Lincoln City 1 Luton Town 2
Lincoln City yesterday took on high flying Luton Town at Sincil Bank but sadly for the seventh time this season they came away with no points losing 2-1. This defeat takes Lincoln in to the bottom four whilst Luton remain in fourth place just three points off of top spot.
The Imps lined up for this match in what I would call a negative formation for a home side. The good news was that top scorer Jamie Taylor returned to the side, but sadly he was on his own up front with Holdsworth deciding to pack the midfield and deploy defensive midfielder as the link between Taylor and the rest of the side, a move that baffled me with Robinson and Larkin both available on the bench. If we were the away side I could take this decision better but being the home side I always prefer the side to go out to try and win the game not settle for a draw, regardless of opposition as we are both in the same league.
New recruit Peter Gilbert came in for the injured Nutter at left back with Peter Bore returning to the side in place of Oliver who picked up an injury in the week. The teams ran out on to the pitch with fireworks going off on the pitch, something you have not come to expect to see at Sincil Bank.
The game was only a few minutes old when it looked like the curse of conceding early goals had returned to the Imps when Luton striker too easily took the ball past Boyce but luckily his effort from the left side of the box crept just wide of the far post. A huge let off for the Imps before the game had got started. Apart from this clear chance the opening 20 minutes of this match was contested in a very tight midfield with no fluid play from either side.
After this opening period the Imps won their first corner with a Smith eventually having his effort well saved by Tyler in the Luton goal. This was the start of some good attacking pressure from the Imps with Taylor chasing Tyler down to force the 'keeper in to a rash clearance. Just after this Taylor had a shot turned behind for a corner. An encourage passage of play from the Imps.
Sadly, as we have come to expect from Lincoln for too many seasons now, we didn't take any of our chances and Luton took the lead in the 27th minute when Andre Gray ran half the length of the pitch down the right flank just before he ran over the touchline he smashed a ball across the goal mouth which Farman punched into his own net. Farman has been a good shot stopper for the Imps this season but I am sure he would also agree that this goal was entirely his fault and avoidable.
The goal scorer Gray then had a good chance to double his sides lead outpacing Gilbert before taking a dive in the box when Farman came rushing out to meet him. Thankfully and rightfully the Referee booked the player for such a pathetic and cheating act.
As the match reached the half way point Taylor once again led the attack with an effort being tipped behind by Tyler before a great break from Bore was ended illegally by a trip from Alex Lawless, he was shown a yellow card but he will feel it was worth it to end a potentially great chance for the Imps. The sides went in for the break with Luton leading 1-0.
Despite the lone striker tactic for Lincoln not really working for Lincoln there were no changes for the Imps at half time. Luton on the other hand made two changes with Shaw and Rowe-Turner replacing Rendell and Robinson.
Just over a minute into the second half the typical slow Lincoln start was evident again when Luton doubled their lead. This time it was dreadful defending from Lincoln. A free kick was curled into the far post of the box and substitute Shaw found himself literally yards of space to head the ball past a helpless Farman. Yet another completely avoidable goal gifted to the opposition from the Imps. At this point it seemed that the game was over.
The chance for Luton to make the score 3-0 came around an hour into the match when Fleetwood easily skipped past some very weak Lincoln challenges in the box but was superbly denied in a one on one against Farman, a saved that could have made up for his error in the first half. The ball was quickly dispatched up the other end of the pitch and Taylor somehow brought the ball down before running at the Luton defence, as he got to the edge of the box he unleashed a powerful dipping shot that gave Tyler no chance and made the score 2-1. That is one of the best goals I have seen from an Imps player for some time now.
Following this goal the Imps made their first change of the match with Fofana finally being replaced by Larkin to offer some support to Taylor who had been so isolated up front on his own for large periods of the match.
With 15 minutes of the match remaining Luton made their final change with Kasim replacing Gray. A move that looked to try and take advantage of any counter attack that Luton may make against a now dominant in possession Lincoln side. A corner was met by Boyce but his header went wide before the Imps made their second change with Robinson replacing Bore. Showing some intent from Holdsworth which should have really been there from the kick off.
Robinson straight in the action won a free kick on the right side of the penalty box when he was tripped by Aigne. The free kick from Nicolau resulted in yet another corner awarded for the Imps, the ninth of the match so far.
Sadly the rest of the match passed by with out a shot on target from the Imps or any clear chances being created, as the minutes reached 90 Sheridan came on to replace Miller, a move which I presume guaranteed he picked up his match bonus as I couldn't see any other merit to bringing Sheridan on with just seconds of the match remaining.
The referee blew the final whistle on a much more spirited display from Lincoln, but once again we gifted the game to Luton who looked far from their best with two easy goals. We only really came into life when the match was effectively over at 2-0. And who is to say that Luton took it easy with a comfortable 2-0 cushion against a Lincoln attack that seemed to end up in long balls forward to one of the shortest players on the pitch in Jamie Taylor.
I was hugely impressed with Morgan in midfield today, for me it was his best performance in his brief stint so far with the Imps. Taylor also was fantastic working as hard as he could in a difficult formation that did not play to his and our sides strengths. Farman, barring his huge error looked assured as usual and I felt his distribution looked better then in previous matches. Whilst his error was avoidable and game changer it is likely to happen with the amount of saves he is having to do behind yet another shambolic Lincoln defence game in and game out.
Thirteen games into the season we are now in the relegation zone with just 12 points. This is no way near good enough, whether you think we are being unlucky or not we are simply not good enough. When I saw the team line up on twitter walking to the match I feared that we had pretty much resigned this match to a defeat before we had even kicked off. And duly a defeat came, negative tactics usually end up in a negative result.
The pressure must surely be mounting on the shoulders of Holdsworth we have two very tough games this week in Mansfield and Wrexham, both away from home, should we return with zero points I do wonder whether the boards strong backing of their man can continue.
All of the match stats, facts and team sheets for this match can be found HERE.
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