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Wembley Days And Promotions – Great Lincoln City Moments

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The top flight of English football continues to elude Lincoln City. Back when the 2006-07 season rolled around, Lincoln set an unfortunate milestone in the game. The Imps became the first club to reach their 100th anniversary without having ever played in the top division.

Since the 2019 season, Lincoln City have sat in League One. Looking at today’s football odds for Lincoln there is still a long way to go to fulfil that ambition of getting that first taste of top-flight football.

But that doesn’t mean that throughout their long history, the Lincolnshire club hasn’t had its moments in the spotlight.

Slow Progress Being Made

Before we get into some of Lincoln’s best moments, it is worth noting the steady progress of the club. Since they fell out of the top-four divisions at the end of the 2010/11 season, Lincoln have been on a steady rise.

After six seasons in the fifth tier of English football, the Imps made a return to League 2 in 2017 and earned promotion the following season to League 1. Now well established in the third tier, can the Imps continue their slow burn to the top?

2017 – That FA Cup Run

Lincoln’s epic 2016-17 FA Cup run will live long in the history of fans. It was a run that defied all expectations with victories over Guiseley, Altrincham, Oldham plus Championship teams Ipswich Town and Brighton on their way to reaching the Fifth Round.

This was the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, with Lincoln one of two non-league teams to reach that stage in the 2017/18 season, alongside Sutton United. Lincoln had been handed a Fifth Round away draw at Premier League side Burnley and were heavy underdogs for their trip to Turf Moor.

In front of almost 20,000 people, the Imps defied their underdog status. In a dramatic climax, defender Sean Raggett snatched a winner in the 89th minute. Rewarded for throwing crosses into the box, Raggett’s header, verified by video analysis, proved to be Lincoln’s only shot on target in the entire match.

But it was enough. With the goal, Lincoln City became the first non-league team in more than a century to make it to the FA Cup Quarter Finals. That was where the journey for the Imps ended, losing heavily to Premier League side Arsenal.

2018 EFL Trophy Silverware

In the season following their tremendous FA Cup run, there was some Cup silverware that came Lincoln’s way. In their first triumph in a major cup competition, they were crowned the EFL Trophy winners.

The 2018 EFL Trophy Final was a big day out for the Imps, then in League Two. It was their first-ever visit to Wembley, and they were underdogs for the match as they faced Shrewsbury from a tier above them.

The Imps had to survive some scares along the way as the Shrews hit the crossbar and were denied what looked like a clear penalty. Lincoln may well have had striker Matt Rhead sent off for an elbow on Shrewsbury goalkeeper Dean Henderson too. But despite the trials, a first-half goal from Elliott Whitehouse secured Lincoln’s title.

1986-1987 Conference Champions

Following the changes made in the link between the Fourth Division and the Conference for the 1985-86 season, when automatic promotion and relegation between the two leagues was installed, Lincoln suffered relegation from the Football League.

But the Imps made no mistake in the 1986-87 Conference, posting a tremendous home record on that successful campaign. They went W16 D4 L1, conceding just 13 goals at Sincil Bank.

There was a tight climax to the season as Barnet heaped huge pressure on them. Ultimately Lincoln claimed the title and promotion back to the Football League by two points.

2016-17 Conference Champions

After more ups and downs, Lincoln found themselves back in the Conference after a 2011 League 2 relegation. But that quickly turned into a positive season for the Imps as they won the league title by four points over nearest challengers Tranmere Rovers.

Lincoln almost broke the 100 points barrier for the season, ending with 99 from a W30 D9 L7 record to earn promotion back to EFL League Two.

2020-21 Almost The Championship

In the 2020-21 League One season Lincoln went within touching distance of a place in the Championship. It would have been a visit to the second tier for the first time in six decades.

The Imps had made the most of home advantage against the much-fancied Black Cats in the Play-offs, by taking a first-leg 2-0 win at Sincil Bank. Back at the Stadium of Light, they lost 2-1 but hung on to just do enough on aggregate to make a return to Wembley.

Lincoln took early charge of the Play-off Final against Blackpool, receiving the best possible start as Blackpool’s Ollie Turton scored an own goal in the first minute.

But it was maybe one of those situations where the goal came too early as Blackpool remained composed after the early setback and put the squeeze on to win 2-1. Still, even though it ended in disappointment, getting to that stage of the Play-offs was a big highlight for Lincoln fans.

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