City have been paired with Darlington in the first round of the Johnstones Paint Trophy, with the game due to be played at The White Elephant stadium on September 1st at 7.45pm.
In past years the JPT has become something of a sideshow for many, with the only real prestige coming from the final. Last years winners were Luton Town who beat Scunthorpe 3-2 in a thrilling Wembley final. The anomaly with the tournament is neither Scunthorpe nor Luton will be competing this year as one got promoted to the Championship and Luton were relegated by the FA.
Lincoln haven’t had the best of runs in competition in recent years. Last year we received a bye at this stage, and got a plum away tie with Leicester City in the second round. A credible 0-0 draw there ended with us defeated on penalties, but sparked a run of 7 games undefeated, five of which were wins.
The season before this an away tie at Hartlepool in front of just 936 people ended in a 5-2 defeat for City, with two goals from Mark Stallard. The very next game was a 4-0 defeat at MK Dons that spelled the end of Mr Deehan and Mr Schofield as the Imps management team.
Back in 2006 we managed to land a tie against Grimsby but again low attendances plagued the tie. Just over 2,000 people turned up to watch a 0-0 draw, before Jamie Forrester missed the crucial spot kick. This game kicked off early in an attempt to attract the crowds, and on 90 minutes went straight to penalty kicks.
In the previous years were recorded losses at Tranmere and Doncaster, and you have to go back as far as the 2003/04 season since our last win in the competition. That year we beat Telford 3-1 at the Bank, and then beat Chesterfield 4-3 after a ‘silver’ goal from Gary Taylor Fletcher in extra time. However any thoughts of glory were cut short when we visited Conference side Halifax and were beaten by a Kevin Sandwith goal. Sandwith later signed for the Imps.
In 2002/03 it was our turn to be eliminated by a goal in extra time, Shrewsbury beating us 2-1 at Sincil Bank thanks to a ‘golden goal’ this time. Adam Buckley had scored for the Imps in the third round tie before Luke Rodgers equalised. However defender Darren Moss struck the golden goal past Imps keeper Paul Pettinger. Earlier in the competition we’d seen off York City 4-3, after going into the final 10 minutes 2-1 down. However a goal from Ben Futcher on 80 minutes equalised before big Jon Parkin scored a minute later. However a last minute Yeo double sealed the Imps passage to defeat against The Shrews.
You have to go all the way back to 2000/01 to witness any minor City success in the trophy. Wins over Morecombe, Blackpool, Hartlepool and Chesterfield saw the Imps net an impressive 11 goals. The win over Chesterfield was more surprising as at the time they were running away with League Two while City muddled about in the bottom three. However by the time we made the area final a place at The Millennium Stadium was at stake and Port Vale beat us by 2-0 over the two legs, despite us registering an impressive 0-0 draw at Vale Park. Vale then defeated Brentford in the final to become winners.
In 1997 a run of 18 unbeaten games in all competitions was ended by Wigan Athletic beating us 1-0 in this competition. Our league form suffered as we then went 8 games without a win, a run that included a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Peterborough, an FA Cup exit at the hands of Emley and a 5-3 thumping at Sincil Bank by Notts County. We did have the last laugh though by clinching 3rd place in the league ahead of Peterborough.
The tournament has had more names than Carlos The Jackal, having been lumbered with such monikers as The Associate Members Cup, The Freight Rover Trophy, Sherpa Vans Trophy, Leyland DAF Cup, Autoglass Trophy, Auto Windscreens Shield, LDV Vans Trophy, Football League Trophy and now Johnstone's Paint Trophy, as well as it’s unofficial title ‘The Mickey Mouse’ trophy.
Prior to the competitions inception in 1984 there had been another competition. The 1982-83 season saw the setting up of the Football League Group Cup, a competition which was re-named the Football League Trophy for the 1983-84 season. However unlike the present Football League Trophy, these competitions were not limited to lower-division clubs and hence it was a different competition
It was of course this previous competition that City reached the final of in 1983/84, losing to Millwall in the final at Sincil Bank on April 20th by 3-2. The next year the current competition was created with the idea the final would be played at Wembley. It was subsequently played at Hull City after the ‘Horse of the Year’ show destroyed the Wembley turf.