City fail to make chances count

All the talk during the week had been about the Imps players responding to the 3-0 drubbing they suffered at the hands of Accrington Stanley last Friday. That, allied with mounting pressure from the Lincoln faithful, meant that a strong showing from Chris Sutton’s charges was paramount. On the face of it, the 0-1 home defeat handed out by Stevenage suggests that response never came.

This is the Imps’ second home defeat of the season, and their third failure to win at home. They now lie 21st in League Two, with just Bradford City separating them from the dreaded drop zone. However, the scoreline somewhat flattered Stevenage.

In truth, the Imps dominated proceedings, certainly in the first half. Moses Swaibu was unlucky to see his goal-bound header hacked off the line, and Albert Jarrett’s teasing runs and astute use of the ball caused Boro’s defence myriad problems.


Chris Sutton is under increasing pressure after his side again failed to win at home. Photo: Tom Farmery

Lincoln dominated possession, but they were unable to make their chances count. It ultimately cost City on 39 minutes, when they failed to deal with a long, looping throw into the box and afforded on-loan Brighton forward Chris Holroyd the freedom of the penalty area to fire Stevenage ahead.

Holroyd, for his part, had been threatening the Lincoln back four well before his goal and had had two claims for a penalty waved away by match official Kevin Wright already.

Indeed, the Imps were fortunate to get away with the second incident in particular, as Adam Watts’ tackle would have been more appropriate on a rugby pitch. The second half was less eventful, as Stevenage simply soaked up the Lincoln pressure and resorted to hitting the Imps on the break. As City grew more frustrated, Boro’s time-wasting tactics came to the fore. Imps’ assistant manager Ian Pearce felt that the Imps’ efforts should have yielded a better result.

He said: “We didn’t deserve to lose today. We did enough to get a [positive] result, and unfortunately it’s gone against us again. I just asked Joe [Anyon] how many saves he made today, and he made one from Charlie Griffin and that was it. “It’s a little bit of the same old story, but we were very disappointed against Accrington and I feel the players showed that they actually wanted to play today. They gave us everything and unfortunately it’s not gone our way today.”

Chris Sutton’s opposite number, Graham Westley, was understandably delighted with his side’s first away victory of the sesaon, which sees them rise to 11th in League Two. “It’s [first away win] been a long time coming. Credit to the players for working very, very hard at their game. They haven’t got disheartened by the results that haven’t come our way at Cheltenham and Bradford, so it’s nice to get on the road and bring three points home.” Pearce missed out on taking his place in the back four due to an ankle injury, and so Adam Watts and Moses Swaibu started. Watts echoed Pearce’s disappointment at the result.

He said: “They [Stevenage] defended with their lives, but we’ve got to start finishing our chances. The last couple of games – except Accrington where we were absolutely awful – we’ve been putting balls in the box and we need to be on the end of them. There were midfielders breaking their necks to get in there, but they [Stevenage] took their chances and we didn’t. “We’re positive, though, because we can make it happen on Tuesday [against Burton].

It’s still early in the season and the good thing is that we don’t have long to wait to put it right. We’re looking to turn the corner then.” Watts’ fellow centre half Moses Swaibu was keen to highlight the performance of The Linc’s Man of the Match, Albert Jarrett, who he believed was supplying the Imps’ attack with plenty of ammunition. “Albert’s on fantasic form, to be honest. He’s one of our better players and the balls he was putting in the box were great, but it’s no good if we can’t finish them off.”

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