– Scott Tysoe contributed to this report
Lincoln City crashed to a Boxing Day defeat at home to local rivals Grimsby Town for the second consecutive season, as they slumped to a disappointing 4-1 defeat at the 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium.
The game exploded into life after a quiet couple of minutes when there was a flair-up between Lincoln’s Dan Gray and Grimsby’s Marcus Marshall after a strong challenge. Both players were spoken to but the mood was set for the opening ten minutes.
Vadaine Oliver was shown a yellow card right in front of the travelling Grimsby fans in the sixth minute for a very late challenge on Aswad Thomas. Referee Peter Bankes used that as an opportunity to speak to both captains in a bid to keep a handle on the game.
In the 15th minute of the game, Lincoln had the first attempt on goal. Oliver headed a Grimsby free-kick clear and Alan Power gained control of the ball before picking out Jake Sheridan wide on the right. Sheridan drove down the line and drilled the ball low across the box where Oliver, who had done remarkably to make up the ground, could only touch the ball wide of the post.
On the half-hour mark, after visitors Grimsby had failed to make a couple of corners count, Lincoln’s top-scorer Jamie Taylor almost got in behind the Mariners back-line after a long ball by Tom Miller. Taylor got control of the ball but couldn’t get past Derek McNiven as he tried to turn in onto his right-foot.
Grimsby took the lead with their first clear opening of the game a few minutes later through Andy Cook. The visitors broke well from a Lincoln corner and, after the initial wave had been repelled, Joe Colbeck swung in a cross that Paul Farman could only touch towards Cook. The striker took a touch to control the ball before smashing the ball into the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 to the away side.
Things went from bad to worse for Lincoln just five minutes later when Andrew Boyce put the ball into the back of his own net. Tom Miller failed to gain control of a ball that it looked like he had and the ball broke to Mariner’s captain Craig Disley. He touched the ball right to Colbeck, whose low cross was deflected in off Boyce for 2-0.
That’s how it stood at half-time; although Lincoln captain Gary Mills was unlucky to see an injury-time effort come back off the angle of post and bar as Lincoln pushed for a route back into the match.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Imps had a goal disallowed when the ball went straight in from a Dan Gray throw-in, Taylor adjudged to have fouled McKeown.
Lincoln did however pull a goal back just moments later from the penalty spot. Andy Cook handled the ball in box and Alan Power stepped up to covert the spot-kick for his sixth of the season and to bring the Imps to within one goal at 2-1.
Just before the hour mark though, Grimsby restored their two-goal advantage. McNiven played in Disley, who crossed to the far post for Colbeck. He headed back to Cook but his header came back off the bar. A scramble ensued before Disley volleyed the ball into the back of the net off the underside of the bar.
Lincoln made a couple of substitutions with Gray and Nicolau departing for Smith and Garner; Gray departing due to what looked like a knee injury. Neither of these substitutes could do anything about Grimsby’s fourth goal on 66 minutes when Joe Colbeck swung a corner straight over the head of Paul Farman into the net.
That goal effectively ended the game as a contest as Lincoln’s spirit had gone and, although they continued until the end, they very rarely looked like getting another goal – Jamie Taylor coming closest in the final five minutes with a low drive.
Paul Farman – 3
At fault for two of the goals. Possibly his worst game in a Lincoln shirt.
Dan Gray – 4
Was anonymous throughout the game and went off injured.
Andrew Boyce – 5
Aerial threat but still part of a dodgy defence.
Tom Miller – 4
Weak tackle lead to second goal.
Peter Gilbert – 5
Gary Mills – 5
Needed to do more.
Alan Power – 5
Took his penalty well but gave the ball away every now and then.
Nicky Nicolau – 4
Decent opening 20 minutes but nothing after.
Jake Sheridan – 5
Ran and ran, but went nowhere really.
Jamie Taylor – 5
Same as Sheridan, had nothing to go on.
Vadaine Oliver – 6
The Linc Sport Man of the Match. Won everything in the air and came close to scoring. Decent defending when he went back as well. Still not brilliant though.