Lincoln United require penalties again to triumph over Mickleover

Lincoln United beat Mickleover Sports on penalties in the First Round of the Integro League Cup.

Chances were at a premium in a scrappy first-half but the Whites took the lead early in the second-half when Ben Fairclough took advantage of a defensive mix up in the Mickleover defence to score. Sports, who play in a league above United, equalised soon after through a deflected Charlie Dawes strike which left goalkeeper Sam Vince helpless.

Sam Vince's heroics help Lincoln United beat Mickleover on penalties. Photo: James Williams

Sam Vince’s heroics help Lincoln United beat Mickleover on penalties. Photo: James Williams

The match ended 1-1 and United winger Kallum Smith scored the decisive penalty in the shoot out to send the Whites through 5-4 on penalties.

Two minutes into the match, the Whites felt they should have been awarded a penalty. Kallum Smith wriggled his way into the penalty area and fell to the floor under a couple of Mickleover challenges but the referee waved play on despite the home side’s strong appeals.

Sports had their first opportunity a minute later. Andy Dales saw his low free kick from 20 yards parried away to safety by United goalkeeper Sam Vince.

It wasn’t until the 26th minute that either side threatened again. United midfielder Daniel Brooks saw his deflected shot from 25 yards comfortably saved by Ross Atkins while Mickleover’s John McGrath curled a free kick over the bar five minutes later.

Three minutes before half-time, Sports came close to opening the scoring. Simon Oshoboke played in forward Charlie Dawes whose deflected shot was tipped wide by Vince at his near post.

However, it was United who took the lead on 49 minutes. A long ball was left by the Mickleover defenders who were expecting their goalkeeper Ross Atkins to come and clear the ball. But Atkins didn’t come, leaving Whites forward Ben Fairclough free to latch onto the loose ball, he rounded the stranded goalkeeper and passed the ball into the empty net.

Ten minutes later, Mickleover equalised. Forward Charlie Dawes picked up the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area, cut inside onto his left foot and saw his shot deflect off the outstretched boot of United defender Adam Hewitt, loop over Sam Vince and nestle in the back of the net.

On 67 minutes, the visitors almost took the lead. After a goal mouth scramble, the ball fell to Anthony O’Neil-Dwyer on the left hand side of the penalty area. With goalkeeper Vince in no-man’s-land, Dwyer curled the ball towards the unguarded net but Callum Ward managed to get back and head the ball off the line.

The final 20 minutes continued to be a tight affair. However, in the 89th minute the Whites could’ve taken the lead. Captain Michael Jacklin headed Matt Cotton’s corner inches wide of the right hand post with the goal gaping.

That proved to be the final action of any note in the 90 minutes and the match went to penalties, with extra-time not required in this competition.

Just like last week, the Whites prevailed in the shoot-out, winning 5-4. Goalkeeper Sam Vince was the hero once again, saving Anthony O’Neil-Dywer’s penalty and scoring his own. This left Kallum Smith to step up and score the winning penalty, sending United through to the next round.