Lincoln City’s strikers on form in win over Newport County

Goals from each of Lincoln City’s three strikers gave the Imps their first league win of 2018, 3-1 over Newport County at Sincil Bank.

Before the January transfer window, the forward line looked like the position that needed strengthening most but all three incumbents staked a claim with goals against Newport.

Matt Rhead gave the Imps an early lead, which was cancelled out by Padraig Amond on the half hour.

But Matt Green and Ollie Palmer both scored after the break to move Lincoln up to eighth in the League Two table.

The Imps’ strong attendances this season continued, with more than 7,500 watching the win over Newport County

The Imps had early pressure, visiting stopper Joe Day twice saving from Luke Waterfall headers, while Matt Dolan flashed wide from the edge of the box in County’s first effort.

Then, Mickey Demetriou had a shot blocked from a well-worked corner as both sides had chances in the opening stages.

But the first clear cut chance came 12 minutes in, when Waterfall was dominant in the air again, knocking back for Rhead’s half volley to be blocked.

But before Newport had fully cleared, the Imps went ahead. A pinpoint cross from Matt Green found strike partner Rhead, who nodded home at the far post to continue his good recent run of form.

City continued to have the better of proceedings, but chances were few and far between and Newport came close next – Joss Labadie’s tame header comfortably saved.

But Newport grabbed a foothold as the half wore on, Labadie again a threat with his angled snapshot that Paul Farman had to deal with, though he remained largely untroubled.

That was until just after the half hour, when the visitors equalised. Matt Dolan’s shot was only parried by Farman straight into the path of former Grimsby striker Padraig Amond, who would have taken great delight in levelling affairs with a close range finish.

But if you could level criticism at the keeper for the equaliser, he redeemed himself just minutes later. Dolan provided for Amond again, the former’ scuffed shot falling to the latter inside the box. Amond turned and looked odds on to score but the onrushing Farman denied him with a point blank save to keep the scores level.

As the Imps regained the ascendancy, they should have regained the lead on the stroke of half time but Lee Frecklington’s header from Sam Habergham’s corner looked destined for the net until it inadvertently hit Green on the line and rebounded away.

But where they failed just before the interval, they succeeded just after it. Rhead and Green combined superbly again, the former prodding the latter through on goal as Green raced through to drill home his 12th of the season.

Real goalmouth action was sparse after that as Lincoln managed the game well, but Labadie had a golden chance to bring a Newport level again when he fired wide from close range with 20 minutes to play.

As Lincoln broke, Harry Anderson had an effort deflected into the side netting as Lincoln sought a third, to which they came even closer when Waterfall’s header was cleared off the line.

And that pressure paid off as one of Danny Cowley’s substitutes took less than two minutes to make an impact. Palmer was fed by Anderson, who looked to have taken too long before threading a precise shot beyond Day’s reach and in off the post.

With the Imps now fully in control, Palmer couldn’t capitalise on Day’s misjudgement to make it four.

And although Farman had to make a point blank save from Dan Butler’s powerful close range strike in stoppage time, City were comfortable in holding out for their first league win of the new year.

Lincoln: Paul Farman, Sam Habergham, Luke Waterfall, Matt Rhead (James Wilson 61), Matt Green (Ollie Palmer 72), Michael Bostwick, Lee Frecklington, Neal Eardley, Danny Rowe (Jordan Williams 78), Harry Anderson, Alex Woodyard. Subs not used: Richard Walton, Sean Long, Elliott Whitehouse, Cameron Stewart

Goals: Matt Rhead (13), Matt Green (51), Ollie Palmer (74)

Newport: Joe Day, Dan Butler, Joss Labadie, Ben White, Robbie Wilmott, Matt Dolan, Padraig Amond (Paul Hayes 80) Frank Nouble (Shawn McCoulsky 67), Ben Toner, Scot Bennett, Mickey Demetriou (Josh Sheehan 80). Subs not used: James Billner, Tyler Reid, Emmanuel Osadebe, Aaron Collins

Goal: Padraig Amond (32)

Attendance: 7,567 (76 visitors)

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