Imps boss Danny Cowley says FA Cup win is one of his managerial highlights

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley says Monday’s FA Cup victory against Oldham Athletic is one of the best of his managerial career.

The Imps beat the League One side 3-2 in a action packed encounter at Sincil Bank in front of over 7,000 spectators.

They’ll face Championship club Ipswich Town in the third round.

Cowley said: “Its a fantastic night. To get on the right side of the result was brilliant. For us to have 7,000 people here as well is unbelievable.

“We’re a non-league club now so for us to carry 7,000 supporters is beyond all of our wildest expectations.

“Credit to the players because they’ve got the people in the city believing again and hopefully the people that came tonight enjoyed that and hopefully they’ll come again.”

Leading 3-0 midway through the second half thanks to Theo Robinson’s brace and Terry Hawkridge’s cool finish, the Imps were on course for a trip to Ipswich
Town in the next round.

But two Oldham goals in three minutes made for a nervous ending for most of the
7,012 supporters inside Sincil Bank, and The Imps held out for a tie at Portman
Road on 7th January.

In truth, Lincoln were the better side for much of the first hour and after City
had an early penalty shout waved away, it was Oldham who had the first sight of
goal. Ryan McLaughlin got to the byline and pulled back for Freddie Ladapo,
whose shot was comfortably dealt with by Paul Farman at his near post.

The sides then exchanged good chances – Lincoln going close when Hawkridge poked
goalbound and nearly caught out Connor Ripley at his near post, before Oldham
broke at pace and Ladapo lifted Lee Erwin’s through ball narrowly wide.

And the Imps broke the deadlock midway through the half. From a high cross into
the box, Matt Rhead nodded down and Robinson sneaked in between defence and
goalkeeper to flick home.

It was to get better for Lincoln just two minutes later. Hawkridge took full
advantage of a loose ball across the back line, chesting down and sprinting
through on goal to coolly slot into the far corner and double his side’s lead.

That put Lincoln in cruise control of the tie, and on the stroke of half time, Lincoln should have made it three. Slack defending saw Cameron Dummigan turned too easily by Robinson, but the striker couldn’t take advantage as he slotted wide.

Robinson, though, made up for that miss just a minute after the break, when he
did add a third. Nathan Arnold slipped a through ball to him, and Robinson did
the rest by curling a shot with the outside of his right foot into the far
corner to send the Imps fans wild.

That should have made the second half considerably more comfortable for Danny
Cowley’s men, but after Winchester flashed a shot wide for Oldham and Rhead’s
sweetly struck volley was saved, the visitors found a route back into the game.

It came from the simplest of sources – an Oli Banks corner met by the head of
visiting captain Peter Clarke, who was given too much space to power a header
home.

That gave Oldham a new found belief that they could take something from the
game, which only increased three minutes later. McLaughlin held the ball up well
on the left wing before playing inside to Erwin. Erwin’s neat back heel found
Billy McKay in space, and the substitute made no mistake despite a tight angle
and brought his side’s deficit back to just one goal.

With the momentum now with Oldham and the fog descending on Sincil Bank, the
closing stages saw the visitors have plenty of possession but they rarely saw
sight of goal.

Lincoln held out to reach the third round for the first time in seven years, sparking jubilant scenes from fans and players alike at full time.

“At 3-2 down, when they scored the second in quick succession, lesser teams go under,” Imps boss Danny Cowley added, “But we said in the dressing room they might have League One players but we’ve got Premiership people.

“We’ve got proper people, proper characters and they dug in when it really mattered and managed to get ourselves over the line.”

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