the reduction of the wage bill is essential, I have to admit some surprise at McCallum being on the list as I think he’s tried this season, and isn’t someone I’d point the finger at for City’s poor league position (though perhaps he should have bagged a few more goals by now.)

Wrexham visited Sincil Bank early in the season, and gained all three points in a televised game that City should have taken at least a point from.  This time around, Wrexham had fully settled into their stride and were sitting pretty at the top of the table – not an easy task for the Imps at all.

Despite being the underdogs City began brightly, taking the game to Wrexham and creating some good chances in the opening few minutes.  Sadly, Lincoln’s balloon was soon popped, when in the 11th minute, with their first attack, Wrexham scored.  A stray pass from Nicolau put Pogba through on goal, and the striker duly capitalised by putting the ball past Farman and into the bottom corner.  It was cruel fate for City to be penalised for their only mistake.

City managed to keep their heads up, but the goal settled Wrexham nerves.  Despite a few chances on the break, City never really tested the Wrexham goal and the half ended 1-0.

The second half started much the same as the first had ended, but the game’s controversial moment soon arrived.  On the hour mark, a cross from the by-line struck the arm of Nelson.  The linesman flagged for a corner, but the referee decided that the offence was worthy of a penalty.  Some have even suggested that the ball was out before the cross came in.  It seemed a harsh decision on City, but is indicative of the way the luck goes when teams at either end of the table play each other.  Pogba, of course, had no problem tucking the penalty away and the game was duly put beyond City's grasp.

Despite falling to a 2-0 defeat, City can hold their heads high, having shown the fight and desire that has been sorely lacking so far this season.  I think that most fans can accept defeat, especially when playing away at the league leaders, but it is the manner of defeat that matters, and if today’s performance is indicative of the matches yet to come, a glimmer of hope may yet exist on the horizon for City to pull away from the bottom of the table before the end of the season draws close.

25 Joslain Mayebi
2 Curtis Obeng
3 Neil Ashton
4 Mark Creighton
6 Jay Harris
9 Danny Wright
11 Andy Morrell
18 Jamie Tolley
20 Nat Knight-Percival
24 Mathias Pogba
26 Joe Clarke
10 Jake Speight for Morrell 77
8 Lee Fowler for Harris 81
7 Adrian Cieslewicz
23 Chris Westwood
21 Chris Maxwell

28 Paul Farman
13 Tony Sinclair
2 Richard Hinds
16 Mitchell Nelson
3 John Nutter
8 Alan Power
23 Josh O'Keefe
12 Conal Platt
17 Nicky Nicolau
9 Kyle Perry
14 Sam Smith
11 Francis Laurent for Smith 38
32 Luke Medley for Nicolau 62
15 Simon Russell for O'Keefe 81
5 Josh Gowling
21 Nick Draper

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