Imps miss out on top-half finish

Lincoln City’s season ended on a sour note after a pitch invasion disrupted their final match of the season against Barnet.

Nat Brown, Ben Tomlinson and Kris Bright were all on the scoresheet in a lively 3-3 draw in which the Imps threw away a two-goal lead which means they end the season in 14th place.

Photo: Tom Farmery

Lincoln started brightly and Ben Tomlinson had a shot tipped behind by Nick Jupp with four minutes on the clock. However, it was the Bees who struck first.

Luke Gambin was tripped in the box and Saudi Arabia international Ahmed Abdulla sent Nick Townsend the wrong way to put Barnet 1-0 up.

But the Imps responded in the best possible way and following a Sean Newton corner, Nat Brown turned the ball in to equalise for only his second goal of the season.

From there, the game became more competitive and did not look like a game with nothing riding on it for either side.

Valentin Gjokaj headed wide from Luke Gambin’s corner and Jamal Lowe had an effort blocked after dancing his way through the Lincoln defence.

However, Barnet continued to press and the Imps had Townsend to thank for keeping Gambin out and David Stephens headed over from the following corner kick.

The on-loan goalkeeper had to make a double save from Lowe not long after and soon had Luke Foster for company in the back four after he replaced the injured Thierry Audel.

Lincoln weathered the storm temporarily and could have gone 2-1 up. Jon Nolan played in Tom Miller who hit the post and moments later, Gambin rattled the Lincoln crossbar with what would have been one of the goals of the season at the other end.

With the scores level at the break, Lincoln seized the advantage promptly after the restart. Nolan had more luck as provider this time as he set up Kris Bright who headed the Imps in front for the first time.

Barnet thought they had levelled minutes later, but Gambin was thwarted again and this time the offside flag denied him an elusive goal. They then had a lucky escape at the other end when Bright fired over following a Sean Newton cross.

However, the hosts got the better of Jupp in the visitor’s goal soon after when Ben Tomlinson slid in for his eighteenth goal of the season. And the early goal rush was replicated when Gambin set up Iffy Allen to make it 3-2 with 56 minutes played.

Martin Allen threw on Luisma Lopez, Jake Hyde and Mark Byrne to try and push for an equaliser and the substitutes had some impact. Lopez had a free kick defended well by the hosts and Hyde fired over when one-on-one with Townsend, but that was not before a pair of Lincoln corners and a Jake Sheridan shot which was saved by Jupp. Iffy Allen could also have levelled for Barnet, but squandered a free header.

Crowd trouble followed which caused a delay of several minutes as some spectators in the Co-op stand invaded the field of play which forced stewards to intervene. The Barnet players walked off the pitch as the authorities dealt with those who were causing problems.

When play did resume, eight additional minutes were added on and it threw the Bees a lifeline which they took advantage of. Hyde had a shot blocked by Nat Brown, but turned in the rebound to make the final score 3-3.

Fans returned to the pitch after the final whistle, but were led off by stewards.

Player ratings

Nick Townsend 5- looked a bit shaky but made some decent saves.

Tom Miller 6- worked pretty hard and was unlucky not to get a goal.

Sean Newton 7- Linc Sport Man of the Match. Worked hard and was his usual excellent presence on the left hand side.

Nat Brown 6- scored a goal which visibly meant a lot to him.

Thierry Audel 5- did not get much of a chance today, but did attempt a cross in the Barnet box.

Alan Power 6- fairly active in the centre of the park, but not his best game.

Jake Sheridan 6- had his moments in the game and might have scored on a different day.

Jon Nolan 7- provided the assist for the Bright goal and was competent.

Kris Bright 6- doubled his goal tally and performed fairly well up front.

Danny Rowe 5- had glimpses, but was outshone by the other attacking players.

Ben Tomlinson 7- added his 19th goal of the season. Also booked.

Substitutes

Luke FosterĀ 5- did not figure too much in the game since he came on.

Kobey Arthur 6- had a shot blocked and tried to have an impact when he arrived.

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