The Imps defeated Oxford United tonight thanks to two own goals conjured from some keystone cops defending, for once not of our own making. It puts us within 9 points of Tilly’s target of 50 points. Carayol would get on and it would be he that made the difference in the end, although he can and must put in far more of a shift.
First to the teams and schemes
Lincoln City 4-4-2
Kelly Hone Watts Hunt
Howell O’Keefe Fuseini McCallum
Substitutions: Carayol (Yellow) on for Howell 24 Hutchinson on for Facey 80 Spencer on for Grimes 88.
Substitutes 1 Anyon, 2 Green, 19 Clapham, 40 Kanyuka, 7 Carayol, 7 Hutchinson, 39 Spencer
Oxford Utd 4-3-3
Tonkin Wright Batt Worley
McLaren Hall Heslop
MacLean Constable Cradock
Substitutions; Hackney on for Craddock 74 Potter on for Hall 76, Midson on for MacLean 81.
Substitutes 21 Eastwood, 5 Sangare, 11 Clist, 16 Hackney, 28 Payne, 10 Midson, 15 Potter
But to the game footy fans to the game………………
The Imps scored very much against the run of play after Oxford had gone for the jugular from the off. Heslop sent an early effort wide of the far post and Constable and Watts tussled twice in search of that all important psychological advantage. That would go the way of the Imps as the momentum changed in an instant, when McCallum played in O’Keefe who charged through. Although his initial shot was parried he followed up to finish the job from close range. With less than 5 minutes on the clock the Imps were one up with the wind well and truly knocking the stuffing from the visitors.
Oxford’s pass and move was replaced with a far more direct long ball game as the Imps snapped early at the visitors, eager to add to their advantage. An end to end phase saw the Imps playing the better football with both Craddock and Facey being pulled up for offsides. Oxford then began to play football again with Hall and Heslop getting the ball down and playing to feet. On 21 minutes Heslop fouled Howell to end his contribution to proceedings.
So Carayol would indeed get his chance to impress at Sincil Bank playing to Facey who chipped a looping effort onto the roof of the net. Facey then played a lovely ball to Grimes who shot wide before Constable cleared the crossbar rugby fly half style. Few chances first half as the Imps width seemed to be more than a match for Oxford’s narrow 4-3-3. Then just 6 minutes before half time we let them back into the game. Craddock half hit a bobbled shot straight at Carson who spilt it and MacLean followed up to bury the rebound with aplomb.
Carayol gave us a couple of Cameos, winning two corners after ghosting past two players each time but the half would end a 1-1 anticlimax. Clever Trevor Carson, an invaluable hero so often, had become the pantomime villain again. The news from the dressing room suggested Howells would be out for a couple of weeks at least due to a hamstring injury.
No changes at half time as Oxford United approached the second half with the same endeavour as that which served them so well in the first up until the Imps scored. Craddock grazed the bar with a looping effort onto the roof of the net, Hall put one wide and MacLean hit a fierce one that Carson held well. Carayol then ran straight into trouble as the Imps struggled to get out of their own half. McCallum, on the charge, was then chopped down in his prime by Batt, who incredibly escaped a card.
McCallum was warming up and sent over a superb cross that Facey cushioned to Grimes. Grimes effort was blocked, as was Carayol’s effort at the expense of a corner. Carayol then played to McCallum, then took the return to fleece all and sundry and do what god put him on the planet to do He delivered a beauty into the danger area for Facey who shot at Worley. Worley however inexplicably hooked a howitzer into his own net for an own goal of some note. Facey not surprisingly claimed it.
Carayol’s second cameo in a matter of moments saw a second assist for a second own goal. This time the winger’s unplayable delivery was sliced over the head of the keeper by the other full back Tonkin
How bizarre two own goals put the Imps 15th just 9 points from our safety target and 1 point behind Saturday’s opponents Accrington. Good news indeed but let us hope we have far more than the 1975 home fans here tonight on what needs to be a Sincil Super Saturday,
Lincoln City 1 - 0 Oxford Utd (HT 1-1 )
Scorers Lincoln: O'Keefe 5 Worley (og) 63 Tonkin (og) 67
Oxford: MacLean 40
Ref: Geoff Eltringham
Att 2261 (Imps 1975 Visitors 286)
Possession Lincoln City 47% Oxford Utd 53%
Shots on target Lincoln City 4 Oxford Utd 3
Shots off target Lincoln City 2 Oxford Utd 7
Corners Lincoln City 4 Oxford Utd 2
Offsides Lincoln City 5 Oxford Utd 4
Fouls Lincoln City 7 Oxford Utd 8
Saves Lincoln City 3 Oxford Utd 2
Yellow Cards Lincoln City 1 Oxford Utd 0