Lincoln City 3-0 Braintree Town
Lincoln City last night pulled away from the relegation zone with a superb 3-0 victory over Braintree Town in front of only 1,455 fans at a cold Sincil Bank. An early goal from Sheridan set the Imps on their way and the match was sealed early on in the second half when Boyce and then the inform Taylor grabbed quick fire goals that Braintree had little answer for.
With the Imps enjoying a run of six games unbeaten manager David Holdsworth decided that if it isn't broken then it doesn't need fixing as he named the same starting eleven and 4-2-3-1 formation that proved so successful against League One Walsall at the weekend. New signing Gardner did earn a place on the bench alongside Morgan who had served his three match ban for a red card.
The match had barely kicked off when the Imps found themselves in the lead. Jake Sheridan received the ball midway through the Braintree half; he then cut in side on to his favoured right foot and hit a ball towards goal. Luckily this effort deflected off the head of Iron defender Massey leaving Naisbitt little chance but to watch the ball sail over him and into the back of the net. It maybe is an own goal but Sheridan will take the credit for it and the Imps were set on their way.
Jamie Taylor then had his first shot of the night but his effort was saved well by Naisbitt, the early signs for the Imps were good and this start certainly warmed up the fans on an otherwise cold evening. Braintree then mustered their first real attack and it took a good save from Farman to keep the ball out, Holman was the man whose effort was denied.
Taylor was once again looking lively and he had another effort saved by Naisbitt, this time a long ball forward form Mills found the front man but the out rushing 'keeper did just enough to deny Cities top scorer. The first half wound down and Braintree had created a few good opening via their left side but their strikers lacked the composure in the box and I can only recall one effort on target from them in the first half. The Imps went in with a deserved one goal lead.
The sides returned after half time unchanged. But only one side came out ready to win the game. The Imps doubled their lead only minutes after the restart a corner by Taylor was cleared to Smith who hit a shot that was sliced so badly it found its way out wide back to Taylor who took a touch and put in an excellent cross that found Boyce in the area and he did the rest, powering the ball past a helpless Naisbitt.
The fans were still celebrating that second goal when the Imps effectively killed off the match by grabbing the third and final goal of the night. Jamie Taylor who had set up the second got on the score sheet after his hard work forced a poor back header to the keeper and he nipped in just before the keeper could get it lifting it over his head and into the back of the net. The superb run of form that won Taylor player of the month appears to be growing momentum as he got his tenth of the season so far.
This quick fire double seemed to knock Braintree for six and they looked devoid of confidence with the match all but over for them as they kicked off again hoping to get a goal back and more importantly for them to make sure it didn't become an embarrassing night. The first substitute of the match occurred for the Iron in the 60th minute when Daniel Sparkes replaced Nicky Symons. The Imps responded by bringing on Vadaine Oliver and Colin Larkin for Alan Power and Jamie Taylor just a few minutes later, this was a straight swap with Larkin dropping behind Oliver in attack.
Braintree ha d a good move following these changes and it ended in a brilliant drilled cross from the left flashing narrowly in front of the advancing Iron strikers, but luckily for the Imps neither of them could connect with the ball and it went out for a goal kick. Another change was made and Kaine Sheppard replaced Sean Marks for Braintree. His impact was instant; his first touch resulted in a corner after his effort was deflected.
The Imps made their third and final change with ten minutes remaining, Morgan returned from his suspension replacing the frustrating Smith in midfield. I am sure Smith is better then what we have seen so far, but I am not sure by how much and whether it is worth the inconsistent and greedy performances he has shown lately.With only five minutes of the match remaining left back Gilbert received the only caution of the match, it seemed harsh as it was only a miss timed challenge and could be put down to tiredness so late on in the match. After this the match drew to a close and the Imps celebrated a fantastic result that moves them up to 15th in the table but still only 3 points above the relegation places.
This 3-0 win sees the Imps extend their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions now. Confidence in the side and the fans is growing and the pressure on Holdsworth is diminishing with each game we are playing at the moment, I hope it continues for a long time and that we start to climb the table and build a side that can compete with the best in this league.
Match Stats: The Imps 3-0 Braintree Town
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