Lincoln City vs Bristol Rovers

Lincoln City put five past Bristol Rovers in an action-packed afternoon at the LNER Stadium.

Joe Taylor’s hat-trick followed a Paudie O’Connor opener, before Reeco Hackett completed the goalscoring despite Ethan Erhahon being shown a second yellow card.

The Imps came into the game just three points behind Stevenage, who occupied the final play-off spot. City’s 12 game unbeaten run has seen them close the gap and charge towards the promised places.

After 5-1 and 6-0 wins in their last two, a Bristol Rovers side who haven’t scored in two didn’t seem to threaten on paper. However, Matt Taylor’s side had kept two away clean sheets in a row before their trip to Lincolnshire. 

Michael Skubala’s men were dealt another injury blow, adding to a long list this season. Striker Ben House dropped out of the team, with Jovon Makama coming into the starting-11.


In front of a loud 9,392 fans, Lincoln started on the front-foot. Jack Moylan looked to repeat his Barnsley trickery as he wound his way through the opposition defence. But, he was cut off as he entered the Rovers box. 

City made their early dominance pay, as Paudie O’Connor headed in the opener after 11 minutes. Danny Mandroiu delivered an in-swinging corner that the Imps captain met with a crisp header beyond the reach of Jed Ward.

Lincoln were suffocating the visitors with their press, but they managed a good chance on the counter-attack. Chris Martin looked to add a sixteenth of the season as he got on the end of a threaded Harvey Vale pass. The Scottish marksman was closed down by Lukas Jensen, who produced a strong save to maintain the Imps lead.

Joe Taylor then continued his good form, as he met a divine Lasse Sorensen cross and nodded the ball past the Bristol ‘keeper. The Luton Town-loanee added a fourth goal in just three games. 

Taylor doubled his tally less than five minutes later. Makama had a sharp shot pushed onto the bar, but his strike-partner was first to react and head the ball home. 

Jevani Brown had a chance for the Gas at the over end, as Lincoln continued to limit them to breakaways. He got in-behind, but Jensen closed him down quickly to block the effort.

Brown was then taken off, as Matt Taylor made a double change before the half-hour mark. He and Tristan Crama were replaced by Luca Hoole and James Connolly. 

Martin had another shot saved by the Imp’s ‘keeper, as Vale latched onto a loose Sean Roughan pass and played the Gas’ top-scorer in-behind. 

The rest of the half passed without much incident, until Bristol created a couple of chances in added time. First, Sam Finley had a shot blocked following a scramble in the Lincoln box. Then, Jensen flung into action again, diving to stop a Martin header flicked on from a free-kick. 

Lincoln City vs Bristol Rovers
The Imps extend their unbeaten run to 13 games.


The Gas had the better of the play after they made their double change, and the second-half started similarly. Kamil Conteh had an audacious long-range effort deflected wide, as Matt Taylor’s side looked to get themselves a foothold in the game.

However, their hopes were soon dashed on the hour mark when Taylor got on the end of a threaded Sorensen pass. He chipped Ward to complete a fine hat-trick, the first by any Imps player this season.

Then, a moment of contention in the 70th minute. Referee Scott Simpson awarded a penalty for a foul on Scott Sinclair, as Sean Roughan was adjudged to have fouled the former Manchester City winger. 

It looked like a poor decision, with the Irishman seemingly winning the ball. It brought yellow cards for Roughan and head coach Skubala for their complaints. However, Anthony Evans slashed his penalty high and wide.

Five minutes later, midfielder Ethan Erhahon was given his marching orders for a second booking, following one in the first-half. His foul on the edge of the box was enough for Simpson to brandish his eighth red card of the campaign.

Before the red card, Reeco Hackett went close twice in quick succession: one saved and the other smacking the woodwork.

It was third time lucky for the St. Lucian international as he had a shot deflected in to add the cherry on top of the Imps cake. 

Lincoln City 5-0 Bristol Rovers:

Lincoln City scored five or more goals for the third game in a row, the first team in the EFL to complete that feat since Fulham in 2022. 

The Imps pulled themselves closer to the play-off places, as a buoyant LNER Stadium cheered on Michael Skubala’s side for the second time in the week. 

City now have a weekend without a game due to international call-ups, so will have to wait until Good Friday for the visit of Leyton Orient.