– Dan Brown contributed to this report.
Lincoln City dropped into the relegation zone as they lost their third home game of the season as they were beaten 2-1 by Luton Town at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium on Satruday, October 6th.
Luton flew out of the traps and nearly went ahead within two minutes when Stuart Fleetwood wriggled into the box, but the Blue Square Bet Premier’s top scorer dragged his effort wide.
As the first half progressed Lincoln started to find their feet, with both David Morgan and Adam Smith seeing long range efforts go wide. The Imps nearly broke the deadlock in fortuitous circumstances when a neat one-two between Smith and Jamie Taylor released the winger, whose deflected cross nearly caught out the Hatters goalkeeper Mark Tyler.
Lincoln continued to apply pressure with a succession of corners, but fell behind in bizarre fashion after 27 minutes. Winger Andre Gray found space on the right, and his driven cross was inexplicably turned into his own net by Paul Farman.
The goal halted Lincoln’s progress, and they could have found themselves two down when Gray beat the offside trap, only to be correctly booked for diving at the feet of Farman.
Taylor came closest to levelling for the home side before the break when his low drive was palmed wide by Tyler, but it was the sizeable travelling contingent that were happier at the interval.
Despite the lead, Luton boss Paul Buckle felt the need for a double substitution at half-time, bringing on Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Jon Shaw for Jake Robinson and Scott Rendell.
The changes proved to be a wise one, with Shaw doubling the lead after 47 minutes with his first touch as the game burst into life. The Imps’ defence went AWOL as Fleetwood’s deep free-kick found Shaw completely unmarked at the back post, leaving him with the simplest of headers.
The goal seemed to stun Lincoln, and it could have been 3-0 on 57 minutes when Fleetwood was clear on goal, only to see his effort well stopped by Farman. Luton were made to rue the miss just seconds later, when Taylor won possession before unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard thunderbolt, making it 2-1 to the away side.
The Imps appeared galvanised by the strike, and manager David Holdsworth brought on Colin Larkin as they went in search of an equaliser. Morgan came close with a long range strike, before Taylor was inches away from connecting with Peter Bore’s cross after 67 minutes.
With ten minutes to go, Holdsworth brought on striker Connor Hutchinson, but it was a defender who nearly levelled matters when captain Andrew Boyce headed narrowly wide. Lincoln pushed hard for a second goal, but Luton defended resolutely as the Imps fired a series of balls into the box.
Luton did well to take the sting out of the game, and nearly made 3-1 two minutes before the end, but Boyce did well to turn Shaw’s goal-bound effort over. Despite Lincoln’s best efforts, the away side comfortably saw out the four added minutes to consolidate their fourth place position.
Paul Farman – 4
At fault for both goals, especially the first, but did make a good save moments before Lincoln scored.
Dan Gray – 5
The right-back got forward well on occasions but struggled to contain the pacey Andre Gray.
Andrew Boyce – 6
A solid if unspectacular display at centre-back. Provided a physical presence at from pieces.
Tom Miller – 6
A composed performance alongside Boyce, but struggled to stop Stuart Fleetwood at times.
Peter Gilbert – 5
Provided a threat offensively, but was nowhere to be seen for Luton’s second goal.
David Morgan – 6
A solid display in the middle of the park, but struggle to get into the games at times.
Mamadou Fofana – 5
Ineffective in the first period in the centre of midfield, replaced by Colin Larkin after the break.
Adam Smith – 7
Lincoln’s most creative attacking threat and a hard working performance on the left wing.
Nicky Nicalau – 5
Anonymous for much of the game and was, at times, wasteful from set pieces.
Peter Bore – 6
Had a few dangerous moments and put in some good crosses from the right wing.
Jamie Taylor – 8
The Linc Sport Man of the Match. A hard working display in the lone striker role, capped off with a stunning goal.