Rampant Lincoln were compared to the ‘old Wimbledon’ by frustrated Coventry boss Mark Robins as the Imps blitzed the Sky Blues 4-2 to consolidate their place in the play-off zone.
Ollie Palmer bagged his first brace for the club, with Matt Rhead and Lee Frecklington also on target as Lincoln collected a huge three points, with Tom Bayliss and Jordan Shipley replying for the hosts.
Coventry boss Mark Robins was angry with his side for being turned over in such dominant fashion, saying: “Matt Rhead has bullied our two centre-halves and that is the disappointment. It is like playing against the old Wimbledon, but if you can’t stop that then you shouldn’t be playing football.”
Lincoln manager Danny Cowley could not be any happier with his team, who now still have an outside chance of automatic promotion, although they will need Wycombe, Exeter and Notts County all to falter, while City must win at leaders Accrington on Saturday.
“To play with the desire and fitness that they did was superb,” said Cowley. “It was a really good win. We have a lot of niggles and aches and pains in the team right now and it was a tough week building up to the game.
“We have scored two unbelievable goals, the first two are good enough to win any match. “This is another step in our journey, Coventry are a really good team, but we did not allow them to play at their best.
“Our fans were tremendous tonight, it was a really good night for Lincoln City.”
Cowley’s side, backed by over 3,000 fans at the Ricoh Arena, made an early statement of intent when Rhead ended his 16-game goal drought in superb fashion, crashing a stunning half-volley into the top corner inside the first minute.
The home side may have hit back 15 minutes later through Bayliss’ reply but Ollie Palmer, handed his first start since early December, and relishing the opportunity to form one-third of the Lincoln attack, latched on to a wonderful headed pass from Rhead to poke the ball past Lee Burge and restore the Imps’ advantage.
Coventry, though, were not going to go down without a fight and restored parity a minute later when Shipley turned in a Bayliss cross to put the game back on a knife-edge.
Being hauled back twice could have dented Lincoln’s enthusiasm, but they roared back again and amazingly regained the initiative, when Palmer was on hand to follow up James Wilson’s blocked effort and give the visitors a half-time lead.
Ryan Allsop saved from Jonson Clarke-Harris early in the second half, before Rhead headed wide for Lincoln. The next goal was going to be crucial and it came City’s way when an Alex Woodyard ball over the top saw Palmer burst into the box, squared for Rhead who then dinked a ball to the back stick where Lee Frecklington was hand on to ram it past the onrushing Burge and hand the visitors an unassailable lead.
There was still work to do, though, with Allsop brilliantly keeping out Maxime Biamou’s effort, before Jordan Ponticelli fired wide for the home side as Robins’ men kept plugging away. City dug in, with a willingness and determination that is the hallmark of a Cowley team, picking up six second-half bookings along the way as they fought tooth and nail to maintain their advantage.
Lincoln sub Elliott Whitehouse almost added a fifth, but Burge got down low to his right to keep out his effort as he burst clear of the Coventry defence.
Writer: The Imposter
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City for the photographs!
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) April 25, 2018