Writer: Jamie Earls
Date:Saturday August 23 2014
Lincoln City made it three wins on the spin on Saturday at Sincil Bank against Braintree Town, after edging a 5 goal thriller against there Vanarama Conference rivals, that was tainted by Tony Diagne's controversial second half red card.
As expected Imps boss Gary Simpson kept faith with the starting eleven that defeated Barnet at the Hive last week, with the only change coming amongst the city substitutes, with Kegan Everington replaced Karl Ledsham on the bench.
As has been the case in all of their outings this season, Lincoln City raced out of the blocks against Braintree, and took the lead after some early good early pressure. It wont be the best goal he will ever score, but a Sean Newton corner missed everyone in the penalty area and amazingly found the back of the net. Braintree's keeper may feel he should have done better.
City looked confident and were moving the ball around the pitch well, and Ben Tomlinson nearly doubled their lead only to be denied by keeper Hannan from range. The second goal wouldn't be long coming though, and the trusty left boot of Sean Newton delivered another inch perfect cross to Hamza Bencherif, who powered home his header for his second in as many weeks.
The Imps were crusing, with Nick Townsend not really tested in front of the Stacey West Stand, and maybe should have added to their lead, but they were unable to find a way through the visitors back line as the half came to a close.
After being completely in control in the first half, the Imps didn't really get going at the start of the second half. Tony Diagne appeared to still be in the dressing room after losing his marker once at the start of the half, and the city centre half wouldn't get away with it twice, pulling back Cox for a penalty moments later.
In a controversial turn of events though, the referee deemed Diagne to be the last man and sent the city centre back off, when it appeared there was a covering defender. After a long pause Braintree's Kenny Davis calmly stepped up to dispatch the penalty and put the visitors back in the game.
Braintree were getting stronger, but some poor defending would let them down when a clever pass by Jon Nolan found Ben Tomlinson, who raced past his marker to smash past keeper Hannan and open his account for the season, much to the delight of last seasons top scorer.
Braintree continued to knock at the door, but unfortunately the referee had lost control of the game, and late tackles by both teams would cause the flow of the game to disappear as the visitors looked to find a way back.
As the game petered out and the clock hit ninety minutes the visitors pulled one back with a hefty deflection off Bencherif put the ball past keeper Townsend.
The Imps would survive a few nervy minutes though to seal another big three points, that would take them into the play off places after four games. Next up is many peoples favourites for the title Halifax at the Shay, can the Imps defeat another promotion favourite on the road?
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