Written by Jonathan Hart
Lincoln’s 5 game unbeaten run was thwarted at Sincil Bank courtesy of two first half goals within three minutes for visitors Welling United.
Lincoln’s newly signed kiwi striker Kris Bright scored on his debut to give the Imps an early lead but a clinical Welling fought back valiantly thanks to a glorious bending strike from Josh Wakefield and deflected 2nd from Harry Beautyman.
It was a harsh defeat to digest for the Imps who largely dominated the first half, limiting the visitors to just 2 attempts on target. However, unfortunately for Simpson’s men Welling scored with both to leave the Imps languishing in 16th position in the table and keep the South-East Londoners play-off hopes alive.
New Zealand international Kris Bright was a shimmering star on his Lincoln debut. The centre forward whose most recent outing was for Finnish premier division side IFK Mariehamn made an instant impact, showing no hesitation in thumping Dan Gray’s skimming low cross into the bottom right hand corner of the net from the centre of the area. A fruitful start for the Kiwi.
Lincoln continued to dominate the early stages, passing the ball with a conviction and swagger rarely seen this season. Their aesthetically pleasing football almost paid dividends in the 14th minute when Lincoln midfielder Charlee Adams launched a dangerous counter-attack from the edge of his own box. The 19 year old’s defence splitting through ball was perfectly weighted into the path of Tomlinson, but Lincoln’s top scorer dragged his shot well wide.
Welling began to dominate possession as the half wore on, but failed to convert the pressure into any defence troubling chances during the first half hour. When the Wings finally mustered a shot on goal in the 32nd minute, it was a speculative attempt from 25 yards by midfielder Harry Beautyman which drifted wayward of Lincoln’s goal.
Although from an identical position just five minutes later, Josh Wakefield showed his teammate how to master the art of the long range effort when he unleashed a spectacular curling shot which nestled in the top right corner of the net.
The 20-year-old midfielder who Welling signed in the January transfer window became the 2nd player of the night to score their first goal for their new club.
If Lincoln keeper Townsend had little chance dealing first goal, then he was even more cruelly punished by Welling’s second. Another ambitious attempt by Beautyman was diverted away from the Lincoln keeper’s grasp by a wicked deflection off Alan Power which left Sincil Bank stunned into silence.
Lincoln whose defence switched-off for the second goal headed into the tunnel at half time clearly shell-shocked to be a goal down after dictating much of the play. When they re-emerged for the second period they appeared equally deflated, and as a result the high intensity drama of the first half dissipated in the second forty-five.
The game became dominated by scrappy midfield skirmishes with chances at a premium. It was Welling who looked the more likely side to grab another goal and Beautyman nearly doubled the South Londoners advantage on the hour mark. His sweetly struck volley from the edge of the box nearly provided the finishing touch to a swift Welling counter attack, and required a brilliant athletic dive from Townsend to keep the home-side in touch.
The Imps manager Gary Simpson brought on Sheridan for the largely anonymous Connor Robinson in the hope of providing a much needed injection of guile and pace in attack.
However the switch was in vain, as Lincoln failed to push for an equalizer. Lincoln’s frustration towards their abysmal second half showing was epitomised by Lincoln’s Dan Gray receiving a booking for slamming the ball into the turf when a throw-in went against him.
Welling comfortably held out, restricting Lincoln’s talismanic midfielder Alan Power to a couple of harmless long range attempts in the dying embers of the match.
Boos echoed around Sincil Bank at full-time from an underwhelmed crowd of 1,623. Meanwhile the 24 travelling Welling faithful stood to applaud their troops of the pitch, ahead of their 150 mile pilgrimage home.
Player ratings Lincoln v Welling
Nick Townsend – 8: No chance with both goals, but produced several top quality saves.
Nat Brown – 7: A constant threat at set pieces for Lincoln and solid at the back.
Sean Newton – 7: Srong shift by Newts, but didn’t offer as much as usual going forward.
Thierry Audel – 7: Forming a strong partnership with Nat Brown at centre back with few mistakes.
Alan Power – 7: A big threat going forward, but was wasteful with several long range shots
Charlee Adams – 8: Lincoln’s best passer, starting some good counter attacking moves.
Jon Nolan – 7: Protected the back four reasonably well
Dan Gray – 8: Produced several brilliant crosses from the right flank. (Linc Sport man of the match)
Connor Robinson – 6: very quiet game with little impact.
Ben Tomlinson – 7: Worked tirelessly down right wing and never stopped running.
Kris Bright – 8: Brilliant goal on his debut but needed better service.
Jake Sheridan – 6: no impact when he came on.
Post match – Written by Daniel Baker
Lincoln City manager Gary Simpson admitted that Welling United were the worthy winners of the match.
Speaking after the game, he revealed his frustration at being caught on the counter attack for both the goals his team conceded.
He said: “I felt we got exactly what we deserved which was nothing. They [Welling] played to their strengths. We had them watched on Saturday and by all accounts they played particularly well. They had 24 efforts on goal.
“We knew what to expect tonight and they worked their socks off. We tried to go with the footballers tonight and the pitch was a bit lively and we couldn’t get it down and play. They closed us down, worked extremely hard and they got the breaks with the goals.”
Simpson said he acknowledged that The Imps got off to a flying start when Kris Bright put them ahead, but he said he knows his team have things to work on.
“We learned a few things tonight. We thought we’d be able to get it down and play a little bit like we did on Saturday for last fifteen to twenty minutes so we picked a side like that, which was an attacking and forward-thinking team,” he continued.
The Imps missed the chance to go two goals up after Ben Tomlinson headed narrowly over just moments after Bright had put them ahead.
Josh Wakefield equalised before Harry Beautyman scored to give Welling all three points, meaning that they have done the double over The Imps this season.
“[The equaliser] got them back in the game. If we’d got the second one who knows, but on the night I don’t think we were good enough,” added Simpson.Tweet