In their first match since Holdsworth’s departure, Lincoln City fought out a dismal goalless draw with Barrow at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank on Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 – a point which will do neither team much good in their hope to avoid relegation.
In his third spell as caretaker manager, Grant Brown chose to make four changes to the team which lost 3-2 to Hereford on Saturday, February 16th. Usual number one Paul Farman came back into the team to replace David Preece, while Peter Gilbert, Vadaine Oliver and Conner Robinson made way for Nicky Nicolau, Jamie Taylor and Colin Larkin.
In a match with a severe lack of quality on show, it was the Imps who started the better. Captain Alan Power forced the first proper save of the game early on, firing a low shot straight at Barrow keeper Danny Hurst.
With Power pulling the strings in midfield, Lincoln began to take control of the game. Power first provided a delicious cross for Larkin who sliced wide, before Power tested Hurst again with a long range free kick.
In the chilly conditions with an edgy and restless crowd waiting expectantly, the game descended into a scrappy contest and, with half-time approaching, Barrow began to get into the ascendancy.
At the hub of the Bluebirds’ attacks was tricky left footed winger Danny M Rowe, who was being relied upon to provide the service for his namesake and lone striker, Danny L Rowe. This combination proved dangerous and difficult to handle for the Imps defence and nearly proved lethal as D.L. Rowe swung the ball wide to D.M. Rowe, though his fierce drive stung the palms of Imps stopper Farman.
The half’s best chance fell for Barrow just before half-time, a corner caused panic in the Imps penalty area, and Barrow centre midfield Richie Baker’s hopeful prod at goal required Farman to be at his best, reacting well to divert the ball away with his knees..
That chance proved the last opportunity of an uninspiring half as the interval arrived at a good time for managerless Lincoln. Barrow were well on top and the long ball was proving ineffective against Barrow central defenders Sodje and Pearson.
With the second half came more of the same with the Rowe’s combining well again to test Farman. Shortly after, Lincoln defender Scott Garner became the first one in the book in the 50th minute as he held back D.M. Rowe to prevent a promising attack.
Just before the mid-point of the second half, and with Barrow’s midfield trio continuing to have more of the ball than the two central midfielders of Lincoln, caretaker manager Grant Brown made the first substitutions of the game and chose to match things up.
The ineffective Taylor and Mamadou Fofana were brought off in place of Oliver and Adam Smith, with Power and Jones brought into the middle as extra bodies, Larkin wide left, Smith wide right with Oliver the lone striker.
These subs were not to change the flow of the game however, as Barrow continued to turn the screw. Sensing the restlessness, nervousness and uncertainty that surrounded Sincil Bank, Barrow midfielder Alex-Ray Harvey drove through the middle only to slice his shot well wide from the edge of the area, while D.M. Rowe fired straight at Farman following full back Gavin Skelton’s clever pull back.
However, soon after came Lincoln’s best chance of the game. Larkin was released down the right and having drove into the area and cut inside onto his left foot, though his lack of confidence in front of goal showed and his tame shot was easily gathered by Hurst.
This chance was to prove the last big chance of the game, as neither team were able to fashion a clear cut opportunity. Goalmouth scrambles and ambitious long range efforts marked the last 15 minutes of an unremarkable match; however neither team was able to make the break through.
Boos rang out at the final whistle and, despite the positives of a point and a clean sheet, none of the 1,830 fans (with 54 fans making the long trip from Cumbria to support the Bluebirds) will leave the game feeling particularly satisfied.
Paul Farman – 7
The Linc Sport Man of the Match. Did well when called upon.
Tom Miller – 5
Struggled against Barrow’s tricky left winger.
Andrew Boyce – 6
Kept a clean sheet in what was a reasonable game for him. Booked late on.
Scott Garner – 6
Same as Boyce, important part of the clean sheet.
Nicky Nicolau – 6
Supported well at times, solid performance.
Paul Turnbull – 5
Ineffective in the middle of the park.
Mamadou Fofana – 4
Poor game. No influence or presence for such a big guy, and unsurprisingly dragged off.
Jake Jones – 6
Alan Power – 6
Tried to make things happen but not much came off for him. Poor delivery from set-pieces.
Jamie Taylor – 5
Worked hard but had no chance against the big centre backs. Couldn’t get into the game.
Colin Larkin – 6
Should’ve done better with his chance, but had little supply to work off.
Vadaine Oliver – 5
Brought on to hold the ball up but struggled against Sodje.
Adam Smith – 5
Also tried to make things happen but poor delivery when required.
Conner Robinson – 5
Not involved at all.