Before the game against Exeter City we asked: “What 3 things to we need to do to beat Exeter City?”
1. We are not very good at play-offs.
Although we suspected that may be the case before, when we set our record five straight defeats between 2003 and 2007. We now have six defeats from six play-offs, which is not a great record. However, we can all have a condescending giggle at Brentford and Sheffield United, who have both reached the play-offs eight times without winning them. Snigger at Preston too, if you like – they have reached the play-offs ten times and lost nine.
2. We are very close to having a promotion-winning team, but not close enough.
Take Boateng out of that Exeter team, and what was the difference? That little bit of quality is all Lincoln are missing, and perhaps a fully fit Lee Frecklington is that man. It will be interesting to see whether Mr Cowley makes a move for an attacking midfielder in the Boateng mould during the summer, or whether he believes we already have one. Add a striker who can actually convert some of the many chances to have gone begging, and next season will be very interesting.
3. The margins between success and failure are very tight – and it is not always our fault.
The play-offs are the world’s biggest sporting lottery. If Rhead’s header in the first leg hits the bar and goes in, and Boateng’s shot in the second leg hits the post and stays out, the score is 2-2. But both League Two play-off semi-finals will live long in the memory for some terrible refereeing decisions, and Lincoln and Notts County are entitled to feel somewhat aggrieved. Those are the breaks though, and the best way to prevent that from happening again is to go up automatically instead. Easy!
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City for the photograph!
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) May 21, 2018