Well, after an eventful 5¼ hour drive to St. James’ Park, thanks to numerous problems on the M5, Joe and I arrived at the ground some 30 minutes after kick-off! It would seem we may have missed some good play from the Imps and the first half seemed to be petering out to a 0-0 scoreline, with the Imps clearly the dominant side, when Rueben Reid controlled a high ball well, fed it to Liam McAlinden who then laid the ball back to Reid just inside the left side of the 18-yard box and he fired an unstoppable shot past Paul Farman. I felt that Luke Waterfall could have done better than he did in letting McAlinden beat him when laying the ball off to Reid. City then had a chance to equalise almost immediately but Jordan Maguire-Drew curled a free kick just wide of the post with the ‘keeper beaten. The half ended with another Imps corner which was scrambled away before referee Craig Hicks, given a promotion to the Football League from the conference over the summer, blew for half-time.
Exeter City 1 Lincoln City 0
The second half saw the Imps kick off with the away fans at the side of the attacking goal and into a strongish wind which caused Farman some problems. Indeed, it must be said that his kicking was pretty poor on the whole, but when he threw the ball out, we created more chances. During this half, Mr Hicks seemed to favour the home side, giving many free kicks against Lincoln, sometimes for reasons only he knew, but not reciprocating when the Exeter players seemed to commit the same kind of foul. Two very good saves were the highlight of this half, one from Farman tipping the ball over from Sweeney then at the other end, Christy Pym did very well to do likewise with a crisp shot on the turn from Green.
Matt Rhead, not at his best it must be said, was replaced by Ollie Palmer in the 60th minute although the latter did not convince me by an almost ineffectual performance. He was all too easily knocked off the ball but showed a few signs of what he is capable of; maybe one who will improve? Then, eight minutes later both Billy Knott and Harry Anderson came on for Maguire-Drew and Nathan Arnold respectively. Half chances were created and missed, which makes me slightly worried about our lack of goals. After three games last season, we had scored ten goals, but only three so far (in the league) this season. It makes me think that we actually do need to invest in a proven goal scorer. Or, will it yet all come together for the players we already have?
It was one of those games that you knew was going to finish 1-0, which is indeed what happened. 316 Imps fans in the crowd was a pretty impressive sight, but we were fairly quiet for the most part. I have two choices for my man-of-the-match, Sean Long, who was solid throughout and looked good going forward, and Alex Woodyard who put in a very typical-of-him solid display. I feel the team will get better and better but it would benefit from the aforementioned proven goal scorer.
Onwards and upwards; three points against Carlisle will soon make us forget this result.
PS – the return journey only took us 3¼ hours to complete with no delays whatsoever!
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) August 21, 2017