Lincoln City 2 Mansfield Town 0

Last updated : 31 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer
2 goals in 2 games and 8 consecutive starts - Toner continues to impress the City faithful
City turned on the style in the second half to destroy in-form Mansfield. Town went into the game with their confidence built up after only one defeat in their previous eight matches, with City boosted by last weeks fine 4-2 derby win over Grimsby Twon.
City had the better of the opening half but both teams found it difficult to create chances in a relatively poor first 45. The Imps should have gone in front in the 43rd minute when Francis Green set up Simon Yeo but the striker failed to hit the target from 10 yards with only the keeper to beat.
The half time whistle couldn't come soon enough and Poachers half time penalty shoot-out with Splat the Kat provided more goalmouth action than the fans had seen all game! If only they knew what was in store.

The Imps hauled off Jamie McCombe at half time. City had started with a 5-3-2 as per usual, but with The Stags only playing one up front Keith pushed McCombe forward. The lumbering defender looked out of place and uncomfortable up front, and he was replaced by Peter Gain to give the Imps a 4-3-3 formation with Toner holding the midfield and allowing Gain the freedom to create. The Imps never looked back.
They snatched the lead early in the second half when Yeo forced his way down the left flank and fired over a cross. Matthew Bloomer headed against the bar when he should have netted, but the ball came down for Ciaran Toner to poke home from close range.

Town keeper Kevin Pilkington then made a superb point blank save to keep out an effort from Francis Green.

Mansfield's chances of a point disappeared in the 65th minute when they were reduced to 10 men. Central defender and ex City trainee Luke Dimech wrestled Yeo to the ground as the Lincoln man tried to break clear from his own half. Referee Eddie Ilderton immediately red-carded the Town player for the foul. The referee showed tremendous strength and belief in his decision to immediately dismiss Dimech as Yeo was a good ten yards inside his own half. However the decision was spot on as Dimech was the last man whether Yeo had 80 yards to run or not.

Lincoln went on to waste a string of chances and when they did hit the target found Pilkington in excellent form. Taylor Fletcher missed a good opening, and the almost magical Peter Gain continually weaved his way through a shoddy looking backline only to be denied by Pilkington. The keeper made a superb save from Green when he pushed the ball away and then reacted quickly to complete the save as Gary Taylor-Fletcher moved in for the kill.

Richard Butcher wasted a glorious chance in the 71st minute when he shot straight at Pilkington. It was all one way traffic as the Imps looked for that killer goal.

Three minutes later The Imps almost paid for their failure to find the net. A mistake by Gareth McAuley allowed Derek Asamoah to break down the right flank . The Town striker produced a perfect cross to find the unmarked Colin Larkin who lashed a superb volley goalwards from about twelve yards out. It was hit sweetly and at point blank range, but Englands number one keeper Alan Marriott pulled a world class save from his repetoire to further enhance his reputation. Sincil Bank rose to its feet in recognition of a fantastic match saving stop.

Following this breif scare it was back to business as usual for City. Another easy chance went begging in the 76th minute when Taylor-Fletcher created the opening for Bloomer but the defender hit his shot into the stand.

Lincoln finally got their second goal of the game in the 82nd minute and in doing so put the clash to bed. Kevin Sandwith blasted in a 20 yard free-kick low and hard (as opposed to the usual City tactic of going high and wide)which came back off Pilkington who had a poor view of proceedings. As the Town defenders watched, Yeo pounced for his 13th goal of the season. It was no surprise to see the industrious forward on the end of the effort and no less than he deserved from a full matches endeavour.

The result leaves the Imps 6th in the table and cemented their challenge for a play off spot.