LINCOLN STAND-IN BOSS REACTION AND ANOTHER REPORT
LINCOLN STAND-IN BOSS REACTION AND ANOTHER REPORT
City stand-in boss Gary Simpson has been giving us his thoughts following the Imps' 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town at Field Mill on Saturday afternoon.
Here's what he had to say about...
… the performance
"It was a superb result. I spoke to the gaffer early this morning and he said he was going to listen to it on the radio. That was for him. They battled. They defended. They showed bits of quality. He would have been proud of them.
"Our game plan was to frustrate them. We knew we would have to defend and I told the players that we would have to score to get something out the game. We got off to a good start and then they came back at us but as the game progressed they started to run out of ideas. They've got pace and people who can pass it and play but full marks to our players. They were superb.
"Today was a big test of character for us, especially with one or two injuries that we had as well, but the lads came through with flying colours and I'm really proud of them."
… Richard Butcher's excellent 30-yard opener
"He has scored some good goals this year has Butch but it's a good job the net was there as it would have gone through the stand!"
… Mansfield's leveller, which came from the penalty spot
"We conceded a few bad goals last week and conceded another one today. Futch ended up getting booked as well which is a big blow to us but it was a penalty and there was no two ways about it. But to come back and show character because there was a good breeze blowing, we were coming up a bit of a slope and we knew that we were going to have to hold our line and defend well I thought it was a typical Lincoln performance."
Peter Gain, who scored what proved to be the winning goal
"To be fair to Gainy he's got unbelievable ability and if you can keep him on top of his game there's no better player in this division. He can pop up and do things like that and for both of the midfield players to get goals is superb."
… Dene Cropper, who played his first Imps' game for over two months
"Fletch took a knock yesterday morning and failed a fitness test. Cropps didn't do too bad in the reserves in the week and he looked a lot fitter so I thought to myself that we would go with three up front to try and put them under pressure and put them on the back foot because they do concede a few goals."
The 1,000+ City supporters who made themselves heard throughout the match
"They were immense. They've travelled everywhere with us to be fair. We were disappointed last week because we went out (of the FA Cup) with a whimper really and felt we let one or two people down."
… keeping in touch with the play-off positions
"We always said last year that once we get to fifty points we push on and see where we go. Nothing has changed. We'll keep going and have a big cup game on Tuesday. I've got one or two knocks and one or two injuries again so we'll just have to round them up, patch them up and send them out again on Tuesday."
… manager Keith Alexander, who left hospital at the beginning of the week
"He wanted to come today but people in the know have got to get the reins on him and make sure he's alright. It's the long-term not the short-term. Whether it's a day, a week, a month, two months or whenever, I'm not bothered as long as he's alright when he comes back."
Report from impnet:
Mansfield 1 Lincoln 2
Lincoln City's manager Gary Simpson and his players superbly answered their critics, who have suggested that The Imps' season is falling apart due to Keith Alexander's enforced absence.
Acting manager Simpson made three changes to the starting line-up that poorly lost 3-0 in the FA Cup second round last Saturday at Southend. As expected, Marcus Richardson, who has returned to The Imps on loan from Hartlepool United, replaced Niall McNamara in attack. Mark Bailey, who has recovered from a two-month lay-off due to a double-hernia, was preferred to the unlucky Matt Bloomer who has performed well in Bailey's absence. The most surprising change was in attack when Dene Cropper, who returned this week from a loan spell at Gainsborough Trinity, came into the side in place of Gary Fletcher who suffered an injury during training yesterday.
Lincoln were keen to put the Southend defeat behind them, and they could have taken the lead in the very first minute but Peter Gain's volley went wide. Two minutes later and it was 1-0 to Lincoln when Richard Butcher suddenly fired a 35-yard shot past goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington and into the top corner of the net.
Mansfield, to their credit, put the early setback behind them and they were nearly level in the 5th minute. The ball fell to Tom Curtis, whose volley was excellently saved by Alan Marriott. The danger was not over as two quick Mansfield corners followed, before an offside flag ended Mansfield's attack.
In an end-to-end start, Lincoln won a dangerous 10th minute free-kick when Cropper was fouled by Wayne Corden. This gave Paul Mayo the opportunity to aim a free-kick at goal, which Pilkington saved. Two minutes later, Pilkington made another save when he denied Simon Yeo from 6-yards, although perhaps Yeo should have done better with the chance. Almost immediately, Mansfield attacked again, with Corden firing over the crossbar. While in the 17th minute, Junior Mendes saw his 20-yard shot saved by Marriott; seconds later, it was Pilkington's turn to make another save when he tipped Mayo's free-kick over the bar.
After such a frantic start, goal scoring chances became tighter for a short period, until Mansfield equalised in the 32nd minute. Iyseden Christie raced into the penalty area, and he supposedly fell under a challenge by Ben Futcher; for which the referee adjudged to be a foul and a penalty was awarded. After Futcher was shown the yellow card, Liam Lawrence blasted a penalty past Marriott for 1-1. A minute before the equaliser, Marriott made a relatively easy save from David Artell's shot.
Mendes was cautioned in the 35th minute for a foul on Bailey; shortly afterwards, Adam Eaton appeared to block Yeo who was racing toward goal, however the referee disagreed. Niggling fouls continued to break-up the play as the first half drew to a close. A 43rd minute foul by Bailey on Corden saw Gain booked for arguing over the decision. The ball was moved forward 10-yards, which allowed Corden a sight of goal but he shot over the crossbar. Right at the end of the half, Pilkington fumbled a Mayo throw-in, but Lincoln were unable to capitalise as Yeo sent his shot into the side-netting.
Despite Mansfield winning a corner after only seconds of the second half starting, Mansfield soon found themselves 2-1 down. Lee Williamson's foul on Yeo gave Mayo the opportunity of sending in a free-kick, but this was easily cleared. Lincoln remained on the attack and Bailey's cross was cleared to Gain who drilled the ball past Pilkington from 25-yards to make it 2-1 to Lincoln.
In the 54th minute, Lincoln survived three successive Mansfield corners; from the third, City broke for their own corner, but Mayo's delivery was easily cut-out. Yeo became the third Lincoln player to be booked, when in the 57th minute, he kicked the ball away after Bailey had been penalised for a foul on Corden.
Mansfield's players continued to fall over at the slightest of touches, and in the 72nd minute Christie won a free-kick. Corden crossed the ball into the area to where Artell was waiting to head goalwards; fortunately, Marriott held Artell's downward header. Three minutes later and both managers made their first changes as Lincoln's Cropper was replaced by McNamara while Mansfield took off Corden for Colin Larkin.
The match that threatened to boil over at times did eventually do so in the 80th minute. Christie fouled Gain, leaving the Imps' midfielder in need of treatment, however Mansfield claimed that Gain had dived. Words were exchanged between the majority of the players, but when the referee did regain control, he cautioned Christie for the original foul.
Another foul by Christie just two minutes later, gave both sides the opportunity of making another alteration. This time, Lincoln's Richardson was replaced by Bloomer in a tactical move, while Mansfield brought off Adam Eaton for Neil MacKenzie. Even though Bloomer had been brought on to shore-up the defence, Lincoln quickly had a chance of third goal when Yeo's 85th minute shot was blocked en route to goal by Lawrence.
Mansfield were in no mood to surrender and they had two late chances of an equaliser. First, Christie saw an 87th minute shot blocked by Mendes, while a minute later, Curtis sent a 25-yard shot wide. Midway through the four minutes of additional time, Yeo was released by Bailey but Pilkington was able to deflect his shot wide at the expense of a corner.
Overall, an excellent win to put Lincoln's promotion hopes back on track, following two very disappointing defeats.
Mansfield Town: Kevin Pilkington, Junior Mendes, Dave Artell, Wayne Corden, Tom Curtis, Lee Williamson, Bobby Hassell, Liam Lawrence, Adam Eaton, Ryhs Day, Iyseden Christie.
Subs: Colin Larkin (for Corden 77), Neil Mackenzie (for Eaton 83), Jason White, Luke Dimech, Craig Disley.
Lincoln City: Alan Marriott, Mark Bailey, Paul Mayo, Ben Futcher, Simon Weaver, Paul Morgan, Peter Gain, Richard Butcher, Dene Cropper, Marcus Richardson, Simon Yeo.
Subs: Niall McNamara (for Cropper 76), Matt Bloomer (for Richardson 83), Allan Pearce, Ben Sedgemore, Richard Liburd.
Latest | December 2003