Lincoln City are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 40 years, as they beat Ipswich 1-0 at Sincil Bank.
A goal in the 90th minute from Nathan Arnold sealed a historic win for the Imps, who’ll now meet Brighton in the next round at Sincil Bank.
As 9,069 people clapped on for a minute’s applause for Graham Taylor before the match, a banner was held by Lincoln City fans, the message: ‘As one passes another rises,’ with a picture of the former City manager Taylor and current boss Danny Cowley.
And Cowley showed why he’s one of the country’s most impressive up and coming managers, as his team completely dominated Ipswich in the first half.
So much so, for anyone who was watching the game, if you were to guess which side were the Championship side and guessed which belonged in non-league football…well, Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy wouldn’t like the answer.
It wasn’t a contest as to who started the brighter of the two sides, with the Imps bossing their opponents with a flurry of good moves including Terry Hawkridge, Nathan Arnold and Theo Robinson.
However, Ipswich had the first real chance of the game on the 10th minute with midfielder Tom Lawrence unleashing a low shot from the edge of the box, and despite scoring two past ‘keeper Pau Farman in the first game, the Imps shot-stopper won this duel, saving low to his left.
Lincoln then took the initiative in the match, with midfielder Hawkridge nut-megging his opponents at will, controlling the tempo and pace of the game.
Hawkridge was then instrumental in the build-up which ended with Robinson crossing for Alex Woodyard, but the unmarked midfielder could only guide his bullet header just wide of the post.
Ipswich were frazzled, and with Matt Rhead causing centre backs Luke Chambers and Christophe Berra to rethink their chosen career paths, the Imps should’ve taken the lead.
Captain Luke Waterfall was found at the back post after an impressive header by Rhead, but the centre-back could only half-volley straight at ‘keeper Dean Gerken, who made a reflex save to parry the ball away.
In the second half, Josh Emmanuel managed to remind the Imps that given the chance, their opponents could capitalise if they were sloppy, but he could only see his shot from just outside the box saved once again by Farman.
City struggled to make many clear cut chances in the second half, despite keeping Ipswich pinned to their own half.
Momentum in the game then shifted with the Imps as midfielder Hawkridge, once again gliding through the game, rifled a left-foot shot 30 yards from goal, with Gerken equal to it.
From this moment on, City were a side refuelled on adrenaline, with one goal in mind, to win.
And that one goal came with the help with a 79th minute as substitute Adam Marriott came on for the ever hard-working Robinson.
As the game looked to be heading for extra-time, the Lincoln City players had one final chance to make a name for themselves, one final opportunity to write themselves in the history books.
And they did when they countered Ipswich 90th minute, with Adam Marriott charging towards goal. However, he stopped on the halfway line, turned his back to the goal and just as it seemed the chance had gone, he cutely put through Arnold with an incredible pass between two defenders and Arnold was away one on one with Gerken.
With every stride Arnold made towards Gerken, more and more City fans stood up, and as the winger made his way to goal, he cooly side-stepped the helpless Gerken and finishes to the rapturous applause of over 8,000 Lincoln City fans.
The final whistle blew and that was it. The first time Lincoln City had qualified for the fourth round of the FA Cup since the 1975/76 season.
The manager? Graham Taylor.
A fitting tribute to an Imps legend, and Danny Cowley said after the game how proud he was of his players’ effort after the game.
Cowley said: “It felt good, it was a good time to score in the 90th minute, it was a terrific ball by Adam Marriott, he waited for the support, timed the pass perfectly, and the weight was fantastic.”
“It was terrific fitness by Nathan Arnold to find that energy and then have the coolness to round the keeper, it was a fantastic goal.
“I’m massively proud and there’s a lot of hard work that goes into this, about working relentlessly hard since the end of June, sometimes it can be a slog but it’s lovely when it works.”
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy admitted after the match that the Imps were the better of the two sides, he said:
“They deserved to be through, but it was a poorly delivered free-kick by Tom Lawrence and he’s come in and apologised afterwards.
“I am embarrassed, we shouldn’t get beaten by a National League club, even if they are top of the league.”
City will now be focused on a vital game on Friday, against promotion-chasing rivals Dover Athletic at Sincil Bank.Tweet