Lincoln City FPA vs Bradford City Veterans

Lincoln City Former Players’ Association produced an astonishing second-half fightback to salvage a 3-3 draw against Bradford City Veterans in an entertaining charity match at the LNER Stadium.

The match was played in honour of the 56 victims, including Lincoln’s Bill Stacey and Jim West, who tragically lost their lives in the 1985 Valley Parade Fire. Several former players turned out for both sides.

Lincoln City FPA vs Bradford City Veterans
The two sets of players before kick-off.

The Veterans started the stronger of the two sides and were rewarded for their bright start in the 10th minute when Graham Tomlinson rifled home from inside the area to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Bradford remained in the ascendency and were close to extending their advantage when Dean Windass, a constant thorn in the Imps side, saw his curling effort drift just over the crossbar in the 15th minute.

Despite their best efforts, Lincoln struggled to conjure up any chances of note in the subsequent 10 minutes and were close to falling further behind in the 33rd minute when Windass struck a free-kick narrowly wide from just outside the box.

The Imps’ best chance of the half came in the 38th minute when Gavin Gordon’s fierce drive was parried to safety by the Bradford’s goalkeeper.

Then, in the 39th minute, the Bantams made it 2-0 after some great inter-play in midfield released Tomlinson who slid his shot past Imps goalkeeper Darren Horrigan for his second goal.

It was 3-0 shortly after when Lee Clapham slotted home to leave the Imps with a mountain to climb heading into the break.

Lincoln City FPA vs Bradford City Veterans
Two fans enjoying the Sunday afternoon entertainment

After the break, the Imps came out firing on all cylinders and almost pulled a goal back in the 49th minute when Nathan Arnold’s sumptuous strike ricocheted agonisingly off the post.

In the 61st minute, Lincoln’s pressure finally told as Archie Moyses coolly dispatched a close range shot to make it 3-1, after an excellent cross-field pass by Arnold set him through.

Two minutes later, the Imps reduced the arrears further as Simon Yeo rolled back the years with a sublime header that nestled into the bottom corner for 3-2.

The Imps completed the comeback in the 72nd minute when Yeo chipped past the Veterans goalkeeper from a tight angle to make it 3-3.

Mark Hone’s side continued to press for more goals and were close to taking the lead when Arnold spurned a presentable headed opportunity wide of the target in the 76th minute.

Both sides pushed for a winner in the closing stages but ultimately, they were forced to settle for a draw as the match ended 3-3.

Lincoln City FPA chairman, Gavin Gordon, said post-match: “It was an entertaining game full of goals, hopefully the fans enjoyed it.”

“We can build on this event, and I hope this can become the start of more regular games between the two sides.”

The money raised from the event will be distributed between four charities: Lincoln City Foundation, Bradford Cinderella Club, Bradford Burns Unit and Dog’s Trust.