In a game described as ‘ugly’ by Lincoln United manager Sam Wilkinson, his side emerged victorious in a Lincolnshire derby thanks to two goals from Tom Garrick.

Spalding started the brighter of the two sides, perhaps sensing the early nerves in the Lincoln ranks, fearful of another negative result to continue their awful form, a team without a win since November. 

It took just a few minutes for Spalding to find a chance, as Bradley Wells ran on to a well weighted ball, but fired it over in a situation where he certainly should’ve done better.

From there, the game descended into a scrappy affair; with sparks of frustration showing as neither side was able get hold of the ball for any decent period of pay. Debutant and Lincoln City loanee, Timothy Akinola, was the first to end up in the book, just 6 minutes in, for a tough challenge.

Lincoln City loanee, Tim Akinola, in action against Spalding.
Photo: Steve Percival

He could have been off minutes later as he contested a poor Spalding clearance, sliding in late and colliding with an outstretched James Marshall. Incredibly, the free kick went the other way, and Akinola would live to fight another day. was able to meet a few good set pieces and head towards goal, it wouldn’t be until late in the second half for another big chance to come in the game.

On the 43rd minute, a drifting Scott Matthews free-kick found its way to Matt Wilson who, after getting the ball out his feet, struck towards goal. Spalding were fortunate to have men in position to make the block, but the rebound fell back to Wilson who this time, opted to chip the ball towards the six yard box. There, Tom Garrick was on hand to provide an unorthodox header with his back to goal to put the Whites in front.

At 1-0 up, United slowed the game down to reach the half time whistle.

Whatever the Spalding United manager Matt Easton said at half time must have resonated with his side, and particularly James Hugo, who scored the pick of the games goals with a beautiful strike on the 49th minute. Latching on to a long ball down the left hand side, Hugo took a few touches before lashing a strike from an angle with his left foot towards the far right. Emery dived well but couldn’t quite make it, as it cannoned off the post and in to the Lincoln net.

The match returned to its first half format after the teams drew level, with neither side really able to carve out good chances or periods of possession, with the only glimmers of hope coming courtesy of set pieces for either team.

It took until just past the hour mark for Lincoln to find the ultimately decisive 3rd goal in the game. 

A throw-in on the right hand side culminated in the ball being booted into the clouds as Spalding attempted to clear. Callum Dye was first to meet it, and looped the ball over the visitors defensive line where Garrick was making the run. He muscled off his opposition and charged towards goal before collecting himself and calmly stroking the ball into the bottom right. The goalkeeper was left sprawling and shouting at his defence, who had fallen asleep for seconds, and been punished for it.

Matt Cotton fighting for possession.
Photo: Steve Percival

Lincoln had found their way into the lead, and this time made it show, as they began to really take a hold of the game, limiting Spalding’s chances towards the end of the second half. Akinola really came into the game, as his understanding of his temporary side grew, with his confidence and time on the ball growing alongside it.

There would be one more big moment to come late on in the game as Garrick continued to pose a threat to his opposition. This time, with his back to goal, he stylishly flicked the ball over his head and the Spalding defender behind him. Picking up the ball on the other side, he appeared to be bundled over as he fell to the floor. With appeals to the ref coming from around the ground, the official shook his head and motioned for play to continue.

The 85th minute marked the end of Garrick’s game, no hat-trick today, but a round of applause echoed around Ashby Avenue as he made way for Jack Wightwick.

Spalding United never really looked like scoring once Lincoln took the lead for the second time, and the Whites performance was deserving of the three points as the full time whistle came. A first win since November and potentially another turning point in Lincoln United’s rollercoaster of a season. 

Aftr the game Sam Wilkinson said: “It’s a great result for us and I thought we dominated the physical battle today.”

The Whites face Morpeth Town at home next Saturday and Wilkinson is expecting a tough game: “They’re the best side in the league but they will be used to playing on a nice pitch and we’ll have to see if they can play on our bobbly one!”