Date: 22nd March 2018 at 8:51am
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For the third game running, Lincoln City’s opponents are in the battle to avoid dropping out of the Football League and I am confident that Danny Cowley will have made provision to ensure the Imps don’t play the part of kindly visitors this Saturday. Our first home game of the season was against Morecambe and I had to miss it as I was on holiday in Greece but my son went and he told me afterwards that we should have won against a very poor Morecambe side who he tipped back then to be in a relegation dogfight. He still maintains that they were the worst side he has seen so far this season, and that includes last week’s fishy opponents Grimsby Town.

Following Tuesday night’s result (0-0 Vs Colchester United), Morecambe currently sit in 18th place in the League on 40 points, 9 points ahead of second-bottom Chesterfield who have a game in hand. Recent results show an improvement in form and they have certainly done us a couple of favours in winning 2-4 at Wycombe Wanderers at the end of February and 2-1 at home to Exeter City just last Saturday. This demonstrates quite clearly that they are no pushovers these days and with manager Jim Bentley, a seasoned campaigner, in charge, they will be looking to ruffle a few Imps feathers.

Looking at the head-to-head situation, this will be the 12th meeting of the two sides in competitive football. Our first ever meeting was in November 1976 when we beat them 1-0 at Sincil Bank in the second round of the FA Cup, but bear in mind that was the year we had been promoted to Division Three following a previous fantastic season. It was to be fully 24 years later when we next met, in the LDV Vans Trophy, again at Sincil Bank in November 2000 and it was another City win, 3-2. In 2007, Morecambe were promoted to the Football League and we met again at Sincil Bank in October and this time the Shrimpers took a point back to Lancashire. April 2008 and the Imps first ever trip to Morecambe’s then ground at Christie Park saw us return to Lincolnshire victorious, having won 1-2. Our first loss against them came in the 2009/10 season, their last at Christie Park, indeed Morecambe claimed the double over us that season 3-1 both games. The next year turned out to be our relegation season and, surprisingly, we did the double over them; 1-2 at their new ground The Globe Arena in November 2010 and 2-0 at Sincil Bank the following February.

As for Saturday’s game I would be most surprised if DC changed the starting eleven, although there is always a chance Ollie Palmer could start ahead of Matt Rhead but I can’t see it to be honest. As I said last week, Elliott Whitehouse and Jordan Williams have both done plenty enough to enjoy an extended run in the side and with the likes of Harry Anderson, Danny Rowe and Palmer to come on to inject some pace, we certainly have strength in depth. With Exeter City winning 0-1 at Port Vale on Tuesday night, the Imps dropped back out of the play-off zone, down to 8th in the table so a win on Saturday is once again a must.

At the time of writing, I understand that we have sold over 450 tickets and, with 24 hours of sales to go as well as pay-on-the-gate available on the day, I fully expect us to represent at least half of the attendance on Saturday. Their average this season is the lowest in League 2 at 1,389 with their highest so far at 2,059 which is, again, the lowest in the League and on Tuesday night, just 893 turned out. One wonders just how do such poorly supported clubs like Morecambe exist in the Football League?

The referee for the game will be Eddie Ilderton.

My prediction: the winning run to continue and also time for a clean sheet, Morecambe 0 Lincoln City 2 with a total attendance just over 1,500 including 750+ Imps.

Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City FC for the photographs.