– Andy Phillips contributed to this report
Lincoln City shared the spoils with local rivals Grimsby Town as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw in front of a bumper crowd at Blundell Park on Tuesday, January 1st 2013.
The game was an ill-tempered affair, with both sides being reduced to ten men in the second half and also sharing eight yellow cards between them.
The Imps were much the better side for the majority of the game, with their opponents not quite being at the races, and had the perfect start when Alan Power gave them the lead in the ninth minute, silencing the loud home faithful. Power’s long range shot took a deflection that deceived Grimsby goalkeeper McKeown and sent the ball into the corner of the net.
Grimsby looked to come back and the next incident in the game led to a blow for Lincoln, with goalkeeper David Preece being forced off and replaced by Paul Farman after a collision with Joe Colbeck. Aswad Thomas put in a cross which was turned away into the path of Colbeck, who caught the goalkeeper whilst looking to take advantage of the rebound.
This was followed by an equaliser for Grimsby a few minutes later, courtesy of Ian Miller. Miller got on the end of a Colbeck free kick at the far post to hook the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle.
After this setback, Lincoln took charge once again and forced McKeown into making a terrific double save at around the half hour mark. A twenty yard shot from Boyce was tipped away, before he quickly got back to his feet to keep out the rebound from Oliver.
The Imps continued to pin their opponents back for the rest of the half, taking advantage of some sloppy losses of possession from Grimsby and were perhaps very unfortunate not to go into the half time break in front, after Nicky Nicolau whipped in a cross that was headed back towards goal by Sheridan and looked to cross the line before it was cleared away. Despite that, the teams went in at half time level.
The second half was a very scrappy affair, with both teams finding clear cut chances hard to come by.
However, Lincoln still looked the most likely to take the lead and Dan Gray’s trademark long throw seemed to look like the best route towards goal for the Imps. Gray launched a throw into the middle of the box, which was headed over the bar from close range by Boyce.
At the other end, the home side created their best chance of the half so far, when a Hatton free kick found its way to Dayle Southwell, who had his shot saved by Farman. A goalmouth scramble followed where Grimsby just couldn’t manage to force the ball over the line.
With 20 minutes to go, Grimsby were reduced to ten men when Aswad Thomas was sent off after an off the ball incident with Jake Sheridan. Thomas looked to retaliate to Sheridan holding him down and after consulting with his linesman, the referee decided to give him a straight red card, a decision that angered the home crowd, who continued to voice their displeasure towards the referee and Sheridan for the rest of the match.
The Imps sent on Colin Larkin and Adam Smith to try and snatch the winner but couldn’t take advantage of their one-man advantage. Power saw a shot deflected wide for a corner but it was arguably Grimsby that had the best chance to win the game after the sending off, when the lively Marcus Marshall ran through midfield and into the box, pulling the ball back for substitute Michael Rankine, who couldn’t finish at the far post.
There was still time for another talking point, with Lincoln being reduced to ten men in added time after Smith was sent off for a late tackle on Bradley Wood, just five minutes after coming on.
In the end, the Imps had to settle for a point but will be happy with the encouraging display that they put on against their local rivals and the top side in the division.
David Preece – 6
Forced off early having had little to do.
Tom Miller – 7
Overlapped well and stood up to the test.
Scott Garner – 7
Came in and looked very solid against his former club.
Andrew Boyce – 7
Did his job well with little to no fuss.
Paul Robson – 7
Coped well despite being out of position.
Jake Sheridan – 7
Put in a lot of effort and tracked back well.
Alan Power – 8
The Linc Sport Man of the Match. Very classy performance in midfield and a goal to boot.
Dan Gray – 6
Complimented Power well but didn’t do too much on the ball.
Nicky Nicolau – 7
Threat down the left but didn’t always manage to get his final ball right.
Jamie Taylor – 7
Runs in behind caused opposition some problems.
Vadaine Oliver – 7
Did a good job in the air.