The League Cup and Lincoln City have not made great bed fellows in the 21st century, but Imps boss Danny Cowley was more than satisfied with his side’s work in South Yorkshire despite their fifth straight first round exit in the Carabao-sponsored competition in a 2-1 defeat at Rotherham.
Lincoln have now suffered successive defeats to Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Derby, Barnsley and Leeds in the competition, and this was their first game back in it since suffering a 4-0 hammering at Elland Road in 2010 in THAT season.
It was a lively affair at a rain-soaked New York Stadium, but despite all their endeavours and dedication to the cause, in front of 1,700 vociferous supporters, Billy Knott’s 64th-minute goal was not enough to provide Cowley’s men with another Cup upset.
Strikes either side of the break from Jamie Proctor and sub Anthony Forde ensured safe passage for the Millers and Cowley, who handed a debut to goalkeeper Josh Vickers and first start to Jordan Maguire-Drew, was pleased to see his side take the fight to Rotherham in the manner they did, saying: ‘I thought we went toe-to-toe with a really good League One team in what looked a really good game.
‘It was a competitive match between two good teams and I was impressed with Rotherham – I thought they were better than the Ipswich team we played last year. We acquitted ourselves well. I was really pleased with the start we made after half-time, and there was a 15-minute period where we penned them in, but we really should have scored in that period. Then it got a little bit basketbally, stretched and open, and I don’t like games like that as you don’t have much control of it.
‘I thought when we scored – we are used to winning matches and maybe they’re not – we could go on to win it, but it wasn’t to be and it was a good goal for them.
‘The disappointing thing for me was that we didn’t capitalise and score a second after we went a goal up. Once we scored, you could sense the belief, but they were a good team.’
Cowley admitted that the match was a big step up from many of the encounters the Imps faced last season in the National League, adding: ‘If you compare that game to last season, the quality of football and the games we were playing in, then there was a significant difference. I am never pleased to lose, but I know if we continue to play like that then we’ll be fine in League Two.’
Cowley handed summer signing Vickers his chance between the posts and was delighted with the former Swansea stopper’s first outing for the club. He said: ‘He did well, Josh, He is a good goalkeeper and will push Farms all the way. We are a small 20-man squad, but have 20 who can all contribute and there is very little to choose between them.
‘Last year we played 63 games and had to overuse some of the players and certainly the back end we were pretty fatigued and if we can rotate in games like this then we certainly will do.’
Sean Raggett pulled on an Imps shirt for the second time this season, but how many more times he will do that is open to debate, with plenty of big clubs closing in on his signature. Once more, he was an outstanding presence in the backline and Cowley is hopeful of retaining his services for while longer. He went on: ‘Let’s hope he will be playing for us on Saturday. He has done well in both games, He was great on Saturday and I thought he did well again (against Rotherham). He is still a Lincoln City player at the moment.’
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) August 9, 2017