They say Nero watched Rome burn as he feasted. This is something the Lincoln City directors know only to well as they continued to wine and dine whilst the 1672 Imps trudged into the crisp winters night. As to whether it can continue, well results in an entertainment business ultimately decide the size of the portions in even corporate hospitality. Remember this is Sincil Bank not HBOS.
That is not to say this seven goal banquet at the Bank was not a cracking feast of football; indeed result apart both sets fans got tasty treats, braces for Mansett and Fleetwood for the victors; plus Facey, Clapham and Grimes for Sincil’s slain. Alas for Lincoln’s boss Tilson , the £27,000 prize went west to his fellow relegation strugglers, as Emperors injury struck rear guard capitulated.
As ever it was little Italy and flag waving from the Passionistas from the off as the Stacey West Choristers did their club proud. Oh for some of that spirit in the boardroom, particularly the chequebook of Emperor Dorian. Allegedly Uncle Bob is Villa bound (holiday not Aston alas) during the all important transfer window, whilst all await Wycombe’s sacking of Sincil Bank next week. Let us hope miracle worker Tilson can conjure clemency and the favour of the gods.
But to the Game fellow Imps, to the game……………………………..
Taking a leaf out of their opponent’s book, the Imps attacked the home end in bullish fashion. Grimes rang the chimes with a rasping drive that the hapless Bartlett just about palmed away from what turned out to be the opening goal. As if homing in on the Imps achilles, the Bulls drove straight down the middle meeting only Hoyte on the way. He initially appeared to have robbed Lunt splendidly as the two met like two Gladiators in a crunching 50/50, but the attacking midfield menace triumphed as fortune intervened. His sly slingshot to Manset allowed the gallic goal machine to beat Anyon all ends up from 15 yards.
Sound the charge of the Imps towards the Stacey we screamed. The Imps were stung into a passionate heart warming response, not without some nice passing football I might add. Indeed the desire to play attacking football was evident throughout the game, although with the Imps defence necessity is the mother of invention you feel. The Imps took the game to the Bulls from the restart as conjurer Carayol and Jarrett got to exercise their hamstrings. A spell of Jarrett Joie de vivre saw him cross for Grimes to head down Bartlett’s throat. Then a Jarrett and Clapham combo saw the winger feed Fi Fi full tum Facey. His downward header was spilled by sack the juggler Bartlett and Clapham capitalised to ram home the rebound.
Although the Imps would go on to take the lead, the pivotal moment of the game arrived in the tenth minute. Hoyte and Manset went in for a take no prisoners 50/50 with the Imp coming off worse. Cruncher Kerr came on and Sincil salivated as Green went to centre half and Hughton went to right back. There was in truth little Tilson could do, given the defensive woes, but it had light weight and only time will tell written all over when Fleetwood, Manset’s partner in crime, crashed a drive against the post. The Imps mopped their brow, moved down the left with Jarrett the juggler centring. Mighty ex Imp Janos half cleared to Grimes, who chipped to Howell, who in turn headed just over.
Facey on 24 decided to take the Bulls by the horns. Picking up a loose ball midway inside enemy territory, he surged forward using his expansive but low centre of gravity to outstanding effect. Just like Lincolnshire’s greatest invention, the tank, all incomings bounced off as he turned back inside to launch a low torpedo across Bartlett and inside the far post. Congas at the heart of the Stacey West as the Passionistas rushed to the advertising hoardings behind the goal.
The Imps now enjoyed the better of the play with Carayol in particular enjoying a purple patch. Green got a yellow for his trouble despite sending our wing wizard A over B. That said chances are what counts as Hereford sent two woodwork warnings. Prancing through our fragile defence like the proverbial Bulls in a China shop, they were denied by the post and then the bar before Fleetwood helped himself to a first half brace. On 36 minutes Manset threaded a ball to him in a crowded box. Fleetwood’s’ goal bound effort clipped the heel of Green sending Anyon the wrong way. Seven minutes later the Bulls countered when the ref played the advantage and destiny founf Fleetwood, the gifted goal machine chose to curl a fantastic 20-yard drive into the far corner past a flat footed Anyon.
Three minutes after the interval the determined never-say-die Imps were back on level terms. Grimes bettered Fleetwood’s effort. Clapham found him with a throw thirty yards from goal. He turned his men to give himself a yard, before curling a crunching cross drive just inside the top corner. Hats off, what a strike the freedom of Ritz’s for you young man and all the bling that Argos can offer. With such bounty available to him the lad will surely stay!
The second half could not live up to the incredible heights of the first and not surprisingly we saw a 20 minute lull as both sides appeared to settle for extra time and penalties. That was until Manset again outwitted Green and Swaibu to win it with a low left footed drive from 20 yards. Anyon could and should have done better misjudging the path of the ball as it crept inside his far post. He has Mazza’a weakness that’s for sure.
From then on the City hearts were broken as £27,000 flew over the Stacey West, still singing to an Imp. As the final whistle blue a member of the right side showed some tyipcal football humour. Despite the spaces between the sparse crowd he shouted down to a lad two rows from Anyons net.
“Sit down son some of us up here are trying to watch the game”.
Indeed we were and indeed we will be again as Wycombe come to town next weekend. Oh yes for hope and Impspiration are reborn when Saturday comes..
For Sincil's seriously statistically inclined....................
Lincoln City 3-4 Hereford (HT 2-3)
Imps - Clapham 6 Facey 24 Grimes 48
Bulls Manset 4 & 72 Fleetwood 36 & 43
Att 1794 (1672 Imps 122 Bulls)
Tale Of The Tape
Lincoln City 49% Possession Hereford 51%
Lincoln City 7 Shots on Hereford 7
Lincoln City 7 Shots off Hereford 6
Lincoln City 5 Corners Hereford 3
Lincoln City 10 Fouls Hereford 7
Lincoln City 3 Offsides Hereford 1
Lincoln City 1 Yellows Hereford 3
Lincoln City 0 Reds Hereford 1
Teams Line - Ups
Lincoln City FC
RB Green – CB Hoyte – CB Swaibu (Yellow) - LB Clapham
RW Jarrett – CM Hughton – CM Howell - LW Carayol
FC Grimes - FC Facey
Subs 20 Musselwhite, 03 Anderson, 09 McCallum, 11 Kerr (Hoyte 10), 10 Broughton, 27 Hutchinson (Carayol 46)
Hereford United FC
DR Kovacs – DC Townsend - DL Rose
RM Green (Yellow & Red)– CM Featherstone – CM Mcquiilkin – LM Heath
FC Fleetwood – FC Manset (Yellow)
Subs 8 Stratford, 15 Gwynne, 17 Colbeck, 21 Weir, 23 Evans, 27 Bauza (Yellow on for Manset 79)