Lincoln City 2-1 Forest Green Rovers
The Imps continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-1 victory over big spending Forest Green Rovers at Sincil Bank this weekend. The Greens took the lead in the first half when Anthony Barrys effort somehow ended up in the back of the net but the real star of the show was Imps débutante Waide Fairhurst. The striker scored two superb goals to ensure that the Imps remained unbeaten and picked up 7 points from their opening three fixtures of the new Conference season.
Imps boss Gary Simpson was forced into a change in attack with Wright not recovering from the injury he picked up mid week. Waide Fairhurst came into the side to make his début for the Imps. Elsewhere Mo Fofana came into midfield replacing Luke Foster who dropped to the bench. Tom Miller was deemed fit enough to take a place on the bench and I am sure this was a good sight for many of the Imps fans.
The visiting side took the centre and got the match under way attacking the empty Stacey West stand. It didn't take the Greens long to threaten the Imps back line as they won a corner inside the first minute of the match, luckily the delivery was a complete waste. Tomlinson was defending from the front and his hard work almost paid off after he intercepted a Greens pass amongst the back line, sadly he was on his own in attack and by the time Power advanced to support the forward his effort was easily blocked out for an Imps corner.
The Imps came close in the opening ten minutes when Power picked up the ball on the right side before turning and powering a shot inches wide into the side netting from the edge of the box. Forest Green took the lead though in the 20th minute of the match and it was a terrible goal for the Imps to concede. Anthony Barry was allowed time on the left side of the pitch and he crossed a lazy ball into the box that somehow evaded everyone, including Nat Brown who ducked out of the way of the ball and then past a statuesque Paul Farman to somehow end up in the back of the Imps goal.
Unlike Imps sides of the past the heads didn't drop and just over five minutes later the scorers were level. Newton swung a free kick into the box from the left flank and it was only half cleared to Fairhurst just inside the box, dummied the onrushing defender before cutting in on to his left foot before he placed his shot perfectly in to the far bottom corner of the goal. A superb finish under pressure and on his weaker side too!
Following this equalising goal the match became very even with neither side able to really create many clear cut chances. The Imps pressed forward and won a few corners and had some efforts from range go high and wide, but neither side was able to really test the two goal keepers. John Nolan picked up the first card of the match just before half time for a late sliding tackle on Greens left back Stokes. The ref brought the first half to an end with the score 1-1.
The sides emerged for the second half and both elected to remain unchanged. The Imps kicked off and attacked the Stacey West in search of three points in front of a great home crowd of over 2,200 fans. The first incident of the half saw Imps centre back Andrew Boyce pick up a yellow card for a foul on Kelly.
Greens left back Stokes was then a crumpled heap on the floor after he collided with his own team mate. The ref rightly halted the match as it appeared to be a serious head injury with the defender instantly flaking out when he hit the turf. Luckily he wasn't seriously injured and the match got back under way.
With around half an hour of the match left to play Fairhurst again looked dangerous as he had a powerful shot from the edge of the area superbly tipped over the bar by Russell in the Greens goal. The resultant corner saw Dan Gray pick up a card for tripping Norwood. Forest Green then made the first change of the match with Magno Viera coming on for Barnes-Homer in attack.
The game entered the final five minutes of the match looking like it was going to be a draw when left back Newton came forward with the ball cutting infield before playing a ball forward to the right side of the box to Fairhurst who steadied himself before blasting the ball into the top of the near corner of the goal past a helpless Russell. Another fine goal and on this showing the Imps have themselves a superb striker who can finish in style.
Forest green instantly made a double switch with Koroma and Williams replacing Norwood and Barry but at this point it all appeared a little to late. The match entered time added on and the two goal hero Fairhurst was replaced to a standing ovation by the Imps faithful to be replaced by Luke Foster in a move to just see out the final few minutes of the match. And this is how the match ended the Greens couldn't break the Imps down and the ref blew the final whistle and Sincil Bank erupted as Lincoln City gained a superb three points.
A fantastic victory for the Imps to ensure that after the opening three matches of the season we sit joint top of the table and have 7 points to show for our efforts. Fairhurst was easily the man of the match today and combined with Rowe's superb finish on Tuesday we do seem to have goals in us. We may not play the most attractive and creative football but we do at least have players who have confidence to shoot on sight and also finish. Something we have lacked in depth over the past few years, other than Jamie Taylor who was working single handedly it seems in his time here to score goals and gain us valuable points.
The Imps now have a break until Saturday where we will travel away to Cambridge in what is expected to be a very tough match against another of the leagues better sides who do enjoy to keep the ball down and move it around.
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