A new look Lincoln City were beaten by 3-1 Premier League Leicester in a pre-season friendly at Sincil Bank tonight. Luke Vials reports.
Tonight’s game was the Premier League outfit’s first pre-season friendly before the big kick off in just over a fortnight’s time. The game was more significant to the Foxes than the usual pre-season friendly, giving their new manager Claudio Ranieri his first chance to see his new team in action.
Ranieri named a strong side with most players having vast Premier League and International experience. The Imps, however, had the better of the early action.
Leicester Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was forced to make a couple of smart saves from Alex Simmons and, one of the many new Imps players, Matt Rhead. The Lincoln faithful didn’t have to wait long to see a goal.
After just ten minutes the Imps were ahead after a contentious penalty decision. A spell of sustained Lincoln pressure lead to the ball being hit at Liam Moore from close range and referee Darren Drysdale judged that he handled the ball. Captain Alan Power then coolly dispatched the spot kick to give the hosts an unlikely lead.
Despite this being a pre-season friendly, there were crunching tackles flying in from both teams. Leicester’s Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez was the opposition’s biggest threat and was on the receiving end of a few hard challenges from the imps new look back four.
It was Mahrez who got the visitors on level terms on 33 minutes. Leicester could have had a penalty of their own after their new Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki was fouled, but the referee played advantage and the ball fell happily to Mahrez who slid the ball home to make it level at the break.
Leicester changed their entire eleven at the halftime which was just as strong as the first period. The second half team seemed to gel much better than the first half, and their quality began to show. Paul Farman was showing why he was voted Lincoln’s player of the season last term with a string of smart saves.
Leicester had two golden opportunities to put themselves ahead. First David Nugent somehow managed to hit it over from close range, before a rebounded effort from Vardy fell comfortably for Kramaric on the penalty spot but he missed the target.
Leicester did eventually take a deserved just ten minutes before the end of the game. The imps defence backed off Andrej Kramaric before his long range effort found the back of the net to give the Premier League side the lead.
Jamie Vardy then made sure of the win for Leicester in injury time after Marc Albrighton twisted and turned in the box before setting up Vardy for a tap in.
The game ended 3-1 to the visitors but the game left plenty of positives for Chris Moyses men. Lincoln managed to match the top flight side for much of the game and managed to stay level until the 80th minute.
With so many new faces at the club it is bound to take time for the team to get to their best, but this was a valiant performance especially in the first half where the Imps were the better side. All in all it bodes well for their first conference game against Cheltenham Town on August 8.