Lincoln City are through to the next round of the Checkatrade trophy after twice coming from behind to beat Accrington Stanley 3-2 at Sincil Bank.
Goals from Ollie Palmer and Matt Green cancelled out long-range strikes from Mallik Wilks and Sean McConville, before Sean Raggett headed the winner in the second half to seal the win in an exciting second round tie.
A sandy and patchy Sincil Bank pitch meant it was difficult for both sides to create clear chances in a cagey opening few minutes of the game, but fellow League Two outfit Stanley took the lead in the seventh minute. Mallik Wilks collected the ball and drove to the edge of the box before striking a left footed shot into the bottom corner, just out of reach of Paul Farman in goal.
City were slow to start, but their reaction to going behind nearly led to an equaliser a minute later. Sean Raggett headed a cross towards Elliott Whitehouse who couldn’t generate enough power on his header to trouble Max Stryjek in the Accrington goal.
The bobbly surface wasn’t helping City in a quiet first half an hour, with Whitehouse and Alex Woodyard struggling to find their feet, and the back four looking nervous when dealing with Accrington’s slick passing.
But in the 37th minute, the tie burst into life. Harry Anderson got up high to head down a cross on the right side of the box towards Matt Green who tried his luck. The ball ricocheted and fortuitously found Ollie Palmer who tapped home to level the game.
But, just five minutes later, Stanley were back in front with a goal of the season contender. A miscued goal kick from Stryjek found Sean McConville on the half way line. He chested down and unleashed a volley from 45 yards which looped over Paul Farman and went in off the crossbar.
There was still time before the break for Lincoln to equalise again. This time, Raggett’s floated cross from the left wing was headed in at the far post. It took a nick off Green, but the final touch was that of McConville, meaning he scored at both ends in the space of four minutes.
But Danny Cowley wouldn’t have complained going into the break level after a tough half for City.
And not for the first time this season, Lincoln came out for the second a completely different side. City looked dangerous on the counter, with Anderson and Josh Ginnelly causing problems on the wings.
And City’s pressure told on 61 minutes when Sam Habergham’s corner was nodded in by Raggett who got in front of the keeper to head into the corner and give Lincoln a lead to protect for the final half hour.
In truth the Imps could have had more. Anderson’s lobbed through ball released Green with just the keeper to beat, but his chipped effort was cleared on the line by Stanley defender Mark Hughes.
That chance nearly came back to haunt Green when Stanley pushed for a late equaliser in the dying minutes. He had Farman to thank for that. He produced a stunning double save to deny Jackson what looked to have been a tap in for the striker.
And four minutes deep into added time, substitute Jackson found some space on the right and struck a shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but for Farman who got down low to parry his effort away.
City held on for an impressive victory that sees them progress to the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy in their first season back in the Football League. They will find out who they will face in the next round on Friday lunchtime, knowing that the Imps are now just three wins away from Wembley.Tweet