February 8, 2015
Imps struggle on the road again.
(This Match Report is adapted from the Lincolnshire Echo with many thanks.)
Lincoln City’s hopes of reaching the play-offs in the Conference Premier continued to drift away following their latest defeat on the road. The Imps were consigned to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium as their desperate run of form on the road continued.
So far City have managed just three wins away from home this season and the display against the Gas did not suggest it was going to change any time soon. It was a galling loss as well, with the club desperate for some good news following the announcement in the week that their bank had decided to call in a £380,000 debt.
However, the Imps financial woes only added to the agony of the defeat which was inflicted thanks to goals late in the first-half from Lee Brown and Nathan Blissett. City looked like they would see out the first half, with some good pressure. However, the Gas managed to eventually unlock the Lincoln back line and get the better of Paul Farman, who was again in superb form.
Lincoln had to endure nervous first five minutes as Bristol shot out of the blocks. Strikers Blissett and Matty Taylor both had chances early on, but City’s defence held firm. On eight minutes City were indebted to the wood work as the Gas’s first corner of the game saw the ball fall to the Taylor, but his effort crashed against the underside of the cross bar and bounced out.
The Imps managed to contain Bristol, but the hosts were still looking dangerous and on 20 minutes Brown tried a long range effort that narrowly went over Paul Farman’s bar. Bristol continued to heap the pressure on and Farman had to be at his best to block Taylor from close range on 27 minutes.
City went up the other end and a cross from Jake Caprice fell perfectly to Ben Tomlinson, but his volley went wide and skimmed the side netting. The Imps kept the pressure on and a minute later Marcus Marshall’s cross was met by the header of Arnaud Mendy, but the midfielder’s effort was held comfortably by Steve Mildenhall.
Farman came to the Imps rescue on 34 minutes producing a great save to deny Taylor from the edge of the box. The following corner saw Taylor connect again, but Farman pulled off another superb save.
There was nothing Farman could do on the 36th minute as the Gas took the lead. A free kick was given away on the edge of the Imps box and Brown blasted a perfectly placed effort down to Farman’s right-hand side and just beyond his reach.
The Imps went further behind on 40 minutes. Taylor danced his way towards the Imps goal and then showed great vision to square the ball to Blissett who had to apply a simple finish to make it 2-0. Lincoln managed to see the game out to the break, but Bristol were in the ascendancy controlling the rest of the half.
City were forced into making a change at half-time. Sean Newton landed awkwardly on his ankle again and he was replaced by new signing Tom Davies. Davies moved over to right-back, with Caprice switching to the left-side of the back four.
Lincoln gave away another free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box on 50 minutes. This time Lee Mansell stepped up and crashed an effort against the post.
City made their second change on 55 minutes, with Sam-Yorke making way for Jordan Burrow. The second half whittled away with little action from Lincoln. The game was turning into a scrap in the middle of the pitch and both Davies and Mendy found themselves in the referee’s book.
Bristol had parked the bus, and when the Imps had possession they could not find a way through. City made their final change on 15 minutes, with Marshall replaced by Tyrell Waite. It would make little difference as Bristol saw out the match to seal the win.
With the club desperate for financial help, a push to the play-offs would be a big boost to the coffers. However, on this display, they look a long way short of reaching that goal. While their home form has been impressive, failure to pick up wins on the road is costing them.
City quite simply are running out of games to get the points they need to finish in the top five.
Bristol Rovers (4-4-2): Mildenhall; Leadbitter, McChrystal, Parkes, Brown, Dawson, Mansell, Lockyer, Monkhouse, Taylor, Blissett. Subs: Puddy, Gosling, Wakefield, Harrison, Balanta.
Lincoln City (4-3-3): Farman; Caprice, Brown, Bencherif, Newton, Adams, Mendy, Nolan, Marshall, Sam-Yorke, Tomlinson. Subs: Grant, Burrow, Everington, Waite, Davies.
Referee: Lee Swabey
(248 City fans)