Lincoln City grab late equaliser as they go 10 unbeaten against Aldershot

Lincoln City made it 10 games unbeaten in all competitions after a late goal from Matt Rhead earned the Imps a point against fellow play-off hopefuls Aldershot Town at Sincil Bank.

Danny Cowley’s men fell behind to an early goal from the Shots’ Idris Kanu, before a Nathan Arnold double saw them reclaim the lead at half-time.

Aldershot equalised early in the second-half through Cheye Alexander, before Scott Rendell put Gary Waddock’s side 3-2 up.

There were six minutes of added time following a second half plagued by frequent injuries before Rhead turned the ball home from close range to notch his 10th goal of the season and ensure Lincoln’s unbeaten run reached double figures.

Minute of silence at Sincil Bank. (Photo: James Williams)

A remembrance ceremony preceded kick-off, and the players came out to a guard of honour compromising of local children and military personnel.

In addition, the Lincoln City groundsmen carved poppies onto the pitch and the Last Post was sounded as part of a one-minute silence.

Lincoln started the better, more relaxed side, enjoying a good spell down the right in the opening five minutes, Theo Robinson headed wide from an early Harry Anderson cross.

Anderson and former Derby County man Robinson combined again shortly after, playing a neat one-two before the former lifted the ball into the six-yard box, only for Jake Cole in the Aldershot goal to parry the ball away from Rhead, who was waiting to pounce.

Rhead again made life awkward for Cole as Bradley Wood swung in another promising delivery from the right, but the defence were able to clear.

The home fans at Sincil Bank were shocked 10 minutes in as, Aldershot opened the scoring. Alexander crossed in from the right, and Rendell’s header was saved brilliantly by Farman before Idris Kanu stroked home the rebound to hand the visitors the lead.

Aiming to make it 10 matches unbeaten, Lincoln soon regained their composure and went back on the front foot.

Rhead, looking to take his goal tally into double figures, had another good opportunity but couldn’t quite get on the end of Wood’s right-wing cross.

Lincoln thought they’d equalised with 20 minutes gone, Anderson powered through midfield and played in the pacey Robinson who slotted passed Cole in the Shots’ goal, but the assistant referee on the far side had his flag up, much to the annoyance of The Imps’ strong home support.

Less than a minutes later, though, City were back on level terms, Nathan Arnold, escaping the offside trap, latched on to a through ball on the left-hand side, from the impressive Harry Anderson, and audaciously lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper to draw Lincoln back on terms.

After the jubilation of Lincoln’s equaliser, Gary Waddock’s Aldershot very nearly responded immediately. Mensah brought the ball down on his chest before laying it out to Alexander on the right, who swung in another sumptuous delivery only for Imps goalkeeper Farman to deny Mensah, who had continued his run into the box. ‘England’s number one’ chanted the home fans.

Rhead’s power and physical presence continued to cause problems for the Shots’ defence, and with 16 minutes left of the first 45, Lincoln’s big number nine forced a strong save from Cole, sending a powerful header goal bound after a cross from Sam Habergham on the left.

Almost immediately after, Lincoln completed the turn around. Arnold powerfully striking the ball past Cole into the bottom left hand corner after latching on to a lovely over-the-top ball.

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Lincoln’s second goal, taken superbly by Nathan Arnold. (Photo: James Williams)

As the first half drew to a close, Lincoln were presented with a glorious chance to extend their lead. Robinson pounced on a poor back pass and was through on goal, only to strike an off-balanced left-footed effort over the bar.

Cowley’s men were dealt a blow as the second-half commenced. The impressive Harry Anderson limped off injured, with Jack Muldoon coming on in his place.

Just a few minutes later, Cheye Alexander curled a wonderful left-footed effort from the edge of the box into the far corner levelling the contest at 2-2 and prompting wild scenes from the 159 Aldershot fans situated behind Jake Cole’s goal.

The physio team at Sincil Bank will have a busy week ahead of them as 20 minutes into the second half, two goal hero Nathan Arnold became the second player wearing red and white to trudge off the field injured. He was replaced by Terry Hawkridge.

Given the stop-start nature of the second period the game fell flat, with both sides frequently surrendering possession and hitting aimless, inaccurate long balls.

With 18 minutes left to play, Aldershot regained their lead, as the ball broke to Scott Rendell in the box and the number nine, in acres of space, struck a fierce right-footed shot into the back of Farman’s net.

Lincoln came close to an equaliser when Matt Rhead redirected a long diagonal ball from Terry Hawkridge across the face of goal only for the Aldershot defence to block a goal bound header from Sean Raggett.

The big defender went down injured after the incident and there were fears that City would to play the remaining 10 minutes plus stoppage time with 10 men, having made all three substitutions. Thankfully, though, Raggett was able to continue.

Due to the frequent number of stoppages in the second half, the fourth official added on a further six minutes as Lincoln looked to claw back an equaliser.

City threw everything at the visitors in a bid to preserve their unbeaten run and in the last throws they got their equaliser.

Farman launched a massive kick deep into the heart of the Aldershot penalty area and with the Shots failing to clear Matt Rhead, deserving of a goal, turned the ball in from close range following Elliott Whitehouse’s overhead kick deflecting into his path.

The goal prompted wild scenes of euphoria at Sincil Bank as Cowley’s men maintained their unbeaten streak.

The point leaves Lincoln nine points behind leaders Forest Green Rovers, who they visit next week, while Aldershot are now two points off the play-offs.

After the match, Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley was critical of his side’s “negative” second half performance.

“Second half we didn’t get going, we were negative in our mind set. All the things we were doing well in the first half – making the pitch small, getting on the front foot, pressing the ball high, getting turnovers high up the pitch – we stopped doing, we got negative,” he said.

 

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