Lincoln City 1-1 Walsall
Lincoln City came so close to booking their place in the Second Round of the FA Cup this weekend with a great team performance but sadly they were undone by a late unmarked header from Bowerman, this goal meant that this tie will be replayed on the 13th November.
The Imps lined up for this match with Gilbert replacing Nutter at left back, the defender had signed a new permanent deal until January in mid week following an impressive start to his Imps career. Gary Mills was the only other change to the side he replaced Paul Robson's place in the side with Gray moving to right back for this match.
It was Walsall who took the kick off and they started the match attacking the South Stand. The Imps eagerness was shown from the off and especially from a very lively Jamie Taylor in attack who was closing down the opposing defenders at every opportunity.
Walsall were the side quickest to settle into a rhythm as they showed good composure and ability on the ball passing it around with ease in their own half. But as soon as the ball reached the final third of the pitch they looked blunt and the Imps were incredibly effective at shutting down space and pressurising the Saddlers attacking players.
The first threatening effort on goal came from the Imps when Mills hooked over a looping shot from distance that narrowly went over the bar as the keeper was desperately back peddling, if it had been a foot or two lower it would have gone in with the keeper stranded. After twenty minutes of the natch the Imps again threatened to open the scoring this time it was Alan Power. A long throw from the right by Gray was only half cleared and Power struck his shot first time but the ball came back off the post and was cleared.
After half an hour Taylor was again causing problems for the Walsall back line, this time he was seemingly brought down by Andy Butler. Butler was the last man and could have easily seen a red card in another game but as it turned out the ref waved play on and the threat was cleared momentarily before Smith cut inside from the left and hit a low shot that was put behind for a corner by Grof in the Walsall goal.
The match was heading into half time when the Imps broke the deadlock, Gray played a ball over the top of the defence and Taylor sprinted onto it before taking a touch and then lifting the ball over a helpless Grof into the back of the net, a goal of great composure, awareness and technique from the man who was named Conference premier player of the month just last week. This brilliant goal meant the Imps went in to the break with a one goal lead and all the momentum.
The second half kicked off with both sides remaining unchanged. The Imps started this half how they left the first one, Power having a free kick deflected wide for a corner only minutes after the restart. Taylor nearly grabbed his second goal but was denied by a Grof save.
Walsall were the first side to make a change around the hour mark. Jake Jones replaced Ashley Hemmings. This change seemed to give Walsall some impetus going forward as they gained two corners in quick succession but the Imps handled this threat with relative ease. Walsall then replaced Aaron Williams with Will Grigg as they looked to get an equalising goal.
David Holdsworth decided to make some changes to the Imps line up to hang on to the one goal lead as Walsall gained more possession of the ball. Larkin and Nicolau came on in place of Smith and Power. Walsall made their final change at the same time, Richard Taundry replaced Jamie Patterson.
The game entered its final stages with Walsall attacking a corner was headed wide by Chambers. Jamie Taylor was then replaced to loud applause by Oliver for the Imps final change. Only four minutes were left when the Saddlers grabbed a rather undeserved equaliser. A long throw was flicked on at the front post and Bowerman was unmarked in the six yard box to head the ball into the bottom corner of the net past Farman who just didn't seem to react. A goal which was avoidable, it is unforgivable to leave a man unmarked in the six yard box at a set piece.
The fourth official added a further four minutes of added time but the match wound down with neither side managing to create a chance for a winning goal and as it was the match ended level. Both teams would face each other again on the 13th November. A lucky escape for Walsall would had shown very little through out the 90 minutes and it was hard to think that they were a full two leagues above Lincoln.
A fantastic performance by the Imps and one which makes you wonder why it cant be done more consistently against sides in our division. If we did play like we did on Saturday there is no way we would be worrying about relegation. This match makes it six matches unbeaten for the Imps now and they will face Braintree at Sincil Bank on Tuesday evening in the quest for a win and three points that will start to move us upwards in the league table.
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