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Report V Dartford FC (#2)

City played out their second goalless draw in two games thanks to a turgid affair at Sincil Bank.

Gary Simpson returned to the three at the back system that brought the Imps back to back wins over Braintree last month, with Arnaud Mendy playing as a makeshift right wing-back and captain Alan Power returning to the starting eleven with Kris Bright. Dartford meanwhile lined up in a 4-4-2 with former Boston and Worksop forward Mikel Suarez playing up front with Danny Harris.

With the Imps struggling to gain any foothold in the game whatsoever, it was the Kent outfit who made the first real chance of the game after ten minutes when captain Elliot Bradbrook managed to work some space down City's right. Bradbrook's low cross caught out Lincoln's back three and as the Imps scrambled across the ball fell to Luton loanee Jim Stevenson, whose rising half volley was tipped over acrobatically by Nick Townsend.

The Imps were not involved in an attacking sense at all, with their only real foray into Dartford's defensive third coming when Jake Sheridan whipped a deep cross in from the right and earned the Imps a corner, with Newton's delivery nervously punched away by Alan Julian. Suarez blasted over from 25 yards in response, with the Imps yet to muster up a shot on goal themselves.

In truth the Darts looked much more likely to open the scoring and continued to find joy down the flanks despite the departure of Bradbrook. Suarez looped a header into the arms of Townsend before the away side spurned one of the best chances of the afternoon. A deep centre from the right hand side was headed back across goal by defender Mat Mitchel-King, but that man Stevenson could only head over from an unmarked position within the six yard box. A let off for City.

Three minutes were added on and one moment really summed up City's afternoon so far as Charlee Adams sliced a wild shot towards the corner flag. A half to forget.

With the wind at their backs the Imps came into the game after the restart. Tom Miller moved across to right back, while Alan Power switched with Arnaud Mendy as the Imps reverted to the 4-2-3-1/ 4-3-3 style regularly deployed throughout this campaign. The switch almost paid immediate dividends as Alan Power's free kick was flicked wide by Foster before Jake Sheridan's dynamic run was cynically halted by Max Cornhill.

The resultant free kick spooned wide off the wall and City found themselves in the ascendancy, threatening with a couple of corners before Newton lashed another free kick inches wide of Julian's post. Tom Miller also forced a low diving save from the Dartford 'keeper as the game approached the hour mark, but for all of City's early pressure it was the Darts who carved out the best chance of the second half. The Imps were caught out on the break with Luke Foster looking a little shaky at centre half, and Suarez laid in Woodyard with just Townsend to beat. Unfortunately for Tony Burman's men the young midfielder could only roll a tame effort into the clutches of Townsend, before Harris wasted a decent opportunity down City's left, firing wildly towards the executive boxes.

Gary Simpson then replaced the ineffective Nolan with Coby Arthur as the clock ticked towards the seventy minute mark, and it looked to be an inspired substitution. Jake Sheridan was also removed from the fray, but not before he wasted one of City's few clear cut chances as he found the side netting when through on goal. Conner Robinson was his replacement down the left.

Those two changes created problems for the Darts immediately, with the Birmingham youngster combining with Tom Miller to play in Robinson, whose shot was blocked. Koby was involved again when he nicked the ball away in central midfield and shared a neat one two with Robinson before laying the ball into Alan Power, whose side footed effort went wide of the post. The latter again went close as he drilled a low volley at Julian's goal after the Darts failed to clear a long throw, but it looked like the Imps were going to fail to unlock the Dartford defence.

The last five minutes saw Dartford tire somewhat but it was not until the last kick of the game that City forced another chance, with the lively Arthur setting a curler just outside of the goalkeeper's left hand post. In the end it wasn't to be and City were left to settle for their second successive goalless draw.

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The Journalist

Writer: Rasenimp Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 6 2014

Time: 6:00AM


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