Lincoln City dominated their season opener, sweeping aside newly promoted Notts County 6-2 at the LNER Stadium. The Imps started well and piled on the pressure, scoring five first-half goals.

The second-half was a more even affair, as despite the early Toni McHamilton goal, Notts County remained resilient and carried on fighting until the final whistle. 

Lee Mitchell’s side finished sixth in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands last season. He would be hoping for a season to build on that mid-table finish.


Lincoln City dominated the first-half from start to finish, the only blip being a wonder goal from Notts County’s Skye Lakin-Wright.

After the Imps controlled the early-goings, they found the reward for their hard work just before the 20 minute mark. Debutant Millie Quintance poked the ball into the back of the net after good work on the right wing by Toni McHamilton, who added her goals later on. 

The first goal was celebrated by the players holding up a shirt with ‘18’ on the back, a nod to their teammate Abi Ringrose, who McHamiton explained post-match, is in their thoughts.

However, after the opening goal, the Imps were put under pressure as Nicki Russell curled wide before Skye Lakin-Wright unbelievably scored directly from a corner. It was quite the equaliser for the visitors, as the ball looped in the air and landed beyond the reach of Poppy Irvine in the Lincoln net.

The flurry of goals continued as less than five minutes later, winger Toni McHamilton scored, rolling the ball past goalkeeper Philipa Davies. The Notts County shot-stopper would’ve been disappointed with her efforts, as the ball tamely passed the line.

City dominated the remainder of the half, firing repeated shots at the County goal. Maddi Green should’ve added the third after 38 minutes, as the ball broke to her in the centre of the box. Unfortunately for her, she blazed the ball into the Stacey West Stand rather than the Notts County net.

The Imps added their third just a couple of minutes later as centre-back Ella Thompson-Moulding rose highest and headed in a Leah Hardy free-kick. In actuality the free-kick was almost a corner, given its position on the field, but it gave Lincoln a deserved two-goal cushion regardless.

The fourth and fifth goals both came before referee Ethan Nundy blew his whistle for half-time. Maddi Green made up for her earlier miss and slotted home her first of the season, cutting in from the left and receiving a perfectly weighted Leah Hardy pass.

Then, as the last seconds of the half ticked by, former Loughborough Lightning winger Quintance cut inside from the right and found Leah Hardy on the edge of the box. She expertly found the bottom corner, leaving Davies no chance of saving the effort.

5-1 was a gapping lead, and one that reflected the dominance Lincoln City held over the first-half. However, the spirits of the vocal Notts County supporters in the LNER Stadium weren’t dampened, as they continued to cheer on their side.


The second-half started in much the same way of the first, as Toni McHamilton coolly added her second. She chipped the Notts County goalkeeper from the edge of the box barely a minute after the restart. 

Lincoln City continued their first-half dominance, creating chance after chance. Although, they struggled to find the clinical touch to extend the scoreline, as Toni McHamilton in particular pushed for another goal.

McHamilton was substituted before she could complete her hat-trick, but she had a backheel cleared off the line and a curling effort land just over the bar before the end of her afternoon.

Wolves loanee goalkeeper Poppy Irvine made some strong saves in the second-half as the newly promoted Notts County showed strength to keep fighting against the Imps. 

They eventually reaped the rewards of a more even second-half as on the 75th minute substitute Katie Platts got in behind the Imps backline and planted the ball into the bottom corner. 

As the game headed towards full-time it became a back-and-forth affair. Substitute Laura Steele forced a good save out of Irvine before the Imps had a flurry of chances at the other end. Summa Betts fired over a spilled Davies’ save and 2022/23 Player of the Season Chyna McIntosh headed against the post.

The visitors pushed for a goal that would reduce the deficit, but Irvine was equal to every effort their had.

Lincoln City Women 6-2 Notts County Women

Lincoln City came away deserved winners, with a scoreline that reflected their first-half efforts more than it did the second-half. After the break, Notts County became more competitive, but the damage had been done before half-time.

Lincoln City’s goals were spread around five scorers: Toni McHamilton (two), Maddi Green, Millie Quintance, Leah Hardy and Ella Thompson-Moulding.

After the game, speaking to LincSport, manager Lee Mitchell said: “Today, we put a great performance in and scored six goals. That’s the start we wanted.”

The commanding opening day victory brings promise for the season ahead for Lincoln City Women.