Lincoln City 0-2 Oxford United

Lincoln City’s three game unbeaten run came to an end on Halloween, as Oxford United caused a fright at the LNER Stadium to win 2-0.

A first-half Ciaron Brown header and second-half Lukas Jensen own-goal were enough for the visitors to end Tom Shaw’s unbeaten run in interim charge.

Shaw came into the game looking to extend his unbeaten record in charge, after two wins and a draw in his first three games. He welcomed Danny Mandroiu back into the starting line-up after his three match ban and handed Jake Vale his first Imps start.

As for the U’s it was a stark contrast in form. Winless in their last three, Liam Manning’s side came to Lincolnshire desperate to get back to winning ways. However, Oxford came into the game second in SkyBet League One thanks to eight wins in their first ten games of the season. 

The Halloween fixture saw the league’s second and third best defences face-off in what was on-paper an interesting encounter.


The game started patiently before Lincoln City created the first chance in the 7th minute. Oxford United were down to 10-men as defender Sam Long was forced off with injury and substitute Stan Mills not ready to come on. Jack Burroughs delivered a long throw that was flicked on by Paudie O’Connor, dropping in the centre of the box. Danny Mandroiu was first to it and hit a stinging half-volley that was blocked by a U’s defender. The minimal handball appeals were quickly waved away by referee Scott Tallis.

In the 13th minute, the visitors took a sudden lead. Northern Ireland international Ciaron Brown headed in a Cameron Brannagan corner at the near post to silence the LNER Stadium.

Lincoln almost responded a couple of minutes later and Mandroiu found himself in a solo counter attack. He charged down the U’s goal, but sent a tame effort straight into James Beadle’s hands.

As fireworks lit up the sky behind the GBM Stand, substitute Stan Mills struck a shot from the right of Lincoln’s box. He hit the side netting, but it was a warning that the U’s had the firepower to double their lead.

It was deja vu just before the 30 minute mark as Oxford hit the side netting again through Ruben Rodrigues’ curled effort.

Then, the game slumped into another lull, as it did from the 15th to the 25th minute, as neither side managed to create a worthy chance.

The next chance came in the 35th minute as U’s winger Tyler Goodrham forced a stunning save out of Imps’ goalkeeper Lukas Jensen.

Liam Manning’s men were containing Lincoln well, forcing the centre-backs to launch long balls, rather than building play. Oxford were marking tightly and pushing the Imps into making mistakes with possession throughout the half. Tom Shaw needed a big half-time team talk to spark his side into life for the second-half.

Lincoln City come undone on a misty Halloween night.


The second-half started in scrapy fashion as neither side could keep hold of possession. It bounced back and forth between the two teams before it eventually settled down in the 55th minute.

On the hour mark, as a thick mist fitting of Halloween night set in, Tom Shaw made a triple change. Saturday’s goal scorer Alistair Smith, top-scorer Hakeeb Adelakun and youngster Jovon Makama replaced Danny Mandroiu, Jake Vale and a possibly injured Sean Roughan.

In the 65th minute, Oxford United doubled their lead. Goalkeeper Jensen had a blemish next to his name as he parried a Stan Mills cross into the back of his own net.

However, this seemed to light a spark in the Lincoln team. Lasse Sorensen received the ball just outside the box and curled a beautiful effort towards the far corner, where it was pushed away by James Beadie.

Then, the best chance came as another long-throw was flicked on by O’Connor. His header landed in the six-yard box, but a U’s defender made a last ditch interception to hook the ball over the bar and deny Alistair Smith a simple finish.

The Imps had responded well to going 2-0 down, but they found it difficult to create and put away a big chance.

Lincoln City 2-0 Oxford United:

Tom Shaw’s unbeaten run as interim head coach came to an end after three games. It was a robust Oxford United side that managed to put the first loss against his name. Liam Manning’s side were without a win in three games, but didn’t seem to be lacking confidence as they contained the Imps. 

A goal in either half was enough for the U’s to record their first win at the LNER Stadium since September 2019 and cement their place as second in SkyBet League One.

Lincoln City return to action on Saturday, as they entertain Morecambe in the FA Cup First Round.