Passion, commitment, a devotion to the cause and a never say die attitude. If the team could only have matched the qualities of the self-styled passionistas in the Stacey West stand behind the goal Lincoln would have been home and dry.
As it happens a makeshift City team tumbled out of the FA Cup in the second round, defeated by Hereford. It’s not sour grapes to offer the opinion that the Bulls are not the best team City will face this season, not by a long way and, at the risk of sounding facetious and, not being so presumptuous as to offer a seasoned manager like Steve Tilson advice, the team would have done well to keep the visitors well away from the goal as each time they got anywhere near they scored, the Imps defence showing all the resilience of butter when faced with a hot knife.
At something like 13 fit players and a measly 1,794 in the ground we were down to the bare bones alright although, as is often the case, small though the crowd was they managed to conjure up a good atmosphere even though the Lincoln fans had to come to terms with the now familiar goal in the first two minutes as Manset netted early on.
Undaunted, well they’re getting quite experienced at coming back from early goals now, Clapham tapped in after Delroy Facey had seen his header blocked on the line.
Facey himself powered City into the lead with a well struck left foot effort. City were enjoying good spells of possession now and making a determined effort to indeed keep Hereford from the ball, with a series of good passing moves although Hereford themselves hit the woodwork not once but twice in this spell and with a sort of inevitability Stuart Fleetwood scored twice to send the Bulls in to the break with their ringed noses in front.
The best was yet to come. Three minutes in to the second half Ashley Grimes fashioned a goal from well out curling an ambitious effort past Bartlett. It was a fantastic strike and Grimes enjoyed celebrating it as much as the fans enjoyed seeing it.
Surely City could go on to win the tie and proceed to the third round to meet Wycombe? No, in a word. Manset scored again to dump Lincoln out of the cup and consign them to a third straight loss.
Those three wins in a row, back in November now seem an awfully long way away. A dejected Steve Tilson made the perfectly reasonable point that three goals at home should herald a victory but not the way Lincoln defended and yet, cobbled together as the team was there were defenders in defence, midfielders in midfield and strikers in attack . There were welcome returns for Paul Green, injured and Cian Hughton, ignored.
That old cliché about the drawing board will not be resurrected here but another old chestnut will; City can now concentrate on the league.
Concentration is a commodity in very short supply but is exactly what is needed. This game was as entertaining as any with great goals from both sides and decent spells of very good football but right now City supporters would settle for any old rubbish as long as it results in three points.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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