Lincoln City beat promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers 3-1 in the sunshine at Sincil Bank to regain top spot.
Danny Cowley’s men had recently drifted in to second place after losing 2-0 to Boreham Wood on Tuesday night and could have been six points adrift of Rovers following a defeat on Saturday, but fortunately that wasn’t the case.
After an impeccably observed minutes silence for the victims of the Westminster attacks the Imps dominated the opening exchanges with Terry Hawkridge flashing a long shot wide in the seventh minute.
However it was Rovers who took the lead, against the run of play, after 10 minutes when Alan Power was robbed of the ball on the edge of the box by Christain Doidge, who finished confidently to get his 23rd goal of the season and his 15th in his last 15 games.
In the 16th minute Hawkridge produced a great delivery from a free-kick that found Luke Waterfall un-marked in the area, but his header was straight at Rovers’ goalkeeper Sam Russell.
Lincoln were dominating proceedings since Forest Green took the lead and on the half hour mark Woodyard put another good cross in to the box but Matt Rhead could only head in to the hands of the keeper who made an easy save.
Rovers found an opportunity to double their lead a minute before the break. A corner was played out to the edge of the box which found an un-marked Liam Noble but his first time shot flew over the bar.
In the fourth minute of time added on at the end of the first half Sean Raggett had a chance to level the game at one a piece but his header from a corner went inches wide of the post.
It was a poor first half display from the Imps, they dominated possession but Rovers seemed more than happy to sit back and wait for the Lincoln attacks to break down.
The second half started a lot better for the Imps, who had clearly been rallied in the changing room by Cowley over the break.
Three minutes in to the second half Power had an opportunity to put right his mistake in the first half. His powerful shot from the edge of the area beat the keeper but was cleared off the line by Rovers’ defender Sam Wedgbury.
In the 56th minute Lincoln City scored to level the game. A long ball up the pitch from Farman bounced once over the defender’s head, Lee Angol was first to it and finished coolly with his left foot.
5 minutes later the Imps took the lead through an own goal. A good exchange between Hawkridge and Habergham down the left hand side sent Habergham in to the box whose cross was turned in off the post by Marcus Kelly.
With the Imps leading 2-1 in the 75th minute, Angol won a free kick in a good position. Habergham stepped up and sent his powerful low free-kick beyond the diving Rovers’ keeper. A fantastic strike from Habergham that is surely a contender for goal of the season. Lincoln now with a comfortable two goal cushion over their promotion rivals.
Much to the delight of the home support, Danny Cowley was still encouraging the fans to keep the noise up with just a few minutes to go.
In the final minute of normal time Angol was substituted and received a standing ovation from the home support.
The Imps successfully negotiated the six additional minutes of injury time without too much hassle. Kelly came close for Rovers with a free-kick but Farman made a good save. Matt Rhead had the chance to increase the lead in the third minute of time added on but missed a tap in much to amusement of the travelling fans.
However the last laugh went to Rhead as the Imps recorded a 3-1 victory over Rovers and regained top spot on goal difference with three games in hand.
Focus for the Imps now turns to Tuesday night’s game away at Sutton United – a battle between this year’s surprise FA Cup giant killers.
After the game we spoke to Imps manager, Danny Cowley:
“We were pleased with the way we played, obviously a bit disappointed in the way we conceded the goal because that’s un-like us, but I think it was the first time they’d been in our half let alone our box.”
“The supporters were brilliant throughout and really helped in getting us through the game.”
“Lee (Angol) was brilliant all day, I through the pressed the all really hard, he ran the channels well and used his body brilliantly to take that goal.”
“It’s a great win for us, but it’s more about the performance than the three points today and I thought we were really determined to put on a good performance.”
“The boys stuck together and showed a real durability and we showed that we’ve got character after coming from a goal behind.”
“Rhead was a monster today and deserved a goal at the end but he doesn’t need to score to play well for this team.”Tweet