In what has to be one of the best Lincolnshire Derby in recents times, Lincoln City won their first game in three securing a 3-2 win over bitter rivals Grimsby.
Grimsby came into the game much the better in form with 9 points from their last four games including a 6-1 win and 7-0 against Gateshead and Alfreton respectively.
Lincoln however, had lost the momentum their good start promised, losing their last three matches, conceding three in each of them.
Besides all that it was Lincoln who started the game the better with Brown and Bencharif both going close.
Lincoln, roared on by an incredibly passionate home support made their good start pay when, in the 8th minute, Jordan Burrow headed home Ben Tomlinson’s delicious cross to score his 4th goal of the season.
High tempo game, passionate fans and just to add to the list of ingredients you need for a classic Lincolnshire Derby, a penalty.
Tomlinson was brought down in the Grimsby box in the 19th minute and referee England pointed to the spot.
Tomlinson took on the responsibility himself but cracked it against the post.
With such a frantic pace for the first 20 minutes, it was unsurprising the game slowed down, with Neilson the only Grimsby player testing Townsend in the Lincoln goal, curling a low shot from 25 yards out, forcing the keeper to dive to his right to catch the ball.
The two sides were trading chances, first from Power, for Lincoln, who’s shot deflected to bounce against the cross bar and back, from Lincoln fans point of view, the wrong side of the goal line. Then, Pearson, for Grimsby, headed over from a corner.
With only three minutes to half time, Townsend made a horrific error after dropping a corner allowing Craig Disley to volley home from close range, sucking all the noise out of the stadium made by the Lincoln fans.
A breathless half came to close with Bencharif having the last opportunity, forcing keeper Mckeown down to his last from a daisy-cutter free kick.
One all at half time in a cracking Lincolnshire Derby, but Ben Tomlinson’s penalty was looking costly.
At the beginning of the second half and a slow five minutes, Neilson brought the half to life with a thunderous strike from 30 yards that cannoned off the post. Neilson followed his shot all the way and the ball came back to his feet 12 yards out but he was unable to divert the ball into Townsend’s open net.
Minutes later Lincoln got their second chance from the spot, when again Tomlinson was brought down in the box and this time, Newton stepped up from the spot.
And this time, Lincoln found the net to lead 2-1, 12 minutes into the second half.
Lincoln’s lead lasted all of 2 minutes, when Jon Paul Pittman converted past Townsend.
Grimsby, the team in far better form slowly took control of the second half, meaning Lincoln had to resort to long balls towards Bencharif and Burrow, which were never hitting the target.
With 25 minutes to go, Grimsby was the only side that looked like scoring.
John-Lewis missed a sitter for Grimsby, when put through on goal, but by trying to be clever he got his lob horribly wrong, spooning it well wide of Townsends goal.
But just like Tomlinson’s penalty miss in the first half; a miss can prove a turning point.
After that, Lincoln pressed higher up the pitch, used the ball better and nearly took the lead for a third time after a Tomlinson cross zipped through the Grimsby box, somehow evading everyone.
And as it turned out, John Lewis’ was very costly. With 4 minutes to go, Hamza Bencherif converted a Tomlinson corner to give Lincoln the lead for the third time in the Lincolnshire Derby.
With seconds remaining Sam-Yorke sprinted away, relieving all the pressure exerted by Grimsby.
He ran away from everybody, including the Grimsby keeper but his shot just crept wide.
But it did not matter one iota. The referee blew the whistle, to confirm a terrific, morale boosting, gusty, 3-2 win for Lincoln.
Attendance: 5209 (1765 away)
Nick Townsend – 6: Made some good saves and would have scored higher if he wasn’t for his mistake in the first half.
Jack Caprice – 6: Solid defensive at right back, but loose with the ball.
Tony Diagne – 6: A few sliced clearances and rogue missed timed tackles but not a liability at all.
Nat Brown – 7: Solid at the back. Much calmer than his centre back partner.
Sean Newton – 7: Dead balls and delivery excellent and scored a penalty.
Jon Nolan – 6: A battling, solid performance from the centre midfielder but could have used the ball better in attacking positions.
Arnaud Mendy – 6: Used the ball well but was bypassed in the middle late on
Alan Power – 6: Fairly ineffect but to his credit was played out of position.
Hamza Bencharif – 9: An absolute menace in the first half. He was involved in everything Lincoln did well. A quieter second half but was in the right place at the right time to give Lincoln all three points. (The Linc Sport Man of The Match)
Jordan Burrow – 8: Scored a goal and held up the ball well.
Ben Tomlinson – 8: Won two penalties. Although he missed one, worked hard all game and a constant threat.
Delano Sam-Yorke – 6: Came on late into the second half, and could’ve scored in the dying seconds but dragged his shot wide.