The magic of the FA Cup was alive and well in Lincoln on Saturday as Bruno Andrade’s injury time goal clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory for the Imps at Sincil Bank.
The Imps were looking to recapture the spirit that saw them progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition in 2017.
The game followed the two sides meeting in the league on the opening day of the season, a game Lincoln won 1-0.
There was little to choose between the teams in the first five minutes, with the sides wrestling for control of the tie.
The home side sensed an early chance when Harry Anderson looked to slide through John Akinde, but the powerful forward couldn’t quite get to the ball ahead of David Cornell, the Northampton goalkeeper.
The first effort on goal of the match came as the away side’s Shaun McWilliams blazed over from 25 yards.
Akinde then linked up well with Shay McCartan before volleying wide from 20 yards, the Imps best moment of the match with 15 minutes played.
The Imps burst into life a few minutes later, neat interplay on the left wing between Harry Toffolo and Andrade allowed the former to send a low cross into the box which Anderson met with a crisp finish, beating the goalkeeper and putting the home side a goal ahead.
The goal was one of real quality and gave the Imps a great platform to build from in what had been a tight game. It was the away side who next threatened though, Kevin Van Veen’s scooped cross requiring Josh Vickers to palm away from oncoming attackers.
Van Veen was in the book shortly after his sliding challenge halted Andrade on what was a promising break away run.
After the resulting free-kick was cleared, McCartan picked up the ball just outside the edge of the Northampton area and went on a jinking run which saw him one-on-one with the keeper, Cornell producing a good save to thwart the Irishman.
The same man once again threatened for the Imps, more quick feet made space for a shot from the edge of the right side of the box, the effort passing just wide of the post. McCartan proving a real danger to Northampton.
Northampton’s first shot on target came after 37 minutes and it produced a fine save from Vickers. John Joe-O’Toole hit a great strike from 20 yards which Vickers leapt to his left and prevented levelling the scores.
The Lincoln goalkeeper could have had an assist moments later as his long kick put Akinde through on goal, however the striker couldn’t quite bring the ball under control and shoot before Northampton’s defence got back and averted the danger.
Shortly before the break, Jason Shackell was the first to be booked for the home side. A lunging challenge seeing the experienced centre back’s name taken by referee Graham Salisbury.
Northampton couldn’t muster any real chance to equalise from the resulting free kick and the Imps took a one goal lead into the break.
After a quiet start, Lincoln will have felt they were good value for the one goal lead Anderson gave them.
There was controversy on 50 minutes as McCartan went down in the box and Sincil Bank screamed for a penalty, however the referee waved away the claims.
The home side had a threatening spell, with Akinde sliding through McCartan who rounded the keeper but couldn’t convert from a very acute angle.
The Imps built brilliantly on this minutes later, with Sincil Bank sent into raptures by Tom Pett’s 25 yard drive which fizzed past Cornell and found the bottom left hand corner of the net.
However, the home side’s lead was halved with 65 minutes gone. A ball into the Lincoln area found its way to Jack Bridge who got Northampton back into the game with a low finish which beat Vickers despite the goalie getting his hands to it. A slightly scrappy way for Lincoln to concede.
James Wilson had a chance to restore the two goal lead minutes later but struck his effort straight at the goalkeeper.
The scores were almost levelled as Northampton centre back Hakeem Odoffin’s long range strike whistled past the Lincoln upright.
The game now had the feeling of a real hard fought cup tie as the sun set over Sincil Bank and the game entered its final half hour.
The away side came very close to a leveller as Van Veen’s curling effort from 25 yards looking to be heading for the top corner before Vickers made a fine save to retain Lincoln’s lead.
The next chance saw Andrade whip an impressive cross in to give Anderson a free header ten yards out, the scorer of Lincoln’s first couldn’t generate enough power to trouble Cornell.
The Imps pressed on looking to give themselves breathing space and calm fears of a Northampton comeback. Cornell was called into action to push efforts from both McCartan and Andrade round the post within minutes of each other. Pett then fired a decent chance over moments after.
Lincoln were made to regret their missed opportunities on 82 minutes, Aaron Pierre’s strong run and cross saw Kevin Van Veen with the ball six yards out. The Northampton man twisted and placed a neat finish past Vickers to level the game.
Lincoln attempted to rally and prevent the game going to a replay. A free-kick into the box fell to Harry Anderson who got to the ball ahead of the goalie but put his effort over.
The winger then had a chance to put Lincoln ahead in the 90th minute, again firing over from just inside the area.
However, the drama wasn’t over, the Lincoln faithful were given a Hollywood finale as Andrade picked up the ball 25 yards out, the Portuguese winger turned picked his spot and curled a fantastic strike past Cornell and into the top corner to send Sincil Bank wild.
There was still a few minutes of injury time for the Imps to hold on and seal the victory, their task was made a little easier as Junior Morias was sent off for an aggressive shove on Pett after the midfielder had committed a bad foul.
Barring a scramble in the box from the resulting free-kick, there were no further scares for Lincoln and they progressed to the second round of the FA Cup with a dramatic victory.
The game encapsulated a traditional cup tie, after a slow start, the game burst into life with Anderson’s goal and the intensity rarely dropped from there. After Northampton’s second half comeback, it seemed Lincoln had squandered the win and the game would drift towards a replay but Andrade’s terrific strike sealed Lincoln’s place in the hat for the second round.Tweet