If the Gillingham game is anything to go by there is no need to rock the boat it seems as the good ship Sincil will sink just fine on her own. Not this year in all probability but some season very soon. With the Lincoln flag at half mast and an almost constant slow clap from the Stacey West the Gills took us apart in every department at will with the turn of ex Tottenham Hotspur and a half Barcham's heel or the flick of Cody McDonald's boot.
That is not to say both sides did not play some slick football, it is just that the Imps in 4-4-2 mode, brave but bereft of ability and leaders, ran out of style and guile, in reality shortly after conceding the first, with only one side showing the desire and quality needed when and where it counts. Headless and chickens, nowadays, are never too far from the pantomine that purports to be our pride and joy over the years.
For the benefit of our Gillingham guests, first the teams & schemes, then the match report and finally the match facts & stats and tell all table. Thanks again for reading.
Lincoln City 4-4-2
Kelly Hone Watts Anderson
Howell Fuseini O’Keefe McCallum
Grimes (Y) Hutchinson
Substitutions Kilbey on for O’Keefe 68 Broughton on for Hutchinson 68 Spencer on for Grimes 76
Substitutes 1 Anyon, 2 Green, 19 Clapham, 25 Hughton, 26 Kilbey, 10 Broughton, 39 Spencer
Fuller Gowling Laurence Martin
Weston Mayer Spiller
McDonald Akinfenwa Barcham
Substitutions Payne on for Weston 53, Payne on for Akinfenwa 76, Rooney on for Spiller 80.
Substitutes 26 Cronin, 3 Nutter, 6 Richards, 18 Jackman, 14 Rooney, 28 Payne, 23 Payne
But To The game Footy fans to the game.........
Tilson hoped that fortune would favour the brave with 4-4-2 and returning goal machine Grimes. From the kick-off, taken by the Imps, we made the early running with some slick passing. Hutchinson lively and eager to extend stay, crossed for Howell but his drive was saved by Julian. My word the chap is so orange he is vitamin C personified, get within 20 paces of the lad and you have been visually tangoed at the very least.
The tempo and ascendancy were with the Imps we thought, lulled into that false sence of Sincil security. We who looked the promotion chasing side given the Gills penchant for a pressing game and counter, as yet unable to get up a head of steam. Alas the counter is the Imps achilles, with a two man central midfield motorway only good going forward and McCallum unable to give the hapless Kelly much cover. Ditto Mr Anderson, like Hughton he is a tease going forward, but that is not the key role for a full back is it?
The Gills counter attacking football was easy on the eye but hard on the heart, with Barcham ending one whirlwind move with a drive straight down Parish’s throat. A confidence booster for the lad who had seen six go past him on his last Sincil stewardship. Another shocking short corner from McCallum put us on the back foot again, as a four man move of quality saw a curler from 22 goal Cody McDonald saved by Parish. He also fired one just over, so the statistics would have it, although Parish actually made a fantastic reaction save to ensure it cleared the bar
The Gills were threatening us at will now, with two more lighting counters. Barcham, the man of the match as opposed to wet fuse Fuseini, roasted Kelly again, McDonald headed the overhit cross into the danger zone and Akinfenwa rose above Hone despite his height advantage. Parish made the save under the Stacey West bar to the home fans relief. Credit where credit was due the Passionistas had been magnificent in our support up until then. Despite our height we are shocking at corners, on 20 minutes over one came and good old Gowling proved a point or two with an unmarked header straight down the middle.
We did not completely cave in with Howells prodding wide after the goal. Howell then had a third chance, a drive Julian duly saved with McCallum seeing his follow up blocked by Martin at the expense of a corner. Grimes also finally got some service but blazed over. The Gills killed it with class, showing us how to finish in style. Martin fed Barcham who brilliantly beat three, Kelly, Fuseini and Hone who came across to at least make a challenge, and crossed a ball that begged to be headed home. Fortunately McDonald had the freedom of Lincolnshire eight yards out to head home. Watts has the tactical awareness and marking ability of a tot on their first day at crèche at times. Naivety, captaincy and calamity and inevitability comes to mind with the Imps now dead and buried four minutes before half time. The boos were well deserved as all trudged off for their oranges – Julian apart.
With the Imps attacking the Stacey West second half, we hoped to salvage something, perhaps even pride and passion, from a game we had only conceded on the verge of half time. Tilson kept the same side which not surprisingly failed to get into the Gills who were sitting deep. At two up and with our lot in front of them they could pick us off at will. This they duly did as Cody McDonald waltzed past 3 to slide home off Dany Hone from 14 yards. The own goal was hard on the lad who could do little but divert the goal bound effort into the net, story of his life I guess, his brave efforts are always undone.
McDonald, Akinfenwa and Barcham were now toying with the half dozen that purport to be a case for the defence. McDonald was denied by another glorious save from Parish. Tilson, a bench bereft of ability and quality options, saw it too and attempted to change things. On came long Tom Kilbey and Drew Broughton to add some height and passion at least. Hutchinson and O’Keefe, who should in reality have been the bench warmers, sat down just in time to enjoy the fourth. Barcham again beat Kelly and co and crossed for Akinfenwa to out jump 3 to head home. Well that is if they had jumped of course.
Grimes them completed the day by earning a yellow for a foul on Matt Lawrence with the game lost and was lucky not to see red for a second. Whether it was this or the 10 yellows of the season and a two match ban dawning on the manager, he was duly substituted for Spencer. With the slow hand clapping ringing in their ears and the Gills thinking of future battles the Imps took the ascendancy, with no end product as usual.
The patience of the Lincoln fans, nay loyalty, appears to know no bounds. Slow handclap, well more sarcastic constant clapping and booing suggests the boards sound bytes and calls for early season ticket renewals are falling on deaf ears. We must dig deep. Yet this apathy and abdication of responsibility bordering on neglect at all levels are now threatening our clubs future. No one shouted sack the board, no demo just acceptance of our lot, which appears more and more the Lincoln way with the message boards taken from us by stealth.
Grimes thankfully will miss Bury and Crewe away after that second yellow and be back for Cheltenham our Cup final for 2011. Let us hope like Jacko, Tilson can pick the battles he knows he can win and concede those he cannot. For if the Imps go down we will not get back and more than likely lose Sincil Bank on the cheap too. With Barnet and Hereford winning, things are becoming more uncomfortable, shades of 1986/87 anyone? Sorry I can’t leave you happy Imps but even the oracle of optimism needs time to recharge the positivity cells. Until then any early season tickets pitches will bring the day the mob shout sack the board ever closer. Can’t do without them, what value do they genuinely add to the institution they preside over. Lincoln - Our City Our club? Community club? These words are rehashed, ideas half borrowed and half implemented. But without the passion without a heart at the club the sentiments are hollow and doomed to failure.
Yes I am ashamed to say I did not start a sack the board chant on Saturday, indeed did not start a chant at all. Apathy and abdication of responsibility gripped me and for that I apologise for my wilful neglect towards a club I adore. Just over a year ago Craig Baker died. He coined the slogan, your site your choice and your voice. I used to speak to him daily and miss his incite into what really went on at Lincoln immensely. What a shame those with money like Keith Roe, Ray True and now Michael Foley are driven from our club, by those who have little. £50k, now raised to £75 is a nice gesture but the money men make the Crawley, Fleetwood, Wigan and Blackpool miracles happen. But we don’t want them do we, they would doubtless end up with our ground?
Lincoln City 0 - 4 Gillingham (HT 0-2)
Gills Gowling 20 McDonald 41 Hone (og) 59 Akinfenwa 69
Att: 3,022 (2486 Imps 536 Gills)
Lincoln City 50% Gillingham 50%
Shots on target
Lincoln City 2 Gillingham 8
Shots off target
Lincoln City 1 Gillingham 3
Lincoln City 5 Gillingham 2
Lincoln City 6 Gillingham 4
Lincoln City 3 Gillingham 0
Lincoln City 4 Gillingham 11
Lincoln City 1 Gillingham 0
1 Chesterfield 41 32 78
2 Wycombe 41 13 69
3 Bury 40 29 68
4 Shrewsbury 41 15 66
5 Torquay 41 23 64
6 Stevenage 41 19 64
7 Gillingham 41 15 64
8 Accrington 41 13 64
9 Port Vale 41 3 61
10 Rotherham 41 14 60
11 Oxford Utd 41 0 57
12 Aldershot 41 -1 56
13 Crewe 41 17 55
14 Southend 41 3 53
15 Morecambe 41 -12 49
16 Cheltenham 41 -19 48
17 Bradford 40 -15 47
18 Macclesfield 41 -16 47
19 Hereford 41 -14 46
20 Lincoln City 41 -29 46
21 Northampton 41 -11 43
22 Burton Albion 39 -16 41
23 Barnet 41 -18 41
24 Stockport 41 -45 36