Lincoln City signed off for the season with a drab 0-0 stalemate against Macclesfield at Sincil Bank.
Davide Somma saw red for the hosts when he clashed heads with a Macclesfield defender and Rob Burch was forced to save the Imps from crashing to a defeat on several occasions, but the Imps grinded out a point which saw them finish 20th in League Two.
Somma, Matthew Saunders and David Stephens were all named in the starting line-up and were playing the last game of their respective loan spells. Elsewhere, Lenell John-Lewis and Steven Lennon started the game, looking to prove something to Imps manager Chris Sutton with their contracts due to expire in the summer.
Before kick-off, the Lincoln City end-of-season awards were announced on the pitch. Cian Hughton picked up the Young Player of the Season award, while Player of the Season went to goalkeeper Rob Burch.
With nothing riding on the match for either club, the game had the potential to be one of the dull affairs which often happen as the season climaxes. That is how the game started, with Colin Daniel’s wicked left footed strike the only thing troubling either goalkeeper, but Rob Burch managed to fist the ball out for a corner.
Macclesfield were denied a penalty on 10 minutes when Emile Sinclair brushed past Danny Hone and went down. Referee Andy Haines, though, was not interested in Sinclair’s pleas. Soon after Sinclair sauntered into the Imps’ penalty area and was dispossessed by Hone. The ball fell to young striker Vinny Mukendi, who could only send his dipping shot over the bar.
Lincoln were struggling to get a hold of the game, but were limiting Macclesfield to long shots—Sinclair the latest to try his luck from 20 yards. The Imps did though create their first real opportunity on 25 minutes, when Lennon was thwarted by Silkmen goalkeeper Jose Veiga.
After half an hour, David Stephens wandered through the non-existent Macclesfield midfield and struck the ball from 25 yards out. But the shot had too much loft and ended up in the back of the Stacey West stand.
Macclesfield’s early superiority had started to wane and the tempo of the game continued to decrease as the half went on. Daniel went close again for Macclesfield as the half neared its conclusion, connecting from a corner but shooting over. Soon after, Hone was forced into clearing the ball off the line after a goalmouth scramble.
Lincoln were lucky to go in at half time with 11 men after Clark Keltie, who had already been booked, went in late on a Macclesfield midfielder. But the referee chose to be lenient and gave Keltie a final warning.
As a precaution, Chris Sutton brought on Richard Butcher to replace Keltie for the second half. But it was Macclesfield who had the first chance of the half, John Rooney firing straight into the hands of Burch. Rooney was booked soon after for a late challenge on Scott Kerr, and Carl Tremarco followed soon after.
On 57 minutes, Steven Lennon’s chipped pass found John-Lewis, but the forward couldn’t control cleanly. From the resulting corner, a header from Stephens was cleared off the line before another played slammed the ball against the post from three yards out.
Macclesfield were denied with an hour on the clock when Paul Bolland’s effort from a tight angle was tipped away at his near post by Burch. The goalkeeper was furious with his defence, who then had to clear off the line from a Daniel overhead kick.
With 65 minutes on the clock, Davide Somma received the send off from Sincil Bank he didn’t want. After a rush of blood to the head, he squared up to Macclesfield player Sean Hessey, making head-to-head contact with the defender. The referee had no choice but to send the South African off—despite the majority of the 3291 supporters present disagreeing with the decision. Chris Sutton reacted by bringing on Brian Gilmour for John-Lewis.
Burch saved Lincoln once again when Sinclair descended on the Lincoln are once more. He shot from the edge of the area, but his shot, which was bound for the top right hand corner, was palmed away by the goalkeeper—prompting home fans to chant “England’s number one” admiringly.
With eight minutes left, Cian Hughton found himself with space in the Macclesfield half. He attempted to play a through ball to Steven Lennon, but the former Scotland youth international was caught narrowly offside. Soon after, good work by Joe Anderson on the left paved the way for Matthew Saunders to get a shot away, but he shot straight at Veiga.
Half chances followed for both Steven Lennon and Lee Bell, but the game seemed destined to end in a stalemate. That was confirmed in injury time, when Burch yet again denied Macclesfield when Paul Bolland’s half volley was smothered well by the goalkeeper.
Both clubs will be hoping that stalemates like this are less common next season.
The Linc Man of the Match: Rob BurchTweet