And so to Lincoln verses Accrington Stanley, or to put a nil nil thoroughly theatrically, Mustapha magic & beauty against the beast perhaps. That is not to be harsh on Accy, but in truth Coleman’s sides are fashioned from grit, guts, gore and determination with functional, fearless and formidable written down their 4-5-1 spine and in that order.
All eyes were on young Mustapha Carayol, the Sincil Spright and one would hope for his sake and ours; he would be the mercurail change to the Imps line-up. Could one so blessed deliver, in the dreary drizzle beholding of the Sincil Drain, with a 3 week slot in the side guaranteed, thanks to a hamstrung Howells? And, for that matter could an unchanged Accrington Stanley side make it 4 wins on the spin? We would see, Sincillians and Stanleyites, we would see.
For those who dont get out much a blow by blow of the facts & stats follows at the end, but first to the.........
To the teams & Schemes.
Lincoln City 4-4-2
Kelly Hone Watts Hunt
Carayol O’Keefe Fuseini McCallum
Substitutions Hutchinson on for Grimes 74.
Substitutes 1 Anyon, 2 Green, 19 Clapham, 40 Kanyuka, 25 Hughton, 27 Hutchinson, 39 Spencer
Accrington Stanley 4-5-1
Jacobson Edwards Hessey (yellow) Winnard
Ryan Proctor Joyce Craney Barnett
Substitutions: McConville on for Barnett 46 Putterill on for Ryan 77
Substitutes 25 Dunbavin, 5 Long, 17 Murphy, 23 Smyth, 10 Putterill, 11 McConville, 9 Lindfield
But To The game footy fans to the game............
All eyes were on young Mustapha Carayol, the Sincil Spright and one would hope for his sake and ours; he would be the mercurail change to the Imps line-up. Could one so blessed deliver with a 3 week slot guaranteed in the side thanks to a hamstrung Howells? And, for that matter could an unchanged Accrington Stanley side make it 4 wins on the spin? We would see.
The Imps attacked the Go Car, or should we say Gone Care stand and nearly added to the two gifts from Oxford on Saturday. Hessey’s hospital back pass, a poor ball not a procedure you understand, almost saw Grimes round Alex Cisak a keeper so tall he has snow as opposed to dandruff atop his thinning crown.
Carayol looked promising down the right early doors and sent over a wonderful cross that an unchallenged Cisak claimed well. Grimes also sent a half chance down the keeper’s throat. Accy found their rhythm and began to strangle the midfield. A Joyce effort was deflected for a corner and Procter took Craney’s flick in his stride to thankfully hammer wide. What a gifted, if ageing but sprightly fellow Craney is, the chap positively livened up and almost won the game single handedley.
Two Carayol cameos saw him skin his men before firing ferocious drives form distance that awoke us from a battle of attrition bordering on frustration and tedium, Alex Cisak got both palms to the first and confidently let the second fizzle in the drizzle somewhat closer to the corner flag than his goal. McCallum also got a look in with the keeper saving well before Accy missed the first of a series of guilt edged chances. With the defence and midfield cut asunder Craney delivered a perfect ball into the middle. Ryan swung but inexcusably managed just an ‘airshot’ as the ball ran to safety. Bartlett then sliced a second point blank effort agonisingly wide as the fates continued to favour the Imps.
With the Imps attacking the home end second half all were full of expectation as the unchanged Imps took to the field. Few noticed that danger man McConville (on for Barnett) was Accrington’s subtle change. His first touch saw him connect with a low effort that thankfully went wide after a swift counter from the visitors. On the hour someone in a red and white shirt remembered we had a winger and played to Carayol who skinned two before being denied by the body block of a third. Craney took the up field punt magnificently in his stride, outwitted Watts a couple of times before curling a glorious effort a foot above the right hand angle of the Go Car Goal.
With 16 minutes plus stoppages left and Grimes a pedestrian in proceedings, Ben Hutchinson came on to almost immediate effect, although Hessey was quickly onto him at the expense of a corner. O’Keefe or Fuseini – both had such poor games they actually blended into the bleakness and drizzle – managed to get the ball to Carayol who duly did his part. Again he beat two and delivered an inch perfect cross to Hone, who alas headed straight at Cisak.
Hutchinson was certainly putting himself about, forcing Hessey to trip him as he took a Facey ball in his stride. As the last man he should have seen red not yellow with big bad Ben in on goal and certain to have at least a strike. He did get that strike but his poor stubbed free kick must have bounced twice before going under the wall and at least twice more before Cisak collected with ease.
At least both sides appeared up for a final flurry with a McConville volley fizzing just wide and Carson earning his clean sheet bonus with a commanding claim from a proper corner from Joyce. No short jobs for him, whip them hard and whip them deep to cause some real panic in the penalty area - where it is needed and really hurts. Back down the home end McCallum miss hit one and there were no surprises when off key O’Keefe looked the gift horse in the mouth and missed. Fuseini his pick pocket partner also saw a somewhat more deserving twenty yarder hit the side netting to ooohs and ahs from those not already halfway down the Sincil Bank.
A points a point this time of the season you feel with mid table mediocrity accepted with pleasure after the now annual brush with Blue Square oblivion, is thankfully passed again. The target as Tilson rightly says is 50 points and we will not be on a rain sodden pitch facing Accy style attrition every week. That said with Southend at home next week (after Burton away on Tuesday) we are fast running out of opportunities to dazzle the home faithful in time for season ticket renewals next season. Let us hope then that those who are offering our board some cash ‘fit the criteria’ whatever that might mean? For with cash Steve Tilson can build us a side that could just as well entertain as compete. Without it he may just return to the south as soon as an opportunity arises. He has after all taken a side that looked doomed to leaving the football league to safety. Counting chickens perhaps but we need to look far higher than that if our club is to reach its potential. New blood is needed and quick.
Lincoln City 0 - 0 Accrington
Ref: Horwood Att: 2,868 (2743 Imps 125 guests)
Lincoln City 50% Accrington 50%
Shots on target
Lincoln City 4 Accrington 2
Shots off target
Lincoln City 4 Accrington 10
Lincoln City 2 Accrington 4
Lincoln City 13 Accrington 14
Lincoln City 3 Accrington 2
Lincoln City 3 Accrington 2