Lincoln City extend their lead at the top of the National League after a hard-fought 1-0 win against Chester FC at Sincil Bank.
Early substitute, Harry Anderson, scored the only goal in an action packed match where both sides ended the game with 10 men.
Left-back Sam Habergham had the first real chance of the match on the 11th minute, when he won the ball, strode forward, and what seemed a cross, almost ended up in the top far corner with keeper Alex Lynch left helpless, but it was inches wide.
Four minutes later, City went closer, when Bradley Wood unleashed Nathan Arnold down the right hand side. The winger then cut in on his left foot into the box but his powerful strike sailed over the bar.
Then in the 19th minute, after neat work by Arnold and Habergham down the left flank, the left-backs cross found Elliott Whitehouse, who found himself in space in the box, but like Arnold, struck over the bar.
Halfway through the first half, after missed chances by Habergham, Arnold and then Whitehouse, could it have been one of those nights for City?
Was this to be the night they’d slip up?
City tore Chester’s defence apart over and over, but there was evidently a missing ingredient for the Imps going forward.
That extra bit of pace, that bit more skill.
When Lee Angol went off injured in the 30th minute, what would City manager Danny Cowley do when his star striker on loan from Peterbrough couldn’t play on?
Typical logic would point towards the only forward on the bench, Adam Marriott, but Cowley had other ideas.
Instead, he brought on winger Harry Anderson, also on loan from Peterbrough, and he took just five minutes to make an impact.
After shifting Arnold as City’s main striker, he linked up with Habergham down the left-wing, and the left-back produced a stellar cross to lay it on a plate for Anderson to tap in.
It was a sobering second half…well mostly, but Chester did have their chances. Striker James Alabi went close for the visitors, after working some space in the City box before striking towards goal. With Farman beaten, Imps defender Sean Raggett cleared off the line.
Then when City midfielder Alan Power came on as substitute in the 71st minute, it was undoubtedly a season-defining 25 minutes for City.
Four minutes later, Power was sent off for what was deemed a dangerous tackle on Chester captain Luke George.
Just 10 minutes later, when there was a long stoppage in play due to Matt Rhead receiving treatment, that’s when Sincil Bank was at its absolute loudest.
The news was in, Tranmere Rovers were losing 1-0 to Forest Green Rovers at home, and the crowd chanted every song in the book to lift their side.
With seven minutes added on, the challenge got a little bit easier for City, as Chester saw one of their own players get sent off in the first minute of stoppage time.
Kane Richards was the culprit this time, for a similarly deemed dangerous tackle on Bradley Wood.
With both teams down to 10 men, both teams showed grit and determination, and Chester could argue they deserved a point, and they almost got it when midfielder Elliott Durrell struck a sweet strike that was dipping in, but keeper Paul Farman made a good save, and that was that.
City won, Sincil Bank erupted once again and Lincoln took the three points, extended their lead at the top of the table by three points with a game in hand.
Could this be the game that won City the title? Quite possible. But as Danny Cowley would say, forget that, it’s now on to Torquay on Friday.Tweet