Lincoln City are one point off top after beating Maidstone United 2-0 at Sincil Bank, thanks to goals from Theo Robinson and Matt Rhead.
On a rather foggy and eerie Saturday afternoon at Sincil Bank, Lincoln City were looking to stretch their unbeaten run in the Vanarama National League to thirteen games against Maidstone United.
After a week of growing belief amongst the players and supporters, the Imps went into this fixture the clear favourites and this was enhanced further due to the fact that Maidstone had failed to win in their previous five national league games prior to their meeting, with Danny Cowley’s men.
With both Forest Green and Dagenham & Redbridge in action, City had the opportunity to state their claim for automatic promotion this week and they started the game the better of the two sides by dominating possession and making it rather difficult for Maidstone to settle, in the early proceedings.
Robinson and Rhead led the line for City and their combination play illustrated their threat early on to the Maidstone defence. Even though he was caught offside twice in the opening twenty minutes much to the annoyance of the home supporters, Robinson worked tirelessly for the team and his dribbling ability down the left-hand side made a mockery of full back Seth Nana Twumasi.
This is where the first chance would be conjured up, as the Jamaican evaded the challenge of the defender and flashed a ball across the box into Matt Rhead, who somewhat failed to convert the chance from six yards on the 21st minute mark.
Frustration grew amongst the Imps supporters after this, due to the leniency of referee Wayne Baratt and additional chances being squandered at the feet of Robinson and Arnold respectively, in the 23rd minute. But despite this, they were in full song for the entirety of the game much to the appreciation of Cowley, who explained the significance of their support in the press-conference last Thursday.
Their chants were nearly halted however, as former Norwich City Jamar Loza ran onto the ball to the right of the eighteen-yard-box but his shot on goal failed to reach the goal just short of the twenty five minutes.
At the interval, Stone Roses classic ‘I wanna be adored’ entertained the Imps fans, and Theo Robinsion answered this call, by heading the ball past Lee Worgan in the 52nd minute, courtesy of Matt Rhead’s headed assist. This was the breakthrough the home side deserved as they found it rather difficult in the first-half to muster up a clear goal scoring opportunity.
This gave City much needed impetus and with only 120 seconds after the restart, Matt Rhead turned scorer for the Imps after converting Nathan Arnold’s low cross. It was a rather fortuitous goal for Lincoln City following the Maidstone goalkeeper’s poor clearance to the feet of Nathan Arnold, but after he was teed up the 32 year-old made no mistake in dispatching the chance.
As fog continued to roll in, the chances continued to be created for the home side and Matt Rhead was denied a second in the 66th minute after his header was fantastically saved by the finger-tips of Lee Worgan who made amends for his earlier error. Then in 72nd minute, it was time for Robinson to see his shot on goal saved as Lee Worgan smartly prevented the former Derby forward getting his second of the match.
This wasn’t to be the last of the action however, as Eliott Whitehouse came close to adding a third to the scoreline but he could only watch on as his effort just went over the opposition crossbar. It would have been a fitting end to the proceedings and it wouldn’t have been anything short of what Lincoln City had deserved.
There was still time for Tom Mills to sum up the second half performance for Maidstone United, as his effort from a drilled corner went despairingly into the stands of the imps goal.
The score ended 2-0 to Lincoln City after three minutes of stoppage time and it was another massive three points for Cowley’s men in their pursuit of Forest Green, who dropped points at the hands of Wrexham in a 3-1 defeat this afternoon. It leaves City within a point of Mark Cooper’s team with a game spare, so it justifies and lays claim to the chant “Forest Green we’re coming for you”, from the fans.
However Danny Cowley remains adamant and emphasises in response that “the fans must keep their feet on the ground, it’s only November the league isn’t decided in November”. He then went onto to say “we turn our attention to Wrexham, they are a difficult side we know that and today’s result also proves that”.