Seven goals thankfully overshadowed two first half red cards as the University of Lincoln men’s football team produced a stunning 6-1 victory over Bishop Grosseteste at the inaugural Cathedral Cup clash at Sincil Bank.
The match was played out in front of over 1,300 fans, an attendance that some National League sides would love to attract, as students and locals alike turned out to voice their support for the two sides.
Scouts from both Lincoln United and Lincoln Moorlands Railway were in attendance, as well as Lincoln City Manager Chris Moyses, who was also keeping an eye on potential new recruits.
BGU started the game the brighter. Harry Ginniff stretching the opposition defence within the opening minutes, forcing Lincoln captain Josh Vamplew into a superb last ditch tackle to deny Ginniff a chance at goal.
The game then changed in just the 12th minute, after BGU Captain Phil Nicholson picked up a straight red card after a high challenge, which left supporters stunned at referee Daniel Issawi’s decision.
BGU were not at a numerical disadvantage for long, as the referee again sparked controversy just ten minutes later. Lincoln’s Ash Smith was awarded the game’s second red card and given his marching orders after a two footed challenge on BGU President Callum Ward.
BGU then took the lead right before half time following a driven corner by Ginniff. A goal mouth scramble ensued as Lincoln were unable to clear their lines before the ball fell to Luke Hobson who tapped home from just a few yards out.
Ginniff then had an excellent chance to double their lead just seconds later, but put the ball over the bar after an onrushing Max Fisher in the Lincoln goal did his best to put him off.
The Sincil Bank crowd were treated to an excellent half-time display, as dance groups and cheerleaders from both Universities took centre stage to keep fans entertained during the break.
The second half began slowly as both teams, now down to ten men tried best to keep their shape which made for a cagey start.
Lincoln were then handed a lifeline in the 70th minute when the referee awarded a penalty after Matt Cunliffe was brought down just inside the box. Matt Hibberd stepped up and calmly slotted home from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way and levelling the match at 1-1.
The parity would last just two minutes, as Lincoln added their second and took the lead courtesy of substitute Matt Semley. Lincoln’s high pressure paid off as Semley won the ball off the Bishop defence and put the ball through the legs of Bishop’s keeper Richard Greenway to make it 2-1 Lincoln.
The goals continued just minutes later as Lincoln made it 3-1, with Hibberd scoring his second of the match. A Lincoln free kick stung the palms of Greenway and Hibberd was around to tuck away the rebound.
Lincoln’s Matt Cunliffe then scored the first of what would turn out to be a superb hat-trick, after excellent work from substitute Hugo Smith. Smith’s powerful long range effort was impressively tipped onto the bar from Greenway and Cunliffe was there to head in the rebound.
It really was proving to be a game of two halves, as Lincoln continued their second half dominance and Cunliffe scored his second to make the score 5-1 to Lincoln. The ball bounced to Cunliffe just inside the area who blasted his effort first time past Greenway who couldn’t react quickly enough.
The Lincoln rout ended with Cunliffe getting his hat-trick. He met an Ash Melladay cross and drilled his header home impressively.
The final whistle signalled the end of the thrilling encounter which finished Bishop Grosseteste 1-6 University of Lincoln.
After the game, President of the University of Lincoln Men’s football team Will Fry was delighted with the occasion and was full of praise for hat-trick hero Matt Cunliffe.
“Amazing! What an experience that was, what a game of football it had everything. Matt (Cunliffe) is an awesome player, he’s just quality I can’t believe how good he is.”
Callum Ward, President of Bishop Grosseteste Men’s football team, praised his side’s efforts despite the final score and thinks a lack of experience may have been a factor in the defeat.
“Our legs went a bit, I think we made a little mistake for the first goal, giving it away (the penalty). The edge dropped after that and I think we had a few inexperienced players out there today on this occasion but I sympathise with them because it can happen.”
The University of Lincoln won the first Cathedral Cup but next years match is definitely certainly one for football fans to look out!Tweet