Lincoln City beat Chelsea’s youngsters 4-2 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in 90 minutes to reach the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley on a historic night at Sincil Bank.
Luke Waterfall’s 72nd minute header was cancelled out six minutes later by Daishawn Redan.
Returning midfielder Lee Frecklington, who signed in January after a nine year absence from the club, scored the winning penalty to send Sincil Bank wild.
Danny Cowley’s Imps have reached a Wembley final for the first time in the club’s 133 year history.
Lincoln City flew out the blocks at the start of the game, much to the surprise of the Chelsea youngsters who evidently were not used to playing in front of over 9,000 fans at a packed Sincil Bank.
The first chance of the game for the Imps came after five minutes when Matt Rhead found Danny Rowe on the edge of the box but his left footed shot was well saved by Marcin Bulka in the Chelsea goal.
A goal mouth scramble moments later almost gave City the lead. Rhead and Elliott Whitehouse both having shots that were blocked off the line by the Chelsea defence before Rowe put the follow up just past the post.
In the 10th minute City had yet another opportunity to take the lead when Matt
Green found Whitehouse in the box but his powerful right footed strike was deflected behind.
Pressure was continuing to build for the home side when Chelsea keeper Bulka failed to clear his lines, however Michael Bostwick couldn’t find the back of the vacant net from outside the box.
Just after a quarter of an hour, Harry Anderson produced some exquisite skills to weave his way through three Chelsea defenders, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
After 23 minutes Whitehouse swung a long cross in to the back post where Rhead headed across goal looking for Green but Ethan Ampadu was there to clear the ball.
Minutes before half-time Rhead’s flick on found Green in the box who managed to wriggle free of Ampadu but his shot was weak and easily saved.
The Imps produced an extremely dominant first half display, however it was missing one key element – a goal. The home side created chance upon chance, peppering the goal at the Bridge McFarland stand end but failed to convert any of their 13 shots. Ryan Allsop wasn’t troubled at all on debut in the Lincoln goal with Chelsea’s youngsters failing to register a single shot.
City started the second half as they had begun the first. Green had the first chance of the second 45, the City striker did well to out muscle the Chelsea defence, only to smash his shot in to the side netting.
In the 53rd minute Chelsea registered their first shot and it almost gave the visitors the lead. Callum Hudson-Odoi hit a right footed curling effort that beat the City keeper but Bostwick was there to head the ball away.
On the hour mark, Rubben Sammut had a great opportunity to open the scoring for the away side, following a brilliant run and cross from Hudson-Odoi, however Sammut lacked composure and his attempt went wide.
In the 72nd minute the Imps took a well-deserved lead! Neil Eardley’s cross was met brilliantly by Luke Waterfall at the back post who headed Lincoln ahead. Cries of “Waterfall is magic” ringing around a capacity crowd at Sincil Bank.
Almost from the kick-off City had the chance to double their lead as Rowe went through on goal however he shot straight at the keeper and Chelsea manager to clear their lines.
Chelsea U21’s got themselves back in the game after 78 minutes. Another good run from Hudson-Odoi eventually fell to Daishawn Regan who blasted the ball past Allsop in the Lincoln goal.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Habergham’s cross found Green at the back post, he headed it back for substitute Ollie Palmer whose effort was blocked two yards out.
With a minute left on the clock, Bostwick did well to recover the ball and cross for Anderson but his header went agonisingly wide of the post.
With a penalty shoot-out beckoning, Lincoln born and Imps academy graduate, Lee Frecklington, came on in stoppage time for Danny Rowe.
With the final move of the game Lincoln’s free-kick was launched in to the box, Waterfall’s header found Bostwick at the back post, but his header flashed across the face of goal missing the target by inches with the keeper beaten.
The Imps were dominant throughout the game playing Chelsea U21’s off the park at times, however the Premier League youngsters were stoic in defence and kept the Imps to just one goal. Penalties required to determine the winner using the new ABBA system.
Penalty shoot-out breakdown:
Habergham steps up to take the first penalty but it’s saved on to the crossbar by Bulka. Replays show the ball may have crossed the line.
Hazard coolly strokes in Chelsea’s first penalty. 1-0 Chelsea.
Ampadu smashes his penalty against the post and it goes out. 1-0 Chelsea.
Whitehouse goes bottom right and scores. 1-1
Palmer goes the same way Whitehouse, the keeper gets a touch but he scores too. 2-1 Lincoln.
Maddox’s penalty is saved by Allsop. 2-1 Lincoln.
St Clair levels the score with a well taken penalty. 2-2.
Green puts the Imps in to the lead. 3-2.
Frecklington steps up to win the game for Lincoln and scores to send the Imps to Wembley!
A fantastic performance by the Imps against Chelsea’s U21’s gives them a well-deserved trip to Wembley in April against either Shrewsbury or Yeovil. Here is the moment the supporters and players knew they were going to Wembley:
Lincoln City XI: Allsop, Eardley, Waterfall (C), Bostwick, Habergham, Rowe, Woodyard, Whitehouse, Anderson, Green, Rhead
Chelsea U21 XI: Bulka, Sterling, Ampadu, James, Nartey, Castillo, Sammut (C), Chalobah, Hudson-Odoi, St Clair, Redan
Attendance: 9444 (268 Chelsea)Tweet