– Dan Brown contributed to this report.
Lincoln City made the perfect start to the new Blue Square Bet Premier campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, August 11th.The Imps went into the game on the back of a busy summer following their 17 th place finish last term, while Kidderminster were looking to carry on where they left off last season having narrowly missed out on a play-off place.
However, it was David Holdsworth’s men who made all the early inroads, with Jamie Taylor having the first significant sight of goal after 16 minutes when he saw his deflected shot gathered by the Harriers keeper, Danny Lewis.
Moments later, the ball fell to Taylor’s strike partner, Rob Duffy, whose acrobatic bicycle kick sailed harmlessly over the bar.
City continued to apply pressure as the half drew towards a close, with Jamie Taylor seeing two quick-fire efforts blocked inside the box after 37 minutes, before Harriers finally cleared.
Taylor would not have to wait long to get his name on the scoresheet however, when he broke the deadlock two minutes later. Harriers defender, Mike Williams failed to deal with Dan Gray’s hopeful ball up-field and Taylor was on hand to poke the ball over the onrushing keeper. It was no more than Taylor deserved for an industrious first half display.
Steve Burr brought on Jack Byrne at the break in an attempt to stem the tide and Harriers came out with much greater intent for the second period.
Following a comfortable save from Ryan Austin’s low driven free-kick, Imps stopper, John Farman was forced into a good save at his near post with Harriers hitting the upright from the rebound.
David Holdsworth made a double substitution on 64 minutes, replacing Luke Daley and Adam Smith with Jake Sheridan and Vadaine Oliver.
Following the change, the Imps looked more composed at the back with the tireless Jamie Taylor always providing a constant outlet for the counter-attack.
The biggest scare for City came with 20 minutes to go, when Harriers somehow failed to score from numerous attempts following a goalmouth scramble. Some desperate and committed defending eventually allowed the Imps to clear the danger with their lead intact.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Harriers threw caution to the wind, committing men forward in their droves. They were nearly rewarded when Farman was forced into a good low save at his near post after substitute Marvin Johnson got in behind the Lincoln backline.
The Imps were made to work for the win in the closing stages, with six minutes of added time providing a nervous climax, but held on to earn the win and the ideal start to the new season.
Paul Farman – 7
A composed performance from the young keeper, commanding his box and making a few crucial saves.
Dan Gray – 6
Some last ditch defending at times, but kept Harriers’ wingers quite for much of the game. Will claim an assist for the goal.
Andrew Boyce – 7
Rewarded with a clean sheet for a determined second half display. Solid.
Tom Miller – 7
The other half of the centre-back partnership with a similarly committed performance.
John Nutter – 8
Used all of his experience to keep Harriers’ attackers at bay, cleaning up everything and controlling the back four.
Adam Smith – 6
He never stopped running, but struggled to get into the game at times. Put in some dangerous set pieces.
Gary Mills – 8
An injury doubt in the build-up to the game, Mills put in a captain’s performance in the middle of the park. Broke up play and was at the heart of much of the Imps’ attacking play. Excellent.
Alan Power – 7
A good display alongside Mills in the centre. Came close with a free kick mid-way through the second half.
Luke Daley – 7
An impressive display from the youngster. Plenty of craft and will have done himself no harm in his attempts to earn a contract with the club.
Rob Duffy – 6
A solid but unspectacular display. Had a few chances in the first half but struggled to make an impact after the break.
Jamie Taylor – 9
The Linc Sport’s Man of the Match. A superb performance from Taylor was rewarded with the winning goal, which he took delightfully. Could have had a couple of more goals in the first 45 minutes and provided an outlet when the Imps were under pressure in the second half. A quality all-round display.