New-look Lincoln City’s play-off hopes dashed by late Gateshead equaliser

Lincoln City surrendered a 1-0 lead for the second home game in a row as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Gateshead at Sincil Bank.

With the suspension to Bradley Wood, injuries to Matt Rhead and Greg Tempest and Robbie McDaid being called up to the Northern Ireland U21 squad, Chris Moyses opted for a 3-5-2 formation to accommodate the three enforced changes. Matt Sparrow returned to the line-up along with youngsters Alex Simmons and Elliot Hodge.

There were rare starts for Alex Simmons and Elliot Hodge (Photo: James Williams)

There were rare starts for Alex Simmons and Elliot Hodge (Photo: James Williams)

The Imps started at a quick tempo and were playing some neat football in and around the Gateshead box but weren’t able to create any clear cut chances until mid way through the half.

The first of these fell to Simmons in the 23rd minute but he couldn’t lift the ball over the advancing Sam Russell in the visiting goal after he had been threaded through by Hodge.

Five minutes later, Simmons’ strike partner Jack Muldoon was also denied by Russell after spinning away from his man impressively. George Maris failed to keep his rebounded effort on target.

However, on 37 minutes, City’s persistence paid off. From a quick free kick, Hodge played the ball wide to Simmons who swung in a deep cross which was met by a firm downward header from Luke Waterfall for his fifth goal of the season – not a bad return for a centre half!

The Tynesiders nearly equalised immediately as the ball fell kindly for CJ Hamilton on the corner of the six yard box but Paul Farman got down quickly to save, with the ball deflecting over the bar off the retreating Hodge.

It was a rare moment of alarm in an otherwise dominant performance from the Imps which carried on well into the second half. Alan Power drove into the Gateshead box on 66 minutes but his daisy cutter of a shot narrowly trickled its way past the post with Russell beaten all ends up.

Four minutes later, Simmons and Maris worked a neat one two in the penalty area but Simmons’ effort flew over the crossbar.

Despite failing to find a second goal, City appeared to be in total control of the game but, as has been the case on several occasions this season, one moment of defensive sloppiness cost them much needed points.

Substitute Daniel Johnson raced onto a long clearance into the left channel from Michael Onovwigun, Farman rushed out of his goal to meet him but misjudged it and left Johnson with a chance to slot the ball through his legs, which he did with ease.

The Imps piled forward in response and just minutes later, Power surged into the penalty area and appeared to be tripped from behind but instead the midfielder was booked for diving.

Power looked the only man likely of finding a late winner for Lincoln and just as the clock ticked over 90 minutes, he fired an ambitious 30 yard effort narrowly wide.

The draw benefitted neither side and both will only be playing for pride in the remainder of their respective seasons.

After the match, Lincoln City manager Chris Moyses said he was pleased with the performance but not the result: “I was pleased with the whole performance barring a bit of naivety. I thought we passed the ball well for the whole of the game but we just need to be ruthless.”

“You look at the stats and it says that we’ve got one point from Easter which isn’t great but you look at the performances and it gives us something to work on.”

Full-time: Lincoln City 1-1 Gateshead