Lincoln City 3-3 Stockport County
Lincoln City had Jamie Taylor to thank after he scored a last minute equaliser to make sure the Imps came away with a share of the points in a thrilling encounter that saw the sides draw 3-3 in front of 1,873 fans of which 253 had travelled to support County.
The Imps lined up for this match in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a formation made famous by the France side that won the both the world Cup and the European championships at the turn of the millennium. Fofana and Gray were the sitting midfielders with Power in the 'Zidane' role playing in a free role behind Taylor with Smith and Sheridan providing the width in what should be a flexible attacking Formation with a solid base of six defensive minded players.
The match kicked off in cold but good conditions for a football match there was little wind and the pitch looked in great shape. The Imps for the first half attacked towards the South stand and they had the initial kick off. IT was City who had the first effort on target of the match when John Nutter hit a low shot from outside the area straight into the hands of Ian Ormson in the Stockport goal.
Shortly after this effort the county keeper called into action when a poor challenge on Power gave the Imps a free kick from just outside the area. This free kick was taken by Smith but again was straight into the hands of the opposing keeper.
The good start that the Imps had made to the match was finally rewarded after 30 minutes when Jake Sheridan cut in from the left side on to his stringer right foot to cross the ball into the six yard box where Jamie Taylor popped up un-marked between both of the County centre halves to head the ball home to the delight of the Imps fans.
County looked to get straight back into the match but an effort from Turnbull was blocked by Fofana and went out for a corner. The resulting corner ended up in a free kick being awarded to Lincoln for an alleged push on Farman in the crowded penalty area. The half tailed off and when referee John Hopkins blew his whistle it was the Imps that went in with the lead and the added bonus of good first half performance as well.
The teams returned for the second half and Stockport manager Jim Gannon decided to make a double change to shake up his side and get them back into the match. Tom Collins and Joe Connor come on to replace Sam Sheridan and Andy Halls.
The match had barely re started before County had levelled the scores a deep corner was headed back across goal and county defender Fagbola got enough contact to get the ball over the line before Farman could get his hands on it, a controversial goal but from where I was sat it appeared to be well over the line before the keeper got his hands to it and moved it back on the line. For me a good call from the linesman.
It took the Imps only a few minutes before they created the chance to go back in front, a great counter attack from a County corner saw Power knock the ball clear of the last Stockport defender and as he advanced on the goal the keeper rushed out, missed the ball and took the Imps midfielder down to the ground. The referee had no hesitation to point to the spot but what baffled me was how he came to the decision to not caution the County keeper for denying a goal scoring opportunity. As the fans prepared to celebrate the goal Power stepped up and blazed the ball well over the bar and the scores remained level.
A frantic few minutes followed as County went up the other end and an attack ended in the City bar being rattled but this chance was then cleared and as City broke Taylor found him self in a one on one opportunity with the opposing keeper sadly though he hit the ball straight at the keeper and the ball was cleared. County then created another chance and took the lead when a cross from the right found Hobson in yards of space and the striker had the composure to slot the ball home. This was an easily preventable goal but the dreadful defending of Nutter allowed the winger to walk into the area with far too much ease.
This lead did not last long and just a few minutes later the Imps equalised, a foul on Power resulted in the ref blowing for a free kick around 25 yards out slightly to the right of the centre of the pitch. John Nutter stepped up and curled the ball superbly over the wall and into the near bottom corner of the goal and made amends for the error that led to the last goal conceeded.
David Holdsworth then decided that following this goal it was time to change things for the Imps and made a double substitution. Colin Larkin and Vadaine Oliver came on and replaced Adam Smith and Paul Robson. These changes saw Gray switch to right back and Oliver go up and support Taylor in attack with Larkin playing down the right flank.
The match saw an unsavoury moment when Sheridan and Turnbull clashed. Both players were shown a yellow card but it was very harsh on Sheridan who appeared very much the innocent party as Turnbull appeared to put his face into Sheridans unprovoked. It was Turnbull who scored Countys third when he got on the end of a cross into the box with ease to put the ball past a helpless Farman.
Not long after this incident the full compliment of players were involve din a melee when Mainwairing went in heavy on Power in front of the dug outs. Calm was restored fairly quickly and the ref showed the County player a yellow card for the challenge and Oliver also cautioned for his part in the fracas.
Holdsworth made his final change and brought on Nicky Nicolau in the place of Jake Sheridan as the Imps tried desperately to get that equalising goal that their performance deserved. The pressure finally came off when in the final minute of time added on Gray crossed the ball into the box. The ball was only half cleared and fell to Jamie Taylor on the edge of the box who smashed the ball into the back of the net through the crowded six yard box. The ground erupted and the Imps knew they would get their unbeaten run stretched to five matches.
A thoroughly entertaining match for the neutral but for an Imps fan frustrating as all three goals were of a result of poor defending. The full backs in particular were just not good enough today and County targeted them as often as they could and that is where they got their reward. Further up the pitch I would have liked the three supporting Tylor In attack to have shown more movement and interplay then they did we appeared too rigid in a formation that should encourage attacking players to pull opposing defences around.
A draw is probably the fair result for both sides and a much needed point has been picked up by the Imps today. This point sees the Imps stretch their unbeaten run to five games now and next Saturday the Imps will take on Walsall in the first round of the FA cup at Sincil Bank.
Match Stats: The Imps 3-3 Stockport County
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