Lincoln United through to third qualifying round of FA Trophy after replay win

A first half brace from Kallum Smith sent Lincoln United into the third
qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 2-0 win over AFC Rushden and Diamonds.

 Smith scored in the seventh and seventeenth minutes to put United in cruise
control of Tuesday night’s replay from very early on.

And The Whites managed the second half expertly to keep only their third clean
sheet of the season and ensure they will face Kidderminster Harriers in the next
round.

The Whites celebrate. (Photo: James Williams)

The Whites celebrate. (Photo: James Williams)

In truth, Sam Wilkinson’s side were sharper throughout despite Jake Turner being
called into action early on – parrying wide Taylor Orosz’s bobbling shot – and
The Whites took the lead seven minutes in. Rushden switched off from a throw in,
which Callum Ward took quickly, allowing Smith to burst into the box and unleash
a powerful drive into the far corner which gave visiting ‘keeper Matt Finlay no
chance.

With Rushden seeking an immediate response, Turner comfortably denied Orosz for
a second time, from which United broke up the other end and added a second when
Smith hit a 25 yard half volley which took a slight deflection to dip over the
stricken Finlay.

Having come quickly out of the blocks, United were always in cruise control
afterwards and had chances to further extend their lead before half time. Finlay
parried away Danny Brooks’ fierce free kick, while from another Brooks delivery,
Michael Jacklin flicked straight at the ‘keeper.

The closest Diamonds came to halving their deficit before the break was just
after the half hour mark. Nic Evangelinos’ corner found an unmarked Rory Winters
at the far post, whose downward header was met by Turner’s save.

At the other end, Gary King nearly added a third when he flashed a shot across
the face of goal.

The second half saw Lincoln manage the game expertly, and while their visitors
had spells of possession they were limited to half chances by a backline led
superbly by Jacklin and James Blunden.

In fact, it was The Whites who had the best chances of the second period and
arguably could have won by a greater margin. Midway through the half, Jordan
Hemptenstall tried to take the ball around Finlay, who gathered at his feet,
before King was sent through on goal but could only drag a shot wide when he
should have wrapped the game up.

For Rushden, Orosz sliced wide from the edge of the box and Jake Newman fired
too high from twenty yards as Turner was rarely forced into anything other than
routine work.

And Smith was inches away from securing his hat-trick late on, when substitute
Matt Cotton’s low ball across the six yard box just evaded the advancing winger.

As it was, Smith had to settle for two goals as The Whites reached the third
qualifying round, and an away tie at Kidderminster in just under two weeks’
time.

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