Sunday, 19 November 2017

My Thirtieth 17/18 Game - Lincoln City vs Coventry City

Coming in off the back of the Mansfield Town loss last week most fans felt very delated, including myself, a game which could have easily gone either way and we came out with nothing. Something similar happened last season when we faced top of the table Scunthorpe United, on any other day we could have won it but lost 1-0. This knocked confidence so much that we went into the following fixture away at Oxford United and lost 4-1 in possibly the worst performance of the season. In fact it sparked a run without a win stretching 2 whole months into the middle of February. So I was hoping with every atom of my existence we put connotations of that to bed immediately.

Much like ourselves, Lincoln have had a solid start to the season, sitting in eighth place prior to kick off, something a large number of people wouldn't have been expecting them to do straight from gaining promotion. Given the incredibly tight pack we find ourselves at the top of, to gain 3 points here was absolutely crucial, however tough it may be. To put things into perspective, we were as close to third place Luton as we were to sixteenth place Cheltenham.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Willis
Davies
McDonald
Haynes

Jones
Doyle
Kelly
Shipley

McNulty
Biamou

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Hyam
Stokes
Maycock
Vincenti
Nazon
Ponticelli

3 changes from the side which narrowly lost to Mansfield last week, Jordan Shipley came in as a straight swap for Peter Vincenti on the left. Maxime Biamou came in for Jordan Ponticelli, a switch which is harsh on the young lad but had to be done, since Nazon had just come back from international duty and was likely jet-lagged and tired, Biamou was the only option. You can't help but think Kwame Thomas would do well in this situation, had he not been carted out on loan again to Solihull Moors.

First Half

The game I described as having "0-0 written all over it" started out very lively, with Jordan Shipley being played in on the left perfectly by Ryan Haynes. Shippers played a great ball into the 'Corridor of Uncertainty' but no City player was there waiting to tap it in from a few yards leaving the ball to agonisingly make its way along the goal mouth and out the other end.

Around the 15th minute we had a couple of shots from range which trickled through to Vickers, first from McNulty, and then a few minutes later from Doyle. These go down in the stats as shots on target but it's pushing the boat very far to refer to them as good chances. Our main source of attacks was coming from down the left with Ryan Haynes darting down the left whenever he got the chance as opposed to his teammates in the backline launching balls at Jodi and McNulty. On the 20th minute mark he made it past his opposite number to put a good ball into Biamou, who couldn't direct it goalwards.



Despite it looking like we were dominating we were still shaky on the ball with Lincoln taking control for periods of the half. Their goal came half an hour in when a cross was met by Matt Rhead who was unmarked at the back post, he poked in to make it 1-0 and I can't say I was surprised, we were allowing them a lot of time on the ball. However this didn't deter us and immediately after Jordan Shipley was denied an equaliser by a great save from Vickers. The remainder of the half was played out, being controlled by the hosts.

Half Time - Lincoln City 1-0 Coventry City

Second Half

I don't know what Robins said, but from the off it was like a whole new team had come out, it may have had something to do with the fact McNulty was replaced by Nazon just five minutes into the second period. The Lincoln defence now had three dangerous people to watch out for in the form of Jodi, Haynes and now The Duck, meaning they had to lay off the double marking of Jodi Jones. A terrible mistake on their part. He could now leave his marker for dead. It didn't take long for this to take effect.

Our first real chance came with Tom Davies' header three minutes after the change was made, somehow Vickers got across the box to keep it out and keep the hosts ahead.On the hour mark Shipley found space in the middle of the park and played an inch perfect ball on the right to Jodi Jones, he was in a position to cross with Biamou ready to run in, this was what all the defenders were expecting. Instead he pulled out an incredible effort from a tight angle which flew into the bottom corner, this might just be my favourite goal he's scored for us given it came from almost nothing and was so unexpected, as well as it meaning so much. In a scare straight after the goal Lincoln nearly regained the lead through Matt Green's header, it beat Burge but hit the bar. The keeper was quick to claim the follow up.

With 20 minutes left on the clock we came forward again, The Duck battled well with his marker to hook a ball through to Jodi, breezing past the defenders with eaze, his shot was saved by Vickers but it came immediately back to him, somehow, with the keeper on the floor he struck the bar. When it seemed as if the Imps had had a massive let off and we had wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead, steaming in from Jodi's rebounded effort came Duckens Nazon, who thundered it home from the edge of the area. The super sub had done what needed to be done, playing his part in both goals, albeit the first was just with his presence.

As much as I love Nazon, he's a bit of an idiot, celebrating by taking his shirt off and displaying his name to the home fans, absolutely hilarious, but when it means you'll be suspended for a massive game at Stevenage it's probably for the best to leave it. Still, in the heat of the moment he likely forgot his own mother's name with the joy of scoring the winner in a big match such as this one.

To see out the win we took a more defensive approach for the remainder and it worked very effectively, in the last minute Jordan Shipley had to go off after taking a knock and was replaced by Chris Stokes, giving Ryan Haynes an ever so slight chance as a winger. Nazon had a couple more chances in injury time but he couldn't put the game to bed. However we did see it out tremendously well for a huge 3 points at Sincil Bank.

Full Time - Lincoln City 1-2 Coventry City

I'm not sure if there's any better feeling than coming from behind to win away in such a big game as today. Now, I don't want to read into this too much, but Jodi Jones did kiss the badge as he went to clap the fans. Is this a signal of his commitment to the club and promotion push or will we be left heartbroken on Deadline Day as he makes a switch to Brentford? Only time will tell, for now, we travel to Stevenage on Tuesday night in another massive game, if we win that then we're in great shape to be in the automatic spots by the new year with the run we have. I look forward to it.

My Man of the Match - Ryan Haynes - With special thanks to close to being winners Jodi Jones and everyone's favourite pond bird super sub, Ryan Haynes just pips them to the post as my man of the match today. He tore their right back to shreds today yet still did well with his duties as a defender. I still don't get why we refuse to give him a starting birth as a winger rather than a full back, Chris Stokes is suffering as a result even though he hasn't really done anything wrong. Either way, I'm picking at hairs after a wonderful win away.



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