Lincoln City 1-2 Forest Green
This Saturday saw yet another error strewn performance from the Imps as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Forest Green Rovers. Yan Klukowski gave the visitors an early lead in the 8th minute when he followed up an effort that hit the bar. Bush could not prevent the ball going over as he sliced his clearance. Their lead was doubled just before half time when yet more atrocious defending allowed Stokes to prod the ball over the line in a crowded area. The Imps did pull a goal back through a penalty. Substitute Smith took it and the away keeper nearly kept it out but it went in resulting in the imps now picking up just 3 points form the last 21 available.
The Imps lined up for this match in a 4-4-2ish formation. With Preece replacing Farman whoes form over the past month has nose dived. In Midfield Thomson and Turnbull formed a on loan centre midfield partnership with Larkin deployed on the left and Sheridan on the right. Robinson appeared to be just behind Taylor in attack. Loan signing Jones was named on the bench causing wingers Platt and Nicolau to sit in the stands. Why we need another winger at this current time is beyond me.
Following a great effort from the match officials and volunteers the pitch was cleared of snow and the Imps kicked off and a decent day for football. They attacked the South stand in the first half. As has become the usual for the Imps now though Forest Green took an early lead before ten minutes. This weeks error came from the on loan left back Bush. He attempted to clear an effort from Klukowski, which may well have been going wide, but he only sliced the ball into the roof of the Imps net. Preece had no chance and the defence was all of the place in the build up to the goal.
The Imps did have an effort shortly after the opening goal and it came from a Dan Gray long throw into the box. Bush flicked the ball on and Russell in the Forest Green goal had to get a hand to it to make sure it went over the bar. The resulting corner was cleared by Forest green under pressure. Following this brief moment of Imps attacking pressure the Imps were again up against it as Forest green created a couple of half chances, firstly Thomson covered Miller well and Preece saved a header from a corner at point blank range.
As the match headed towards the half time break the Imps self destructed again at the back. This time it was a corner. Chris Stokes was the man who got to the ball last in a goal mouth scramble and the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line by the linesman. This saw the Imps go in at half time 2-0 down and Forest green couldn't have believed their luck as they rarely looked a better side in the opening 45 minutes.
The sides emerged for the second half unchanged. Forest Green kicked off the half attacking the South Stand. The Imps threatened first and the latest loan signing Turnbull saw his effort bounce along the ground before Russell managed to just get there in time to force it wide for a corner to the imps. The second half really struggled to get going with Forest Green aware that they needed to do little more than the bare minimum to see out the game. The Imps became more and more predictable in their play as the half went on with aimless long balls to Taylor just not working.
The best hope of a goal from the Imps appeared to be in the hands of Jake Thomson, the winger playing in central midfield was very comfortable with the ball and was trying his hardest to instigate clever moves with the ball on the floor from deep, sadly for him few of the other Imps were on his wave length with the usual and predictable long balls down the line and diagonal into the corners resulting in Forest green having very little threat to defend against in the box.
With just over ten minutes of the match remaining Holdsworth made a double change with Smith and new loan signing Jones coming onto the field to replace Sheridan and Larkin in the wide areas. Their impact on the match was immediate, Smith picked the ball up on the right flank and he drove forward before hitting a shot form range that went narrowly over the bar.
With five minutes of the match remaining the Imps were awarded a penalty. This penalty came after an initial call for a penalty for an alleged foul on Jones was turned away by the ref and he then booked the young winger for overly remonstrating. The penalty that was awarded was for pushing in the area at a corner, one that bemused many watching the match as no one really saw what occurred. But all that mattered was that the Imps had a penalty.
Adam Smith was the player who grabbed the ball and put it down on the spot. He hit the ball to the keepers right with power and whilst Russell did get a touch to the ball it wasn't enough and the Imps had got back into the match. With just enough time to push for an equaliser.
Sadly that push never came and the visitors were able to see out the match by cleverly running down the clock in the corner and keeping hold of the ball forcing the Imps to chase it down and ultimately frustrating them. The final whistle was blown and whilst it appeared there wasn't much between the sides on the day there didn't need to be when the Imps keep on gifting goals away at the rate we do.
Another defeat and we are now down in 17th place in the table, there are no two ways about it we are in a relegation fight and we will need to improve drastically over the next month if we are to climb up the table and get nearer to mid table obscurity that all the fans dream off now.
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