Steve Tilson took charge of his first game in charge of the Imps on Saturday when they hosted 18th-placed Stockport County at Sincil Bank.
The debuting manager saw his team create chances and hold fort against a Stockport side who also posed a threat up front. However, the Imps could not break the stubborn County defence down as the game dwindled towards an inevitable 0-0 draw.
City started brightly with two attacks inside the first few minutes. Ben Hutchinson came close after firing at the keeper from a Drewe Broughton through ball.
Lincoln held up strong for the first 20 minutes, most notably after a Mustapha Carayol cross was turned back to the keeper by the County defence, where there were serious appeals for a pass back.
Stockport soon settled into the game though, with a flurry of chances themselves, including a Robbie Williams free-kick that Joe Anyon could only watch as it whistled past the far post.
As the half went on, and as the October rain subsided, both teams were working the ball into dangerous positions. The son of Stoke manager Tony Pulis, Anthony, tested the Imps goalkeeper with an effort from inside the box.
City’s defensive line kept the County midfield on their toes with a number solid challenges, one resulting in defender Danny Swailes having to be taken off in place of Jordon Rose. According to visiting manager Paul Simpson, Swailes’ injury is feared to be serious.
He said: “It sounds like a cruciate ligament damage. It’s bad. Especially considering he’s our captain. We will send him for a scan on Monday and we‘ll see the extent of the damage”.
Upon the sound of the referee’s half-time whistle, the visiting fan’s band kicked into life in an attempt to lift their team.
As they kicked off for the second half, Lincoln soon settled back into their rhythm with two chances inside the opening minute. It didn’t take Stockport long to catch up though, when responded via a thunderous George Donnelly shot that was cleared by the head of City defender Adam Watts.
The quality of crosses from the Lincoln wingers came into question by the fans throughout the game as both Carayol and Albert Jarrett consistently failed to clear the first defender with their deliveries.
Paul Simpson made a few changes early in the second half, bringing on Barry Conlon and Cameron Darkwah for Jake Simpson and Tom Fisher respectively.
The fresh legs on the Stockport team soon showed as they enjoyed their most dominant period of the game. George Donnelly used his quick feet to make the most of the Lincoln defence before firing down the throat of Anyon.
It wasn’t long before man of the match Jamie Clapham tried to inspire his team to wrestle back control of the match. Scott Kerr and Clarke Keltie managed to fire shots from distance but County keeper Matt Glennon was able to watch them sail over the bar.
Ben Hutchinson was again at the forefront of the action after a storming run down the left flank that almost led to an opening. The Stockport defence were quick to close the attacking players down though.
Steve Tilson eventually decided to mix things up by taking captain Scott Kerr and winger Albert Jarrett off for Josh O’Keefe and energetic midfielder, Gavin McCallum. Upon McCallum’s arrival to the game, he provided the Lincoln forward line with the crosses that had been lacking for the previous 70 minutes.
The Imps were looking dangerous again but Stockport refused to crumble under the pressure as they came out in waves of attack.
Threatening again, County striker Donnelly forced another save out of Joe Anyon. Anthony Pulis also tested the goalkeeper with a last gasp chance that was turned around the post before the final whistle.
After the game, Paul Simpson stated that he felt that a draw was a good result for his team. He said: “We came here knowing that we couldn’t lose. We need to pick up points against the teams that are just below us and that is what we have done today. This was definitely a point gained.”
After his first game in charge of the Imps, Steve Tilson spoke of the team spirit in the dressing room:“They are a good group of lads and they worked hard today. Morale is high and now it is just a case of picking up points and moving up the table.”
Almost five thousand people turned out to see City’s first game under new management. On the day it was a goalless draw, however they can now look ahead to next weekend when the Imps play away at Wycombe Wanderers.
The Linc Man of the Match: Jamie Clapham