Big match report: Rochdale 1-1 Imps

The Imps were denied an impressive win away at high-flying Rochdale in a match that sees them drop to 21st in League Two.

Chris Herd’s low finish from the edge of the box was cancelled out by the prolific Chris Dagnall’s tap-in 20 minutes from time to spare The Dale’s blushes.

The Imps named an unchanged side to the one that was pegged back by Crewe last week.

Rochdale, too, were unchanged, but the form book went out the window as the Imps had the best of the early exchanges, with Herd and Drewe Broughton both threatening.

27 minutes in, Herd received the ball from on-loan Leeds forward Davide Somma before driving low into the bottom right corner to give Lincoln a shock, but deserved lead.

After half time, Keith Hill’s Dale side set about regaining their damaged pride, and on 70 minutes, Chris Dagnall added to his growing reputation with his 17th goal of the season.

Chris Sutton’s side hung on to their point admirably, and their delaying tactics towards the end of the match saw goalkeeper Rob Burch pick up a yellow card.

The point leaves the Imps eight points clear of the relegation zone after local relegation rivals, Grimsby Town, picked up their first win in 25 league matches with a 3-0 win over Shrewsbury.

Lincoln have the chance to keep the drop zone at arm’s length with Hereford’s visit to Sincil Bank on Friday.

——

Preview: With so much focus on the tragic death of former manager Keith Alexander and the imminent arrival of the World Cup trophy at Sincil Bank next week, it is easy to forget that The Imps face the daunting task of facing Rochdale this Saturday.

The Dale have been in searing form this season and find themselves eight points clear of second-placed Bournemouth at the top of League Two.

Their strikeforce of Chris O’Grady and Chris Dagnall are proving particularly potent, with 35 league goals between them already this season.

On the other hand, the last three games for Lincoln have seen them hit just three goals and gain two points from a possible nine, leaving them in 19th place.

With Chris Sutton’s side still recovering from a February that saw them play seven games, he is grateful that March brings a far sparser schedule.

He said: “I don’t think many of our players have ever had to play a run of games like that and we did look very, very weary and leggy in the games towards the end of the month.

“Certainly against Crewe in the last 20 minutes we were out on our feet and we’d like to change that, but that hasn’t been the case in terms of what we’ve got available to come in.

“Hopefully this break will have done us good. The results were good for us the other night. We’re still ten points clear of the relegation zone and we want to keep it that way.”

Lincoln go into Saturday’s game at Spotland in the knowledge that they will certainly be without Lenell John-Lewis, who sustained a hamstring injury in training. Clark Keltie misses out, along with long term absentees Nathan Baker and Adam Watts. Paul Green and Paul Connor will face late fitness tests and are unlikely to feature.

Rochdale have no new injury worries and no suspensions to contend with. Midfielder Jason Taylor could make a reurn to the team after his recent spell on the sidelines. It is likely that Keith Hill will stick with the same side that thrashed Rotherham 4-0 last weekend.

The game will take place against the sombre backdrop of the untimely death of former manager and Imps hero, Keith Alexander. Captain Scott Kerr remembers the year he spent under Alexander’s tutelage fondly.

He said: “He was such a great man. He was only 53, and to be honest, it’s devastating. My dad phoned me to let me know. He knew it’d upset me, but how do you take it? It’s devastating news.

“Every time we went to Macclesfield or Peterborough, he would come out of his way to talk to us.  He brought me to this club and gave me my chance in the League. He wasn’t just a gaffer, but a friend as well.”

A minute’s applause will be observed at Spotland and games across the country in his memory.

Comments are closed.