Half term report: United flirt with the drop

Like their city counterparts, Lincoln United have endured a rough first half to the 2009-10 season, and hover just above the Unibond First Division South drop zone. The foundations for the season so far were laid in the opening month — the Whites picked up just one point from their first eight league matches.

A late winner from ex-Lincoln City and Grimsby Town forward Jamie Forrester gave United their first league victory of the season away at Spalding in early October. After a pulsating FA Cup penalty shootout victory saw off Unibond Premier League side Frickley Athletic, it looked like the club had reached a turning point in the season with an improvement in form looming.


Snow has affected their recent fixtures, but Lincoln United will be looking to push up the table in 2010. Photo: Justin Kraemer

The win over Frickley gave United a ticket to the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round where they were given the tricky task of overcoming non-league giants Cambridge United. A delightful 30-yard lob from Jamie Forrester strike left the fans dreaming of a giant-killing but The U’s showed their superiority, eventually running out 3-1 winners over the gritty underdogs.

But United were struggling to replicate their gutsy cup performances in the league. After shipping 15 goals in their next six games and winning just once in the process, it was clear that defensive frailties were threatening to destroy United’s season.

A promising 3-1 home victory over Shepshed Dynamo was overshadowed by the resignation of manager Seamus Lawless, who cited ‘business issues out of his control’ as his reason for relinquishing the post. Chairman Chris Geeson admitted that he had tried to persuade Lawless to stay at the club, but did act quickly and decisively to find a replacement.

John Wilkinson, who had already had a period in charge of United, was the man chosen to take on the mantle and his tenure began well with a 2-0 victory over Market Drayton Town. However he guided the club to just one more win before the turn of the year in a run of results that included away defeats to fellow strugglers Quorn and local rivals Grantham Town.

That disappointing result has left Lincoln United teetering above the relegation zone having played half of their fixtures this season. And after the period of harsh weather caused postponements recently, Wilkinson’s side will look to target the fixtures in the coming weeks in an attempt to pull themselves away from danger.

Home ground Ashby Avenue will play host to four games in eleven days in January, including a mouth-watering clash with Spalding who sit one place below United in the league. February and March will also prove vital for United who are faced with a daunting end to the season, facing the likes of Sheffield FC and Witton Albion who may still have ambitions of making the playoffs.

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