Lincoln City’s play-off hopes dealt a major blow after Kidderminster defeat

Lincoln City’s play-off hopes suffered a damaging blow as they lost to bottom side Kidderminster Harriers.

The Imps took the lead midway through the first half through a Jack Muldoon strike. However, a second half brace from substitute James McQuilkin helped Kidderminster come from behind to grab an unlikely three points.

It was a disappointing day for Lincoln City. Photo Credit: James Williams

It was a disappointing day for Lincoln City. Photo Credit: James Williams

Following Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat away at Dover, this was a perfect opportunity for the Imps to get back to winning ways against a Kidderminster side who sat bottom of the National League and hadn’t won for six matches.

And City nearly got off to the perfect start. With less than a minute played, a scramble in the Kidderminster penalty area resulted in the ball breaking to Matt Sparrow but he could only shoot straight at Max O’Leary.

Five minutes later, Kidderminster should have opened the scoring when Ben Whitfield broke through the City defence only to fire his shot wide of Paul Farman’s near post.

Whitfield was a threat all afternoon and came close again on 8 minutes. This time his dipping shot from 25 yards flew just over the crossbar.

The Imps were struggling to break down a stubborn Kidderminster defence with Matt Rhead heading straight at the goalkeeper from close range.

However, City did make the break through on 27 minutes. After good build up play, Bradley Wood’s cross found Matt Rhead at the back post. His header down deflected off a Kidderminster defender and fell kindly to Jack Muldoon who drilled the ball low into the bottom left hand corner.

While the rest of the first half was a sedate affair, the second half was much livelier.

With City looking content to sit deep and protect their one goal advantage, Kidderminster dominated possession and territory as they searched for the equaliser.

On 50 minutes, Ben Whitfield once again found himself clean through on the Imps goal. On this occasion, the Kidderminster forward blazed his shot high and wide. In truth, he should have at least hit the target.

Just after the hour mark, Whitfield was involved again seeing Paul Farman parry his shot wide of the near post and then two minutes later he headed Lewis Kinsella’s cross straight at Farman.

After all these missed opportunities, it looked as if it wasn’t going to be Kidderminster’s day until in the 72nd minute, half-time substitute James McQuilkin stepped up to bend a brilliant free-kick past Paul Farman from 25 yards out.

This was no less than the visitors deserved. However, the goal did spark City into life and they should have retaken the lead 10 minutes later when Robbie McDaid somehow managed to fire George Maris’ ball over the crossbar from six yards out.

This proved to be a decisive moment in the game as less than a minute later Kidderminster went in front. Whitfield beat the Lincoln City defence with his pace and although his shot across goal was saved by the foot of Farman, the ball looped up invitingly for McQuilkin to head the ball into the unguarded net.

City pressed for an equaliser late on but Kidderminster held on for a valuable three points in their fight for survival.

For the Imps, the defeat leaves them nine points off the play-offs and as the boos rang around Sincil Bank after this insipid display, it seems very few people hold much hope they’ll achieve their promotion dream this season.