Oxford 2 Imps 1

Relegation fears were not eased as Lincoln City slipped to another away defeat at Oxford this afternoon meaning the Imps‘ football league status will go down to the final day.

Two second half goals from Asa Hall and Tom Craddock cancelled out Cian Hughton’s early strike for City and their misery was compounded with Danny Hone’s dismissal ten minutes from time.

Lincoln manager Steve Tilson has to inspire his team to a result on the last day of the season. Photo: Leila Fitt

Steve Tilson’s side face Aldershot in the final game of the season next and a point will guarantee their place in League Two should Barnet fail to win against Port Vale.

Ahead of the trip to the Kassam Stadium Tilson recalled Adam Watts in defence after his 90 minute run-out in the reserves in midweek. Clark Keltie featured in the starting line-up at the expense of Ben Hutchinson but Delroy Facey and Mustapha Carayol remain long-term absentees and will miss the season finale against Aldershot.

Lincoln got off to the best possible start inside 5 minutes when Cian Hughton nodded in a Gavin McCallum centre after Elliot Parrish was forced to tip over from Asa Hall in a frenetic opening period. The visitors could have been 2-0 up on 18 minutes but Luke Howell’s drive had U’s keeper Ryan Clarke beaten but not the crossbar.

Goalmouth action continued at both ends with Parrish at full stretch from a James Constable effort which had to be collected at the second attempt.

With the first half drawing to a close Clark Keltie was nearly made to pay for a sluggish back pass when Constable nipped in and was felled by an onrushing Parrish. Referee Brendan Malone adjudged the incident to have taken place outside the penalty area and Lincoln’s stopper escaped with a caution.

The second period began in the same fiery fashion and another Howell effort was stabbed wide while Constable was proving a handful at the other end when he fired into the side netting in the 53rd minute.

But the woodwork for a second time came to the hosts rescue when Grimes and Fuseini combined and the latter chipped an effort which clipped the upright and Gavin McCallum’s could not convert the rebound.

The equaliser for Chris Wilder’s side came on 57 minutes when Lincoln’s inability to deal with a routine corner saw Asa Hall fire into an unguarded net. And with a quarter of an hour remaining United snatched the lead thanks to Tom Craddock’ strike which came after some good work from Alfie Potter.

City rallied in response but Danny Hone’ s second bookable offence in the 79th minute for a trip on Constable ended all hopes of salvaging something from the game.

Keltie fired over from a free-kick in stoppage time and Lincoln’s winless run extended to 10 games and the relegation scrap goes right down to the wire.

Aldershot visit Sincil Bank next Saturday and Steve Tilson’s team must better or equal Barnet’s result on the final day to ensure their participation in League Two next season.

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