Torquay have the ingenious Stanley to thank, for his two throughballs were the difference in this one against the resilient Imps. With Grimes not fit enough to start the visitors lined up 4-5-1, with Ben Hutchinson given the chance to lead the line and salvage his career in Impdom. His miss at 0-0 would cost us dear after a battling performance for the opening three quarters of the game, as the Gulls took full advantage to bag two late ones to fly up the table to sixth.
But let us not get too far ahead of ourselves, firstly to the teams & schemes then the match report and finally more stats than you can shake an Imp or Gull at.
To The Teams Schemes & dreams of The Gulls & The Imps
Mansell Robertson (Y) Branston Nicholson
Murray Stanley (Y) Lathorpe Robinson
Substitutions Kee on for Murray 31, O’Kane on for Lathorpe 56 Stevens on for Robinson 59
Substitutes 16 Potter, 2 Rowe-Turner, 18 Oastler, 4 Ellis, 10 O'Kane, 19 Stevens, 8 Kee
Lincoln City 4-5-1
Kelly Hone Watts (Y) Anderson
Carayol Fuseini(Y) O’Keefe (Y) Kilbey (Y) McCallum
Substitutions Hughton on for Carayol 10 Grimes on for Kilbey 46 Broughton on for Hutchinson 85
Substitutes 20 Musselwhite, 2 Green, 19 Clapham, 25 Hughton, 29 Grimes, 10 Broughton, 39 Spencer
But to the game footy fans to the game...............
Spring was in the air, on a pleasant day in the West Country with the 153 donning their shades, soaking up sun sand and Steam beer aplenty. Unless of course you are a wide boy called Mustapha Carayol who had chosen the Middle East over the south West. The Gambian gambler and gamboler was not on for long however, his tendons giving out on ten as he attempted to outrun two ex colleagues. The hapless lad is now hamstrung and out for the best part of the run in and Hughton, his replacement begs far two many questions for comfort.
A game of no real chances except a corner and the injury then hit a further lull bar the ‘incoming’ throws of Nicholson who would actually have more shots than anyone in the game, alas all four were off target. Zebroski got the first of his three on target on 20 minutes with a well positioned Parish holding confidently. The same two duelled again moments later as our young keeper made a superb double save to deny the pressing Gulls the lead, Having saved Zebroski’s initial drive with his legs he palmed away the follow up.
Branston and Hutchinson got acquainted at the expense of a free kick, as the defensive Imps looked to carve out the odd chance and hopefully take it. McCallum delivered to big Ben who fed sub Hughton. Cyan the angle against him rippled the side netting. It was getting a little tasty out there; no surprises there would be 6 cards over the duration of the match – 4 to us – with the ref not the worst but definitely not the best. Robinson was the first to enter the hall of shame after a Kungfu height challenge to the chest of McCallum.
The Imps did manage a double corner before Zebroski brought the half to a close leaving some half time food for thought. Weaving around two challenges his cross deflected off Kelly but thankfully cannoned straight at Parish who claimed gleefully on his gloves.
Tilson gambled 4-4-2 in place of 4-5-1 for the second half. On came Grimes, off came midfield Imp giant Kilbey with fortune hopefully favouring the brave. This may be a trifle harsh, given Ali and Gosh Josh are not an effective duet, but then Stanley would get some space at last and go on to become the man of the match. His two passes would be the deciders – viva la difference on the English Riviera. It opened things up with Anderson getting forward and sending in a glorious cross which Hughton was inches from finishing.
The Gulls were threatening too with Watts forced to take a yellow for the team, blocking Zebroski, a potent handful in every department. Kee, unmarked headed over at a corner and then Parish parried at full stretch as O’Kane, on for Lathorpe, nearly scored with his first touch. On 59 the second half of an effective double switch saw Stevens brought on for Robinson, who could not hit a barn door, as the host’s scented victory. The Imps disrupted the host’s rhythm and even had the chance to win it as Mr Anderson raced forward. Alas great ball fell to Hutchinson who was denied well by Bevan at point blank range. This certainly inspired the Gulls to new heights aided and abetted by tiring legs and the chance for inspiration to shine over perspiration. On 74 Stanley threaded a pinpoint ball to Zebroski who is not going to be stopped in full stride is he? He duly out paced the back four rounded Parish and then clinically beat Homespun Hone who will never give up when donning red and white. Like faster like son the Imps are not just for Christmas they are for life.
But let us not deny the Gulls and Stanley, their second moment of magic and indeed attacking verve. Branston, a tower of strength, was a whisker away at a corner and Zebroski, woken from winter slumber, sprung the offside trap to power against the post. Stanley like a composer was pulling the spring strings as the Plainmoor auditorium cranked up 3-4 decibels and beats to the bar. On 84 the inevitable, Stanley stroked to Tomlin, who cool as Pimms & a slice, prodded passed Parish under pressure from Anderson and Watts. Nice goal, cue Fuseini our supposed playmaker, and O’Keefe to both slow Stanley down moments later. Both got yellows for their challenges, but all such professionalism did was rob us of any further beauty in the game.
Footnote – strictly Imp this one (stats straight after)
Yes we have gone down to two late goals but this is the fourth defeat on the trot, a run we can scarcely afford. We will get away with it again fear not but alas so will others. Whilst Impdom (Rome) burns the Ceasars sit munching prawns and pitching season tickets for next year at us. Hollow promises over breaking the Bank for Grimes are as easy to say this season as they were for Somma last. We are getting dross because we are setting the bar too low in every respect, to suggest otherwise is an affront to Lincolnshire common sence. You cannot as Abe Lincoln said fool all of the people all of the time, they just wont buy it - ask your mates who no longer go. The Lincoln City example started with the place at the directors table being too cheap - £50k and prawns for life or just 300 fans backing or perhaps even less for a fans representative. We then had the conscienceless pursuit of second hand shares which meant the club saw £0. Now we have the ground and the club being divided by the same people who have hires and then fired managers who have had all come in with the budget half spent.
Tilson will not be the last to see the light you fear. How sad because if we allowed people with vision in, then the 500,000 consumer base that surrounds the Imps would respond. But the way in is a hard one. On the one hand your face must fit, and on the other, with such a valuable asset liable to be stolen from us should the wrong person come in, our custodians must think of the community club first. Yet they plan to divide it from the club and have kept very quiet about it since November. Looking at the make up of our board and major shareholders are those making the decisions really impartial enough. Would you for instance want the six fattest kids in the school running the tuckshop? For my understanding is these Imp power brokers (board and non board) comprise The County’s largest property owner plus an awful lot of builders on the scene. I will say no more as the Legal presence will be too close for comfort I fear and Impdom will lose the last site to challenge what is right and wrong. It has already been tried and the circle will doubtless attempt to drive me from a club I love so much all over again.
Please don’t shoot the messenger Imps, discuss think freely and let us make sure our community club genuinely maximises any ground move if and when it happens. We need every penny after all for Team Lincoln – the Mighty Imps must endure. 6 games one win and Aldershot on the last day of the season could well be a sell out. Good luck Mr Preston and please don’t let them make that game a Cat A.
Torquay 2-0 Lincoln City (HT 0-0)
Scorers: Gulls Zebroski 74 Tomlin 84
Ref: Williamson Att: 2,751 (153 Imps)
Torquay 54% Lincoln City 46%
Shots on target
Torquay 7 Lincoln City 1
Shots off target
Torquay 9 Lincoln City 2
Torquay 7 Lincoln City 4
Torquay 12 Lincoln City 10
Torquay 2 Lincoln City 5
Torquay 2 Lincoln City 4