Saturday, 10 December 2011

Colwyn Bay v Lincoln City, 10 December 2011

Venue: Llanelian Road, Colwyn Bay
Attendance: unknown
Final score: 1-3
One of the most noticeable results of dropping down into non-league is the changes you see in cup competitions.  Leagues stay pretty much the same – you play everyone twice, there are relegation spots, playoff spots and automatic promotion spots – same old, same old.  But the cups are a different story - you don’t play the League Cup or Johnston’s Paint Trophy at all, you suddenly have to start qualifying to even get to the first round of the FA Cup (which of course this season City failed to do), and you start playing in the mighty FA Trophy, possibly the single least prestigious trophy in the land.

Today, City dipped their toe into the murky waters of that same competition against Colwyn Bay of the Conference North.  With City’s confidence fragile at the best of times a cup run of any sort seems optimistic, as every team out there will be seeing us as a big scalp and up for the game.  Thankfully, although pre-match talk was of fast-rising Colwyn Bay doing just that, City managed to ease past the Welshmen and into the second round.

City’s starting line-up changed slightly from the well-earned midweek draw against Luton with Anyon, Taylor and Laurent coming into the side.  Anyon because Farman was ineligible, and Taylor and Laurent because, frankly, their second half performance against Luton made it pretty hard to drop them.

The first half went City’s way, with the Imps starting brightly and, crucially, getting their noses in front early to dent the confidence of the home side.  Laurent slid the ball to Taylor in the 10th minute, and the striker bagged his first of the season with a pinpoint finish from just inside the box.

The goal spurred Colwyn Bay into life and they duly put pressure on the Imps’ goal, until Lee McEvilly’s elbow on Laurent saw the defender pick up a straight red card and put a dent in his side’s ambitions.

The Imps continued to attack and just after the half hour mark they doubled their lead.  Power picked out Platt, who unleashed a 20 yard effort past the keeper for his second of the season.

The second half saw the Imps resume their attack, and Taylor saw what he thought was his second goal ruled out for offside.  City were pressing hard, but on the hour mark Colwyn Bay were handed a lifeline.  Anyon was adjudged to have impeded Hopley after he had shot wide and the ref gave a harsh penalty.  McLachlan dispatched the spot kick, meaning that Anyon once again failed to keep a clean sheet, and the ten men of Colwyn Bay had a chance of getting back into the cup-tie.

City brought on Russell for Laurent, and City thankfully soon restored their two goal advantage.  Taylor grabbed his second of the game with a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the box to put the game beyond doubt, and City into the second round.

Although on paper this should always have been a City win, the combination of being away at lower league opposition with a long journey involved made this a potential banana skin.  Thankfully the Imps avoided it deftly, and we await the draw to see if this most underrated of cup competitions can turn out to be the one that City excel in.  I’m not holding my breath though…

1 Jack Cudworth
2 Luke Denson
3 Mike Lea
4 Lee McEvilly
5 Matty Hughes
6 John Mckenna
7 Gareth Evans
8 Fraser McLachlan
9 Rob Hopley
10 Jon Newby
11 Danny Lloyd
12 Karl Noon for Newby 72
14 Lee Davey for Lloyd 90
15 Chris King
16 Liam Benson
17 Simon Williams

Lincoln City
1 Joe Anyon
13 Tony Sinclair
2 Richard Hinds
5 Josh Gowling
3 John Nutter
34 Tyrone Thompson
27 Jean-Francois Christophe
8 Alan Power
12 Conal Platt
11 Francis Laurent
7 Jamie Taylor
36 Jake Sheridan for Power 59
15 Simon Russell for Laurent 65
17 Nicky Nicolau for Platt 79
9 Kyle Perry
21 Nick Draper

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