After The Crewe Débacle The Imps Have Been Sent To Coventry
Lincoln City head south and a bit west on Saturday to visit the Ricoh Arena, home of Coventry City FC so a new ground for most Imps, I expect. Interestingly, we have only played Coventry away five times in all competitions, four in the League (drew one and lost three) and one in the FA Cup which we drew 1-1 on 11 December 1926, winning the replay 2-1 four days later at Sincil Bank. Come Saturday and it will be exactly 56 years and one day since we played them in Coventry; Friday 02 March 1962 and we also sneaked our first ever point from there by drawing the game 2-2. This was a full year before I started watching the Imps in 1963, funnily enough also against the Sky Blues in that much-postponed FA Cup Third Round tie at Sincil Bank.
Last Saturday is a game soonest forgotten, which is a real shame as I had the pleasure of meeting up with many members of this website in the Executive Box that our Match Sponsorship earned us. However, I feel that a display like that was very much in the offing and, following the 3-1 loss at Crawley, we have now conceded SEVEN goals in just two games. As most fans, I cannot put my finger on exactly why this has happened, but I doubt the numerous changes to the starting line up (whether forced or unforced) will have helped. I think that we particularly missed Neal Eardley last week and, with Scott Wharton dropped to the bench to allow for the return of Lee Frecklington forcing Michael Bostwick back into the defence, it looked a bit of a disjointed team which, albeit, started that game so brightly. James Wilson's return can't come soon enough for me but if we must play Bozzie at the back again, maybe it's time to give Elliott Whitehouse a start. Much as I love Freck, I really don't think he is fully fit yet and shouldn't be in the starting eleven.
Coventry came away from Sincil Bank in November with all three points, following a late smash-and-grab routine after Matt Rhead had given City a first half lead. Can we do the same to them? My head says, "no" especially after they had a cracking 0-1 win at Wycombe Wanderers last night to creep above us in the table. Our respective current form guides are very similar, so there isn't much there for us to go on although it must be said that we have never lost three on the bounce whilst the Cowleys have been in charge and I suspect (or should that be fervently hope) they will engineer a rot-stopping performance. I believe we will have in excess of 4,000 fans in the Ricoh who will sing and cheer their heroes on, hopefully to victory. Can you just imagine that; a second 4,000+ crowd at an AWAY game in the same season?
My final question must be, will the game go ahead? As I sit here looking out my dining room window, it wouldn't! Then again, I gather the weather forecast for the weekend looks much milder than it is now, so I live in hope.
Ever the optimist, I am going for a well-organised, high-pressing game which will see the Imps return to winning ways, thanks to a Matt Green goal, supplied, as ever, by Matt Rhead. We may well be headed for Lady Godiva country but let's hope the Imps don't get caught with their pants down!
Keep the faith, folks, the season ain't over yet, don't you know!
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City FC for the photographs.