This was the first meeting of Lincoln City and Mansfield Town since the infamous FA Cup 2nd Round replay, which saw Lincoln narrowly miss out on a chance to play Liverpool.
With that in mind, Lincoln were out for revenge. However, with only two wins in the last 17 against an inform playoff-hunting Mansfield, the Imps had a tough job to take all three points.
After a bright start from Lincoln City and an excellent piece of work from Fofana down the left hand side in the fourth minute, Alan Power was presented with a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the Imps’ favour, but his shot just crept past the post.
Moments later, Lincoln’s Tom Miller was lucky to get away with a slack piece of defending that nearly presented Mansfield’s Matt Green the chance to open the scoring. Luckily for Imps fans, Miller covered his mistake well to keep Farman’s clean sheet intact.
Lincoln City kept pressing and were rewarded with free kicks in dangerous positions. None more so than in the 14th minute, where the Imps were given a free kick just outside the area on the left hand side.
Alan Power opted to take the free kick and drove it hard and low through the 18-yard box, sadly avoiding all Lincoln players and flying harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Despite Lincoln’s early pressure, they began to slack off as Mansfield Town had the best chance of the game so far in the 21st minute with a header from John Dempster at the back post forcing a remarkable save from Paul Farman.
That let-off appeared to spark Lincoln back into life again as they broke away leaving a four on one situation in Lincoln’s favour. Power squared the ball to Oliver who only had the keeper to beat, but his shot was tame and trickled past Marriot’s left post.
Despite all of Lincoln’s domination, Mansfield’s Matt Green was the first to have the ball in the back of the next, but the assistant waved for foul.
A fairly quiet last 15 minutes in the first half, saw no side create any real opportunities as the sides went in at the break goalless.
The second half began and Lincoln lacked the same vigour as they did in the first half.
The first real chance fell for Jake Sheridan in the 58th minute, whose right footed volley off a deflected Alan Power shot ballooned over the bar.
Both sides failed to make any real inroads into each other’s defence as the game slowly began to stagnate.
A wiped in ball from Lincoln in the 72nd minute was gently floating into the arms of Marriott in the Mansfield goal, but centre back Luke Jones just got ahead of him to head the ball behind for a Lincoln corner.
With 11 minutes to go, Lincoln still looked the more likely to score and, as a chance fell to Turnbull on the left side of the box, The 12th Imp Sincil Bank held its collective breath, but his shot just drifted over.
Farman was forced into action moments later with a Peter Schmeichel-esque starfish save at the feet of Murray.
The game livened up with 10 minutes to go as both sides went in search of the precious winner and, with three minutes to go, it was anyone’s guess to whom the points were going to.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Mansfield took the lead as Matt Green delicately rolled the ball past Farman into the net from six yards out. Despair for the Imps, who played so well in the first half. Sadly, they couldn’t maintain it in the second half.
Things went from bad to worse for Lincoln as Dan Gray was given a straight red for violent conduct. Lincoln had lost their heads but, after missing a glut of opportunities in the first half, they only had themselves to blame.
A good performance overall but that won’t act as any consolation as Lincoln slip closer to the relegation zone. Lincoln City continue their league campaign against Woking on March 2nd.
Paul Farman – 7
Made some excellent saves but couldn’t make that last crucial save in the dying seconds.
Tom Miller – 6
Very competent, despite early mistake.
Andrew Boyce – 6
Solid at the back.
Scott Garner – 6
Nicky Nicolau – 5
Solid performance but missed a good chance early on.
Paul Turnbull – 7 (93RD minute sub: Colin Larkin)
Mamadou Fofana – 6 (64th minute sub: Dan Gray)
Solid game for Lincoln, substituted because of a knock earlier in the game.
Jake Jones – 6 (88th minute sub: Adam Smith)
Jake Sheridan – 6
Alan Power – 8
The Linc Sport Man Of The Match. Created chances and always looked a threat
Vadaine Oliver – 5
Striker’s job is to score and he failed at that, despite numerous chances
Dan Gray – 4
Sent off for a pointless tackle.
Adam Smith – No impact when he came on
Colin Larkin – Didn’t play long enoughTweet