Lincoln overcame a stern test against Wrexham today as they won 2-0 to further enhance their promotion credentials.
On a scorcher of a bank holiday Monday, the sun shone as brightly as Ben Tomlinson whose brace and busy performance up front put Lincoln fourth and within one point of the top of the league.
With the fine weather, immaculate pitch and decent attendance at Sincil Bank, there was a tangible sense of optimism among the crowd after a solid start had placed Lincoln tenth, having lost only to second placed Cambridge so far.
However the most interesting part of the first ten minutes was arguably the new digital scoreboard, (well worth a look) as the two sides went about working each other out. As the game grew, individuals began to stand out. Kevin Thornton for Wrexham and Mamadou Fofana for Lincoln attempting to influence the game.
Waide Fairhurst also looked lively, showing good strength and awareness to occasionally threaten, but it was Ben Tomlinson on 38 minutes who broke the deadlock, just as the game looked like it really needed the ball in either net to liven things up.
A neat move from a free kick saw the ball flicked on by Andrew Boyce, and Tomlinson was there like any great striker, right place right time, to coolly flick the ball into the opposite corner.
The goal added a spark to Lincoln’s performance as they heaped more pressure onto Wrexham’s breached defence, Tomlinson showing great ability to turn and cross in for Fairhurst to volley well but straight into the arms of Joslain Mayebi.
The second half began with Wrexham straight out of the blocks looking for the equaliser, but Lincoln matched them for effort and if not for a little indecision in the final third, could have moved into a 2-0 lead from some promising positions.
Fofana continued to show calm in possession and Jon Nolan grew into the game as well. While Paul Farman had had little to do, he proved sharp when called into action to collect the ball on the edge of the box.
Wrexham however gained momentum, and an excellent passing move saw them slice through Lincoln’s midfield diagonally, and moments later a fantastic block from Nat Brown kept Lincoln’s clean sheet intact.
The game became frantic as it moved into the closing stages, with Jake Sheridan showing great tenacity to take the ball away from the danger of the box. Wrexham then surged forward as a four v four situation arose, only for Lincoln to break up the other end to no avail.
As it looked like the game could go either way with five minutes left however, man of the match Ben Tomlinson settled Lincoln nerves with a close finish, as Bohan Dixon flicked on from Dan Gray’s throw in.
As the referee blew his whistle the sense of optimism and good cheer at the start of the game felt justified. Lincoln move from tenth to fourth, and continue to impress.
Paul Farman 7 – Had little to do for large parts of the game, but stayed sharp and did his job well when called upon
Dan Gray 6 – Like Farman, did his job. Took the throw-in to create the second goal.
Andrew Boyce 8 – An assist for the first goal and some excellent tackling helped Lincoln earn another clean sheet
Nat Brown 7 – A member of Lincoln’s top defensive unit and a fantastic block to deny a very good Wrexham chance
Sean Newton 7 – A professional performance and a brilliant summer signing, looks calm and in control whenever he is on the ball.
Mamadou Fofana 8 – Excellent in the middle of the pitch. Showed calm and ability on the ball to help Lincoln win the midfield battle
Jon Nolan 7 – Grew into the game and looked comfortable in midfield.
Waide Fairhurst 7 – Showed strength and pace down the wing and had a well struck volley saved.
Jake Sheridan 7 – Busy wing play, combining on the ball ability with tenacity to win it back.
Danny Rowe 6 – Showed good combination play with Fairhurst and Tomlinson, but needed a little more composure in the final third of the pitch.
Ben Tomlinson 9 – Regularly involved in creating chances and hassling the Wrexham defence, capped with two striker’s finishes. A fantastic performance.