Lincoln United fought back from conceding in the first five minutes to complete a second-half comeback against Dunston UTS in a 2-1 win at Ashby Avenue this afternoon, with goals for the ‘Whites’ coming from Matthew Cotton and Evan Payne.

Sitting in the Lincoln United boardroom ahead of the match, there were whispers of ‘this has a 0-0 written all over it’ and luckily how wrong they were. The 168 in attendance were treated to an enthralling game, played by two extremely competitive teams.

As play got started, things immediately took a turn for the worse for the ‘Whites’, with the visitors opening the scoring less than five minutes into the tie. A searching ball into the box was met with a low header back across goal by William Jenkins, Jack Steggles in net was forced into a brilliant save, however the rebound fell to Dale Pearson who smashed the finish home from five yards.

United struggled to generate any purposeful possession during the opening period, whereas Dunston had no trouble getting the ball down and looked to have more quality on the ball, backed up by the league table ahead of the fixture, with the team from the North East sitting in the top six.

A ball into the box from Dunston’s left winger Jack Elliott wasn’t dealt with at the back post, and after a slight mix up from Callum Foster and Steggles, Carl Finnigan’s header at the back post was somehow saved by Steggles.

Dunston continued to pile on the pressure and a moment of luck gave the visitors a penalty, after Foster smashed the ball into AJ Adelekan’s arm inside the ‘Whites’ box. The resulting spot kick was clawed out by Steggles, keeping United in the tie almost singlehandedly.

Referee Lewis Saunders-Johnson struggled to keep the tie under control, as a series of elbows whilst going up for headers annoyed fans and coaching staff from both sides.

United’s playmakers Cotton, Liversidge and Lincoln City loanee Tayo Alexander-Tucker struggled to impact the game, as Dunston halted most of United’s attacking intent.

And up until the half an hour mark, the closest United came to scoring was from a Steggles goal kick (yes you’ve read that right).

Dunston centre back Terry Galbraith misjudged the flight of the ball and it bounced over him, James Anderson in goal and the crossbar, in what would’ve been one of the most unusual goals ever scored at Ashby Avenue.

Second half:

After the break, United instantly looked more likely to score. With Alexander-Tucker beginning to find space on the left and hitting the side netting with a curling effort.

The momentum had swung and from a Dunston goalkick the home team were back in the game. Foster who won everything all afternoon, headed forward before the ball was flicked on releasing Cotton in behind the Dunston defence.

In what seemed like an age, Cotton took the ball down, took a couple of touches before slotting the ball past James Anderson to make it 1-1.

From the equaliser until full time, both teams took turns attacking each other, with another Steggles save from close range denying Dunston and Tobias Liversidge only managing to hit the ball straight at Anderson being the highlights.

United completed the comeback from a corner, as Foster headed the delivery back across goal to Evan Payne who had an open goal and couldn’t miss. 2-1

It was a nervy close to the game as it always looked like there could be more goals. Dunston brought on Liam Thear, who injected extra pace and physicality into their attack, making runs into dangerous areas.

Special mention has to go to Lincoln’s number 9 Jake Park who might not always be on the scoresheet or assist, but his contribution to Chris Funnell’s team can not be understated. Over the 9o minutes his hold up play was immaculate, he was winning flick ons and pressing from the front throughout.

Full time: Lincoln United 2-1 Dunston UTS

On paper this result would’ve been unlikely, but the ‘Whites’ to a man put in a heroic performance and Dunston would’ve been disappointed not to convert one more of the chances they had throughout the game to at least pick up the point they deserved on the day.

United next head away to Tadcaster Albion who sit rock bottom of the Northern Premier League East Division, winning only two games all season.


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