An afternoon both managers will be happy with after Lincoln City drew 1-1 with Crewe Alexandra at Sincil Bank. Goals from Shaun Miller and Albert Jarrett ensured that the Imps and the Railwaymen are now positioned 15th and 13th respectfully.
The match belonged to Jarrett as he once again wowed the City faithful scoring a solo effort any Premier League player would be proud of.
Chris Sutton opted to remain with the same side that won 1-0 away to Gillingham. Sticking to his guns by keeping Ian Pearce and Jamie Clapham in the side after the City boss declared in mid-week how experience was essential in developing the younger players while producing an assured performance at the same time.
Crewe boss Dario Gradi made only one change following the Railwaymen’s 7-0 thrashing of Barnet, replacing Matt Tootle with Mat Mitchel-King. The Cheshire outift lost to Championship side Ipswich Town 1-0 after extra-time on Tuesday night and certainly fancied their chances ahead of the game at Sincil Bank.
Making his home debut was Ben Hutchinson who started brightly playing in front of Albert Jarrett, while Delroy Facey, Cian Hughton, Clark Keltie, and Jamie Clapham slotted into a four-man midfield completing the 4-4-1-1 formation.
On 22 minutes Crewe took the lead after Ashley Westwood was allowed to get his shot away before it was palmed away only to the feet of Shaun Miller who skillfully took the ball around Joe Anyon before slotting home.
Crewe nearly added to their lead shortly afterwards when Lee Bell picked out Joel Grant at the far post but the left winger couldn’t get on the end of the cross eventually going behind for a goal kick.
Lincoln fans watched nervously as Crewe piled on the pressure once again coming close to extending their lead with eight minutes to go after a goalmouth scramble occured eventually resulting in a goal kick after Donaldson got a shot away from close range.
City’s reply to Crewe’s early lead came on 40 minutes. Albert Jarrett picked up the ball just inside the opposition’s half weaving his run left and right beating two defenders in his path before smashing the ball to the left of Rhys Taylor in the Crewe goal.
Half time: Imps 1 – 1 Crewe
Both teams emerged from the tunnel unchanged, and immediately it was Lincoln who had a chance to go one up. Facey controlled the ball on the left wing and then played an inch perfect cross into Hutchinson who turned before firing wide of Taylor’s goal.
Dario Gradi decided to change things on 58 minutes, taking off influential winger Joel Grant and replacing him with striker Calvin Zola.
Anyon had some work to do with just under 30 minutes left after Luke Murphy played the ball across to Donaldson who got his head to it but could do nothing as the Lincoln keeper produced a fine save.
City instantly responded to some strong Crewe play as Jarrett burst down the right wing and into the area before trying to place his shot past Taylor. The Crewe keeper could only parry the ball straight into the route of Clapham who saw his mis-timed shot headed off the line by Westwood.
Left-back Danny Blanchett provided Crewe with another opportunity after a perfect cross on 81 minutes found Zola yet he could only stand and watch as his headed effort hit the post.
The Crewe boss made his second substitution of the game with just over five minutes left, choosing to replace Luke Murphy with midfielder Byron Moore.
Chris Sutton then made changes of his own bringing on Andy Hutchinson for Albert Jarrett and also replacing Ben Hutchinson with Drewe Broughton.
As the game entered into injury time Crewe nearly took the lead after Westwood powered a shot towards the City goal however Joe Anderson was on hand to clear off the line.
Full time: Imps 1 – Crewe 1
The Linc’s Man of the Match: Albert Jarrett – had an exciting afternoon getting on the scoresheet in the process and proving why Chris Sutton believes him to be one of the best players in League Two.
Attendance: 3024 (226 from Crewe)