Imps 1 Wycombe 2

Two Andy Sandell goals consigned Lincoln City to the bottom of the Football League after Gavin McCallum looked to have got the Imps off to the perfect start with a sensational volley.

City fans could be forgiven for having other priorities than the Imps’ relegation battle. The mood around Sincil Bank was sombre as clubs around the Football League observed a minute’s silence after the death of ex-City star Richard Butcher, who died suddenly during his sleep on Monday aged just 29.

Defeat to Wycombe leaves the Imps rooted to the bottom of the Football League. Photo: blogdroed via Flickr

The Imps certainly did their utmost to pay tribute to the late midfielder as they took the game to a Wycombe side that certainly have promotion on their agenda.

The Chairboys’ impressive season has seen them move to third place in League Two, just five points shy of leaders Chesterfield. The Imps, on the other hand, are very much looking to stave off their relegation fears and occupied the final relegation spot going in to this one.

City boss Steve Tilson welcomed defender Danny Hone back to the starting eleven and handed a debut to Reading loanee Julian Kelly who took the left back berth. In midfield, Gavin McCallum was given the chance to impress on the left, with Albert Jarrett switching to the right. Ashley Grimes – fresh from extending his loan to the end of the season – lined up alongside Delroy Facey in attack.

Wycombe chief Gary Waddock made two changes after his side were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by Hereford. Ben Strevens partnered Stuart Beavon up front, whilst Dave Winfield returned at the back.

The match started in frenetic style, with Ashley Grimes fluffing his lines in the fourth minute, springing Wycombe’s offside trap, only to see ‘keeper Nicky Bull smother the ball at his feet.

Shortly after, Josh O’Keefe was left cursing his luck as he rattled the post from close range after the Chairboys failed to deal with a Jarrett corner.

The Imps made the breakthrough they had been threatening in the 17th minute in emphatic style. Neat inter-play on the left wing between Julian Kelly and Grimes found Gavin McCallum, whose ferocious 25-yard volley found the far top corner with military precision.

Wycombe replied instantly in bizarre fashion. Andy Sandell’s free kick from 40 yards out was left completely unchecked, somehow eluding Joe Anyon to level the scores.

Just a minute later, Marvin McCoy’s rasping drive struck Anyon’s bar as Wycombe besieged the Imps penalty box.

That pressure eventually told as Moses Swaibu felled Kevin Betsy as he meandered his way into the Imps box. Ben Strevens was given the responsibility for the spot kick, but Anyon made amends for his earlier mistake with a sharp save low to his right.

The reprieve was brief, however, and Sandell doubled his tally in the 39th minute with a header after the Imps failed to clear Gareth Ainsworth’s corner.

The second half began in much the same vein, with plenty of Wycombe possession, albeit with little threat.

The Imps got their feet back under the table after Jarrett sent through Delroy Facey with an astute pass down the inside right channel. Facey lost his balance, however, and had to settle for a corner.

Jarrett threatened again four minutes later with a driving run at the heart of Wycombe defence that culminated in a tame shot, much to the chagrin of McCallum and Grimes, who were in better positions.

The Imps were beginning to assert their authority on the game, and twice more worked Bull between the Wycombe sticks. First, a smart save from Jarrett’s close-range effort before parrying athletically after Josh O’Keefe’s stinging drive from the edge of the box.

As the match entered the final 10 minutes, a smart cross from ex-Imp favourite Ainsworth allowed Stuart Beavon to test Anyon, who rose to the challenge superbly to deny Wycombe a third goal.

Both sides exchanged attacks in the closing minutes, but neither could muster anything of note.

The result means that Steve Tilson’s side now prop up the Football League after Hereford managed to overcome Stockport, although they can take solace from the four games they have in hand over the rest of League Two.

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