Date: 8th January 2013 at 11:17pm
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Lincoln City’s indifferent run of form continued this Tuesday night after they crashed to a poor 4-2 defeat away to Southport in the Conference Premier. The yellows Simon Grand scored the opening two goals of the match before Andy Owens made it 3-0 to the host after the half hour mark. Jamie Taylor did get a goal back for the Imps before half time but it was the Yellows who got the decisive fifth goal of the match through Karl Ledsham. Vadaine Oliver did score a second consolation goal for the Imps but the damage was all done in the opening half hour through some very poor defending.

The Imps boss David Holdsworth was forced into two changes from Saturdays draw. Both Sheridan and new signing Thomson were declared unfit and were replaced in the side by Vadaine Oliver, himself returning from injury and the scoring sub Conner Robinson. One baffling change saw Gray play in the centre of defence whilst Tom Miller lined up at right back. Despite the players playing the vast majority of their Imps careers in the reverse positions.

The Sandgrounders kicked off the match on a cool January evening on Merseyside. The Imps were the first side to threaten when Robinsons forward run was well intercepted by McMillan in the Southport goal. The yellows had fought they had scored very early on when Ledsham got the final touch in a packed goal mouth, but he was adjudged to have been offside and Farman restarted with a free kick.

Southport did take the lead though in the 18th minute of the match. A succession of corners for the Yellows saw the second one meet the head of Simon Grand who guided the ball past Farman in the Imps goal. Poor marking allowed the defender just enough space to put the home side in the lead. The Imps restarted the game and Thomson quickly entered the book for a bad tackle.

Southport doubled their lead just 7 minutes after the opening goal and again it was the defender Grand. A free kick from Whalley found its way to Grand via a flick on and he headed the ball into the net from close range. Another case of poor defending allowing the opposition freedom in the box. The Imps, now two goals down restarted and Taylor saw an effort from the edge of the box easily claimed by McMillan. The Imps just didn`t look at the races at all and were clearly second best to the part-time side.

The Imps were duly punished again after a missed header from Miller fell to Andy Owens who struck the ball superbly past a helpless Farman. Words cannot describe how good this strike was. A missed header gifted Owens the ball but no one could have expected him to score from where he received the ball. A sublime goal rarely seen at this level of the game.

The goal looked to have completely killed the game off only a third of a way through the match. But luckily for the Imps Taylor did manage to pull one back before half time to give Holdsworth something to find encouragement from in the half time team talk. A Nicolau cross was poorly dealt with and Taylor struck the ball first time in the box past McMillan. Half time came not too long afterwards and following Holdsworths post match interview it seems obvious that choice words were given to the Imps for their woeful first half performance.

The teams emerged from the half time break unchanged and the Imps got the second half underway. Whilst it was expected that the Imps would return fired up and desperate to get back into the match it was the home side that took control winning a corner fairly quickly. The Imps nearly did get a goal back however when a devensive mix up saw Taylor head over the keeper but the ball was well cleared off the line.

Holdsworth made his first change when Larkin came on to replace Jamie Taylor in attack after 54 minutes. Southport threatened next with a freekick from Whalley hitting the bar after Farman had seen the ball float over the top of his head. A goal mouth scramble in the Sandgrounders box shortly afterwards saw Boyce booked after he went in aggressively on a Yellows player. On another rday and with a different referee the defender could have seen a straight red. This incident followed a penalty appeal for the Imps turned down by referee Ross Joyce.

New loan signing Bush replaced Robson at left back and the Imps Nicolau took a great corner that was met by Boyce. But sadly his effort hit the woodwork to keep the home side two goals advantage intact. As the match entered the final twenty minutes Coanl Platt entered the play for the first time in almost a year when he replaced Nicolau on the left side of midfield.Sadly this change didn`t help the Imps much instantly as Southport scored their fourth goal when Owens crossed for Ledsham in the box who poked the ball home to all but give the home side the three points.

Just three minutes later the Imps did get a goal back through Vadaine Oliver. Miller down the right side floated in a cross that was met by the striker who headed the ball powerfully past McMillan to give the Imps a glimmer of hope that they may yet get something out of the match. Sadly though the game fizzled out with the home side effectively killing the game off to ensure an event less end to what had been an exciting game of poor defending for any neutral.

And so the Imps crashed to a very poor 4-2 defeat against a part time side. Whilst form hasnt been disastrous of late for the Imps it is worrying that since the Mansfield FA cup tie we have been slowly sliding back down the table and after tonights result we sit in 14th place in the table only 5 points above the dreaded relegation places. If our very tough run of games coming up see the same level of performance seen in the previous two matches against part time sides then we may well be looking over our shoulders and fearing a nervy end to the season.

Match Stats: Southport 4-2 The Imps

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