Lincoln City propelled themselves out of the relegation zone with a dramatic win over fellow strugglers Nuneaton Town on Tuesday, September 25th.
The Imps were under pressure from the off and a sliced clearance found its way to James Armson after three minutes, who fired home to give Nuneaton the lead with the first shot of the match.
Lincoln could have responded immediately but Mamadou Fofana’s strike was wayward following David Morgan’s corner. With 12 minutes gone, Dan Gray forced a shot on target for the Imps after Nuneaton had defended one of his long throws.
Moments later, Nuneaton attacked and Wesley York was bravely denied by Paul Farman in a one-on-one situation.
The Imps had another lucky escape with just over a quarter of an hour gone. Andrew Boyce’s weak header nearly fell for Andy Brown who was blocked by Farman with the goal at his mercy.
With 18 minutes on the clock, Jake Sheridan crossed for Vadaine Oliver but his header was too tame for Neil Collett in Nuneaton’s goal.Lincolnwere beginning to improve and some slick passing put Oliver through on goal again, but Collett was on hand to halt him.
Both sides had chances before the break and, after Jake Sheridan had a penalty appeal turned down, Vadaine Oliver fired a shot on target and, shortly after, headed wide of the goal after latching onto a long ball.
Nuneaton had a couple of chances to increase their lead. Wesley York nearly forced the ball in after confusion in the defence, but Paul Farman got back in time to deny a goal. Adam Walker then struck wide from close range. The score remained 1-0 at half-time as the Imps left the pitch to loud booing.
After the break, Jake Sheridan, David Morgan and Conner Robinson all had attempts kept out and, after 65 minutes, manager David Holdsworth made chances and bringing on Nicky Nicolau, Colin Larkin and Jamie Taylor.
Nuneaton had a couple of chances to get a second goal but Paul Farman kept Imps hopes alive with saves to deny Adam Walker and Ben Ford.
With just over 20 minutes left on the clock, Simon Forsdick saw red for Nuneaton for a professional foul on Vadaine Oliver and substitute Nicolau blasted the resulting free-kick into the corner of the net, bringing the Imps level at 1-1.
Both Adam Walker for Nuneaton and David Morgan for Lincoln hit shots wide following the equaliser and the introduction of Nicolau proved to be a masterstroke.
The former Southend midfielder won and took a corner, from which Tom Miller bundled the ball home for his first of the season to make it 2-1 to Lincoln. Colin Larkin could have made it three shortly after, but had his shot cleared off the line.
The introduction of former Imp, Kyle Perry proved to be no good for Nuneaton and they conceded a penalty in stoppage time. Substitute, Jamie Taylor struck the bar from the resulting penalty, but his miss didn’t prove costly as Lincoln held out for a narrow and hard-fought win.
Paul Farman – 6
Made important saves and got better after conceding early.
Dan Gray – 5
Tried long throws but was not very prominent in defence.
Andrew Boyce – 5
Looked shaky in defence and was fortunate to have his goalkeeper to back him up.
Tom Miller – 5
Had a quiet game but it was livened up by his winning goal.
John Nutter – 5
Did not push forward as much as he has done before. Had a solid game.
David Morgan – 7
Worked hard in midfield and wasn’t afraid to go for goal from range.
Mamadou Fofana – 5
Fairly redundant in the centre of midfield.
Adam Smith – 5
Had mixed success with set pieces but wasn’t very effective.
Jake Sheridan – 7
Active in many attacks. Put in crosses and worked hard.
Vadaine Oliver – 6
Persistent in front of goal, but just lacked that bit extra.
Conner Robinson – 5
Had a chance but wasn’t too much of a threat.
Nicky Nicolau – 8
The Linc Sport Man of the Match. The gamechanger for Lincoln. Scored the equaliser, provided the assist for the second and was heavily involved in attacking play.
Colin Larkin – 6
Made his presence felt in front of goal and had a good impact from the bench.
Jamie Taylor – 6
Put in a decent shift up front but probably should have done better with the penalty kick.