Lincoln City 2-4 Newport County
This Saturday saw another individual error ridden performance from the Imps as they crashed to an awful 4-2 defeat at home to Newport County. County really didn`t need to work hard for their goals and O'Connor got their first two goals before Willmott grabbed a very decisive third goal. The Imps pulled on back through Vadaine Oliver but Newport restored their three goal advantage in the first half stoppage time through Wilmott again. The Imps scored the only goal of the second half late on through débutante Chris Bush but the damage was all done by our own defence in the first half.
Imps manager David Holdsworth made three changes to their starting line up for this match. New defender Chris Bush came in at left back with Robson reverting to the right side. Colin Larkin replaced Nicolau down the left flank of midfield and Jake Sheridan returned to the right side of pitch replacing youngster Conner Robinson. For me only Fofana and Gilbert were missing from our strongest line up for this match.
The Imps kicked off the match on a very cold January afternoon attacking the South stand. The kick did bring one surprise with Power electing to play the ball backwards instead of the usual hoof out of play that we frustratingly see so often at this level of the game. The defensive errors began just minutes into the match when Boyce completely fluffed his kick allowing O'Conner a sight on goal but he miscued his shot well wide of the target.
The match did begin though with both sides looking fairly equal on the ball, neither able to create much. But this all changed after 20 minutes when Newport were gifted the first of their goals. The pacey and tricky O'Connor received the ball and ran forward into the box before unleashing a powerful shot past Farm into the back of the net. The 'keeper gifted him the goal really as he only covered the other half of his goal leaving a huge gap for the striker to aim at. A player of his ability was unlikely to miss this opportunity and he didn`t. The defence also failed to put any real pressure on the striker as he strode forward into the box virtually unchallenged.
O'Connors second goal was a real gift though. Robson playing a stray pass under no pressure straight to the front man who strode forward outpacing Boyce with ease before drilling the ball low past a helpless Farman. The gifts kept coming when Boyce completely miss kicked the ball and it fell to Porter who crossed the ball to Wilmotts who struck the ball first time on the volley superbly to make it three. The game seemed dead and over at this point with the Imps handing all three points to the visitors on a silver platter.
The Imps though did show some fight and some superb inter play down the right side between Power and Taylor saw Power provide a superb curling cross to the far post where Oliver was waiting, he headed the ball with great direction in to the top corner of the net to give the Imps and their fans a small glimmer of hope.
Sadly the glimmer didn`t last long and not even until half time as Newport scored their fourth through yet another gift from the generous imps back line. Robson at fault again giving the ball away under no pressure allowing a simple ball over the top to Jolley who outpaced the Imps defence before rounding Farman, his shot from a very tight angle fell to Wilmotts who tapped the ball home. Newport had scored four of the easiest goals they will ever score in one half to see the sides go in at 4-1 to the visitors.
The sides returned for the second half with Holdsworth clearly showing his anger bringing off the culpable Robson and Boyce and replacing them with Nicolau and Robinson. This saw Gray revert to centre back and Sheridan in the unfamiliar role of right back for the second half. There is no denying that the imps looked a better and more solid side in the second half but I can imagine a lot of that is down to the fact that for Newport the game was over and they knew they just had to play out the second half in a professional and error free manner.
The Imps main positive to come form the second half was the determined performance of full back Chris Bush. He had started the first half sluggishly but seeing as this was his first start for the imps it was to be expected that he would grow into the game. And he grew massively in the second half. He got forward as much as possible providing good width down the left side. Whilst he may not be the greatest defensively his physique sure helps us out at corners and high balls. He is not easily shaken off of the ball.
The young full back got his rewards for his second half performance with a a late goal for the Imps.
A corner taken by Nicoalu down the right fell to Robinson who squared the ball across the box to Bush who ran in and hit a powerful shot first time on his right foot to give the Imps a small consolation. With just over ten minutes of the match remaining it was highly unlikely that the Imps had enough about them to score two more goals to get something out of this match. And so it was.
The match ended 4-2 in Newports favour. I would think that Justin Edinburgh will not have many games as easy in his managerial career as this one. Imps manager David Holdsworth has some serious defensive problems to solve before the next match against another high flying side in Wrexham next Saturday. I would think he will be desperate to bring in one or two new players especially in the centre of midfield and in defence.
A bad day at the office and whilst it was individual errors that gifted the game to Newport this is the latest in a bad run for the Imps, 8 goals have been conceded on the last two matches. Changes are needed if we are to stop our slide down the table. We now sit in 15th place just 5 points above the relegation zone. As for the play offs, it is safe to say we can stop dreaming about them for another season.
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