Lincoln took another big step to securing their League Two status with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.
Davide Somma gave the Imps the lead before Brett Pitman equalised for the high-flying Cherries. But with ten minutes left, a super finish from Somma gave Lincoln all three points.
Chris Sutton decided to persist with a front two consisting of Chris Herd and Davide Somma, despite the two linking unconvincingly in the 3-1 defeat at home to Morecambe on Easter Monday. Paul Green continued as stand-in captain in place of the suspended Scott Kerr. As for the away team, the versatile veteran Lee Bradbury returned to the starting line-up unexpectedly along with Sammy Igoe, whose two goals on the south coast helped the Cherries beat the Imps back in September.
Matthew Saunders was in the action early on. Picking the ball up on the left hand wing, he ran at Marvin Bartley. He barged Saunders off the ball, right on the edge of the area, but the referee Paul Tierney waved away Lincoln’s protests.
A delightful flick from Davide Somma just after that sent Chris Herd sprinting towards the Bournemouth goal. However Herd’s return ball to Somma was just lacking in accuracy and Pearce was able to clear.
Then what was almost a moment of magic from Bournemouth. Bradbury’s cross was stepped over by Alan Connell, Brett Pitman played the ball first time back into Connell, but his placed left-footed shot went just wide of Burch’s right hand post.
On 25 minutes, Lincoln took the lead. Chris Herd’s delicate flick on found Davide Somma running towards goal unchallenged. He faked a shot, and then passed the ball past Shwan Jalal into the back of the net. The joy around the Bank was clear to see—if the Imps could hold on to the victory, they would surely be safe.
Bournemouth went straight up field and threatened. On the edge of the penalty area, Pitman let a devastating half volley go—but Burch was on hand to parry the ball away from danger. Lincoln were under serious pressure as the half neared its conclusion.
Half time: Imps 1 Bournemouth 0
It was Bournemouth who started the half the better side without creating any clear cut chances.
That was until the lively Liam Feeney sprinted down the right hand flank and drilled the ball into the box. Pitman was there but he couldn’t get enough on his header to direct it into the back of the net. Just after, Moses Swaibu was forced to put the ball over his own bar as a cross was fizzed in along the ground.
With 68 minutes on the clock, Bournemouth won a cheap free kick on the edge of the area as Connell went down after contact from Baker. The free kick was fired in by Wiggins, and Pitman got a touch, sending the ball past the hapless Burch to claim his 23rd goal of the season.
With 14 minutes remaining, Danny Hollands picked out Brett Pitman on the edge of the Imps area. Pitman tried to guide a volley towards the top corner, but it dipped just over the bar.
And then completely against the run of play in the second half, Lincoln got their second goal. The lofted ball over the top from the Imps found Davide Somma who executed a fantastic shot over the head of Jalal.
After a disputed yellow card which was awarded to Cian Hughton, Chris Sutton vented his frustration at the referee. The referee was not so pleased and sent Sutton to spend the last five minutes in the Echo stand. Meanwhile, Bournemouth replaced Connell with Jeff Goulding.
The Cherries almost snatched a point in the last minute when a deflected Goulding effort went agonizingly wide of goal, but it was the Imps who were celebrating when the final whistle came.
Speaking after the game, Imps manager Chris Sutton praised his team for the victory.
“I’m pleased for the players. I certainly don’t think we deserved to lose the game, as we did on Monday,” said Sutton.
“It was a big result for us today especially considering how the other games have gone.”
Sutton also criticised the referee’s performance—Paul Tierney booked Cian Hughton who will now face a two match suspension and then sent the Imps manager to the stands for protesting.
The Imps manager said: “You just want a bit of fairness. I don’t think it was Cian Hughton who committed the offence but now he’s suspended for two games…that kills us, and it was a poor decision from him.”
Lincoln goalkeeper Rob Burch had special praise for the defence that played in front of him in the match.
Burch said: “We defended well. Bakes (Nathan Baker) headed everything, Moses (Swaibu) did really well, Greeny (Paul) has been brilliant since he came back and obviously Joe (Anderson) at left back defended really well. They kept it fairly quiet for me so it was good.”
The Linc Man of the Match: Nathan Baker
Attendance: 3040 (360 Bournemouth fans)