Lincoln City draw with Notts County in thrilling encounter

Lincoln City were held to a two-all draw by Notts County in a thrilling encounter at Sincil Bank.

Jon Stead headed the visitors in front late in the first half before Lee Frecklington, back in the red and white of Lincoln, equalised for the hosts moments later while Imps manager Danny Cowley was sent to the stands.

Matt Green put Lincoln in front midway through the second half but Jorge Grant’s strike thirteen minutes from time meant both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Sincil Bank moments before kick-off.

Both sides harbour genuine hopes of promotion this season and this had the making’s of a great match but the opening half hour of this encounter was a rather sedate affair. The best two chances fell to Notts County forward Jorge Grant whose header from close range and shot from 20 yards out flew over the bar.

While the game may have lacked goalmouth action in the early stages it made for an intriguing watch with both sides probing for an opener.

With ten minutes of the first half remaining, it was the visitors, who after a concerted spell of pressure, found the game’s opening goal. Lewis Alessandra’s cross picked out veteran striker Jon Stead and he applied the finishing touch at the back post for his third goal in as many games.

The goal was greeted with complaints from the Lincoln bench. Imps manager Danny Cowley was visibly furious with a decision referee Ross Joyce made in the lead up to the Notts goal. However, his complaints were deemed to be over-zealous by the referee who sent the Lincoln boss to the stands.

And as Cowley made his way to his seat (on a step – the match was a sell-out!) in the stands, his players on the pitch found an immediate response.

Danny Rowe, making his first league start for Lincoln, crossed for Jordan Williams who’s knock down found Frecklington 12 yards out and the midfielder drilled the ball into the net. It was fairytale stuff – as so much of the last 18 months has been at Sincil Bank.

Lee Frecklington re-signed for Lincoln on Thursday after eight years away.

The match had ignited; unrecognisable from the 35 minutes that had gone before it. The home fans, alongside their manager in the stands, roaring their side on.

The atmosphere turned even more ferocious with five minutes of the half left when Rhead appeared to be bundled over in the penalty area. The referee disagreed, waving away the penalty shouts, leaving Cowley and nearly 9,000 home fans howling in anger and frustration.

Danny Cowley watching the match in the stands at Sincil Bank. (Photo: Tom Farmery)

The drama for the first half didn’t end there. Notts should’ve retaken the lead in stoppage time when a clever free-kick set Stead clean through on goal only to be thwarted by Paul Farman. It was a fine save by a goalkeeper fighting to regain his place in the Lincoln side on a regular basis.

Half-time did little to ease the intensity that the first ended with.

Rhead fired wide from the edge of the area while Matt Green had an overhead-kick and a close range shot kept out by Ross Fitzsimmons in the County goal.

However, Lincoln’s pressure did eventually tell when Green gave the home side the lead on 68 minutes. Brilliant play by Rhead on halfway released Rowe on the right hand side and he played Green through on goal. The striker made no mistake, firing the ball low into the net from the angle.

The home fans were jubliant – but their side’s lead lasted just 10 minutes. Jorge Grant, Notts’ dangerman, found space in the penalty area and curled the ball into the top corner past the despairing Paul Farman.

This was a thriller and Lincoln were determined to give it a dramatic finale as they pushed to find a winner.

And in stoppage time, they thought they’d found it when substitute Ollie Palmer, the hero at Rochdale on Tuesday evening, fired into the bottom corner of the net. However, the referee had other ideas, disallowing the goal for an apparent foul by Green.

“This referee is determined to make sure we don’t win this match,” cried Danny Cowley from the back of the press box. He may have been biased – but he wasn’t far wrong in this case as his side had to settle for a point.

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