Lincoln City 2 Bristol Rovers 1

Last updated : 29 March 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Bristol Rovers were pushed deeper into trouble at the bottom of the table after crashing to a 2-1 defeat at Lincoln.

Rovers struggled to deal with Lincoln's direct style for most of the match but created enough chances in the final 20 minutes to have deserved a share of the points.

They were denied two late penalty appeals before new signing Andy Rammell beat City keeper Alan Marriott with a stoppage time header only for Stuart Bimson to clear it off the line.

Lincoln gained an early advantage when Peter Gain beat two defenders before setting up Daniel Webb for an easy goal in the 21st minute.

Seconds later City almost doubled their lead when Ben Futcher powered in a header only for Scott Howie to save.

Lincoln were stunned when Rovers immediately hit back and took advantage of sloppy defending to draw level.

Rovers’ impressive defender Ijah Anderson broke down the left and fired in a cross which was turned in by Vitalijs Astafjevs.

Lincoln netted what proved to be the winner in the 29th minute when Futcher rose above the Rovers defence to head home a free-kick from Gain.

The Imps could have added to their lead before the break with Futcher having a header cleared off the line by Anderson.

Howie then saved at the feet of Webb before City's New Zealander Allan Pearce was denied by the woodwork.

Howie produced a stunning 40th minute save to keep out a volley from Chris Cornelly.

But the Pirates gradually got back into the game and pushed Lincoln back.

City were forced to defend desperately after Rovers boss Ray Graydon switched to a three-man strike-force with the introduction of substitute Paul Tait for the out-of-form Lee Hodges.

Tait had only been on the pitch for seven minutes when he was yellow carded for a late challenge on Marriott. But he kept up the pressure on the home keeper and unsettled him.

Marriott had a real let off 16 minutes from time when he appeared to pull down Tait after dropping the ball inside his own box but referee Mark Warren ignored the appeal for a penalty.

Rammell forced another error out of Marriott late on but the keeper recovered to clear with his feet.