In their last home game Lincoln City went down 2-0 to a Torquay side that are currently flying high in League Two and still retain a 100% start to the new season. Yesterday’s visitors to Sincil Bank were Crewe and they came into the game on the back of an emphatic 7-0 win against Barnet just seven days before.
City are still to record a win at home but it seems after a 1-1 draw with Crewe and a satisfying performance from Albert Jarrett in particular, Chris Sutton and his team are not very far away from such a feat.
Imps boss Sutton said after the game that he thought the 1-1 draw was quite fair but believed the game was there for the taking, especially in the first half where he thought his team had the better chances.
“I think in the end it was probably fair — in the last couple of minutes we came under a bit of pressure but it was a good game. It was entertaining, I thought we were unfortunate to go behind but they do have that threat on the counter-attack, I didn’t think the scoreline was particularly fair at the break.
“On the balance of play we deserved to go in up at the break, it doesn’t work like that and then we had a couple of really good chances but didn’t take them. They’re a really difficult side and have got a lot of big boys and the big threat up front. They hit the post towards the end and had a couple of close scares so probably a draw was about right.”
One problem that has been evident in the past few games, notably the defeats to Rotherham and Torquay, has been City’s poor defensive play. To address this problem Sutton played assistant manager Ian Pearce in the heart of defence in the 1-0 win away to Gillingham. Pearce played again on Saturday and helped to provide another reassuring performance, something the Lincoln manager felt worked well.
Sutton said: “I think he played well, they [Crewe] offered a different threat and they are probably a bit more direct than they were last season but they make good runs in behind and they have players who can pick the passes.
“I thought in general we defended ok it’s difficult at the end when balls are coming in the box. It’s easy sitting on the bench saying why doesn’t anyone head it but I know how difficult it is being out there but we stuck at it.”
The Linc’s Man of the Match on Saturday was Albert Jarrett, a player the former Celtic striker has previously spoken of very highly, and the Imps boss was quick to praise the Sierra Leone international once again but also stressed that other team members need to follow suit.
The 37-year-old said: “His goal was fantastic. I just felt all through the game and this season we just aren’t making the most of our opportunities.
“We aren’t doing the right things at the right times but that’s probably why we’re in division two. When things open up we can pick better passes but we’re working as hard as we possibly can in training and I thought we knocked it around and played some good stuff at times.”
Dario Gradi’s Crewe had come off the back of a hardly fought contest in their mid-week 1-0 defeat in the Carling Cup against Championship outfit Ipswich Town. After witnessing his side’s draw against Lincoln he said: “It was a hard game and I think it was going to be a hard game against whoever we played this afternoon because of the game against Ipswich on Tuesday.
“We didn’t want extra-time and I know Roy Keane didn’t want it either. It was physically draining and we had to go through an extra 30 minutes and got nothing for it. Saying that I thought the fitness levels of the players were very good and we finished strongly.
“One or two of them struggled a bit in the second and were flagging but I still think we had the better chances and curtailed their chances more. We are looking harder to beat and that is encouraging.”
Gradi believed that Lincoln were lucky to finish with a draw after Ashley Westwood’s shot was cleared off Lincoln’s goal line by Joe Anderson but he also admitted that City represent how tough the teams can be in League Two.
“They certainly had a bit of luck at the end with Westy’s [Ashley Westwood] shot. I don’t think the defender knew too much about it. It just hit him on the line and they got that break.
“I also thought (Calvin) Zola’s header was in and he did very well when he came on and Byron [Moore] went close with his first touch, so there were chances there. They are a decent side and it just goes to show how tough this league is.
“The managers are trying to play a different pattern of play and I don’t think we have faced a team playing 4-4-2 yet. They were athletic and organised and that makes it difficult.”