Lincoln City are through to the last 32 of the Checkatrade Trophy after a 2-1 win against Notts County at Sincil Bank.
The Imps fell behind to a Jonathon Forte goal midway through the first half but levelled before the break when Pierce Bird headed Cameron Stewart’s free-kick into his own net.
And in a second half full of chances, Josh Ginnelly’s brilliant strike from 25 yards out completed the turnaround and saw the Imps through to the last 32.
Danny Cowley made four changes to his Lincoln side from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup, perhaps with an eye on Saturday’s league match at Crewe but also maybe in the hope of finding a solution to his side’s lack of goals.
And the first chance of the game fell to the home side after nine minutes. Billy Knott’s inswinging corner picked out Luke Waterfall at the back post but his header was straight at the goalkeeper.
Ten minutes later, Waterfall was on the end of Ginnelly’s cross but could only power his header wide from close range. It was a chance that normally Waterfall would take and summed up Lincoln’s struggles in front of goal in recent weeks.
But after all Lincoln’s dominance, it was the visitors who took the lead on 27 minutes. A ball from deep through the heart of the Lincoln defence wasn’t cut out by either centre half and Jonathan Forte ran through on goal, rounded Josh Vickers and passed the ball into the empty net.
Notts County weren’t in front for long however. Stewart, making his first start for the Imps, whipped a dangerous free kick into the penalty area from the left and the ball was nodded into his own net by defender Bird. It was an equaliser the home side richly deserved.
The second half continued in a similar fashion with Lincoln doing all the probing. The influential Elliott Whitehouse shot straight at the keeper from Ollie Palmer’s cut back. The big striker also had an effort of his own blocked by a defender minutes later.
In truth, the Imps’ attacking play was much improved in comparison with recent matches, which will give the 3,000 home fans who were in attendance much encouragement for the weeks ahead.
But Notts County were keen to remind Lincoln that they still carried a threat too. With 15 minutes remaining, Jorge Grant’s wicked cross was well cut out by Sean Raggett. And from the resulting corner, Nicky Hunt’s shot was scrambled off the line by an Imps defender.
Kevin Nolan’s side continued to threaten with Liam Walker firing just wide from 20 yards out.
The games was really beginning to open up and Lincoln had a flurry of chances of their own. First, substitute Harry Anderson broke clear of the Notts defence but had his shot deflected wide before Raggett’s header crashed off the crossbar.
However, the Imps weren’t to be denied. Ginnelly picked the ball up on the angle and curled a delightful effort into the top corner from 25 yards out to give Lincoln the lead.
In the closing seconds, Vickers pulled off a brilliant save from point blank range to preserve the Imps’ lead and seal victory.
Lincoln may be out of the FA Cup already this season but their dreams of reaching Wembley are still alive.Tweet