Written by Reece Hainsborough
Lincoln City got back to winning ways thanks to goals from Tom Miller and Thierry Audel in a 2-0 win at home to Braintree Town.
The sun was shining over Sincil Bank with City manager Gary Simpson making three changes to the team who lost to Welling.
The match kicked off with both teams cancelling each other out until Braintree’s Matt Paine carved out a half-chance from just outside the box in which goalkeeper Nick Townsend saved very comfortably.
After that, the next few minutes went very quiet until the first chance of the game for Lincoln fell to Audel whose diving header went just inches wide of the post from a Sean Newton cross.
The hosts then started to gain control of the match with Man of the Match Newton being the main outlet for chances.
However, on-loan Townsend avoided an embarrassing moment when Braintree’s Sean Marks almost got a touch to what would have been a likely goal. Fortunately, the big forward was not able to make real contact and the keeper kept a grip of the ball.
The first main talking point of the half happened on 31 minutes where Newton was given a debatable yellow card for a foul.
This appeared to spark the match into life when 33 minutes in Newton again was the protagonist for a chance where his beautiful curling shot went just wide of the opposition’s goal.
Again, the hosts put on more pressure and new striker Kris Bright was almost awarded a tap in from a free kick in the 36th minute but Braintree’s Nick Hamann got down low and made the save.
It looked as if it was going to be one of those days for Lincoln and manager Simpson looked a frustrated man down on the touchline as his team never took full advantage of their chances in the first 45 minutes.
Everyone was expecting a much better second half and it was looking to be the same story when again the game was dominated by headers and physicality from both teams.
The visitors tried to get themselves in front but the Essex club very rarely threatened and when they did, midfielder James Mulley hit the ball out of the ground.
However, just when the game was about to go completely flat, Tom Miller sent the home fans into raptures when he managed to get his head onto a wind-assisted Newton corner to put The Imps 1-0 up on 64 minutes.
From that point onwards, City grew in confidence and began to bombard the Braintree goal with Brown just missing the target from another corner just two minutes later.
After a flurry of corners, Audel made up for his earlier miss by hitting a half volley into the net with 17 minutes left securing the game for his team.
The Iron boss Alan Devonshire, introduced top scorer Dan Holman on 75 minutes in a bid to salvage something but the forward failed to make an impact on a very disappointing result for his in form side.
A good performance from Lincoln was tarnished on 80 minutes by Bright after he received a straight red card by referee Amy Fearn for an off the ball incident on Paine.
Nevertheless, City managed to hold on with ten men and earn a well-deserved win which sees them rise to 14th and thirteen points clear of the drop zone as they head into their next game-against Braintree again.
Post match – Daniel Baker
Lincoln City manager Gary Simpson defended his team’s style after the match and said it was necessary for The Imps to play the way they did because of the condition of the pitch.
He explained that his team tried to use short passes as part of their game, but he said the performance of his side was “effective”.
“It was not pretty, it wasn’t going to be. I’ve been saying about surfaces and we got caught out against Welling when we tried to play. People are shouting from the stands for us to get it on the floor, but we can’t get it on the floor because it’s that bobbly and it’s bouncing,” he said.
He added: “We’ve come unstuck with people putting balls in behind us and I was conscious of that. We changed today and we went with three centre halves and in the second half Nick [Townsend] has not had a shot to save.
“We wanted to make sure we kept a clean sheet if we could and we always thought we had enough firepower to get us a goal.”
After changing his formation from the 2-1 defeat against Welling, Simpson explained that operating with three centre-backs and two wing-backs would be better given the state of the pitch.
The Imps boss also expressed his relief at reaching his target of 50 points, but was disappointed by Kris Bright’s red card for what was believed to be an off-the-ball incident.
“I didn’t see the sending off. Apparently the kid’s rolled as [Bright] has tried to step. There were one or two diving about today, but that’s how it goes,” he continued.
Braintree will be the hosts for Tuesday’s reverse fixture, but Conner Robinson is a doubt and Simpson admitted he is trying to sign another player. However, he did not disclose any details as to any ongoing deals.
Lincoln City are in action at The Amlin Stadium on Tuesday, March 18th when they will go looking for a quick-fire double over the Essex outfit.Tweet