Goals from Matt Rhead and Jack Muldoon along with a stunning strike from James Caton ensured Lincoln City a 3-0 victory over play-off hopefuls Eastleigh at Sincil Bank.
The Imps dealt with the difficult windy conditions better than the away side right from the start and had much of the early possession, with Alan Power controlling things from a deeper midfield role.
The home side were persistent with playing balls in behind the opposition’s defence, looking to give makeshift striker Muldoon the ability to make use of his pace and this would be the method for the first goal.
Rhead opened the scoring after a Bradley Wood long pass gave Muldoon something to chase, who was just beaten to the ball by the onrushing Eastleigh keeper Michael Poke. The ball then fell kindly to Rhead who produced an excellent chip over the stranded keeper from outside the box to score his 20th goal of the season in the 20th minute.
City then doubled their lead in the 40th minute after a wonder goal from James Caton. Eastleigh half cleared a corner and the ball landed at the feet of Caton outside the box who initially hesitated before firing a powerful effort off the crossbar and into the top corner, which left the Sincil Bank crowd stunned.
The Imps were in total control of the match, with Rhead most certainly at the races and winning every header and physical battle against a helpless Eastleigh defence.
The home side then added a third goal with almost the last kick of the first half. A lofted Chris Bush pass was impressively kept alive by Rhead at the back post, who fed the ball into the path of the determined Muldoon who calmly placed his effort into the bottom corner.
The Imps started the second half just as they finished the first and were in control of the early periods, with the only action of any note for Eastleigh being four consecutive corners as City momentarily struggled to clear their lines.
An unmarked Jamie McCombe had an excellent chance to increase the Imps lead in the 70th minute, but headed just over the bar from close range after a Greg Tempest corner.
Muldoon nearly rounded off his impressive individual performance with another goal but his free kick went just wide of the post as Lincoln continued to dominate on a windy afternoon.
Paul Farman was finally called into action late in the game and produced an impressive one handed save to deny Eastleigh’s James Constable and keep his clean sheet intact.
A quality display and thoroughly deserved victory has left the Imps just 2 points outside the National League play-off positions and in the process reignited the side’s promotion hopes.
After the match, City boss Chris Moyses labelled his side’s performance as one of their best so far this season:
“Yeah I think it was one of our best (the performance), we were good with the ball and good without the ball and we made life very difficult for them at times and a lot of things came together for us today.”
“We were very clinical today, we’ve talked about being ruthless at both ends of the pitch and today we were.
“We wanted to win today and get ourselves top 6 of the table again and the performance shows the player’s desire and honesty and commitment that they have got towards the club.”
Full time: Lincoln City 3-0 EastleighTweet