Lincoln City (Away)

Jul 3, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

The LNER Stadium Saturday 11th February 2023

Lincoln City 1 Bristol Rovers

Poole (14)

Bristol Rovers 0

Referee: Tom Reeves Attendance: 8,025

Rovers travelled to play Lincoln City at what used to be Sincil Bank, now the LNER Stadium, seeking to avenge a 6-3 home defeat by the Red Imps earlier in the season.

Manager Joe Barton made three changes to his starting XI, two of which were enforced; Sam Finley, booked the previous week against MK Dons had his yellow card upgraded to a red following a review of video evidence by the EFL, while skipper Paul Coutts dropped out through illness on the morning of the game and Scott Sinclair was relegated to the substitutes bench. Into the side came Luke McCormick, Ryan Loft and Antony Evans.

The home side seized the early initiative, as an effort from Ryan Poole flew over the bar and a Jack Diamond shot produced a routine save from Ellery Balcombe.

However, on 14 minutes Lincoln took the lead. With first time skipper Aaron Collins struggling to get back to help his side defend a corner, after a knock, Lincoln took full advantage and following a short corner swung a cross to the back post. James Connolly appeared to be wrestled to the ground as the ball was in flight, allowing Poole a free run to head firmly past Balcombe.

Protests from Barton’s players, adamant that the goal shouldn’t stand as Connolly was fouled in the build up, fell on deaf ears as the home players celebrated.

Rovers’ best chance of an equaliser arrived eight minutes before the break when Collins gained possession on the halfway line and sprinted towards goal before unleashing a powerful drive which goalkeeper Carl Rushworth could only parry away. The rebound fell to Josh Coburn, whose attempt was blocked by a home defender.

Three minutes from the break Rovers were reduced to ten men following a red card brandished in the direction of Loft. The striker appeared to lead with his arm when challenging Rushworth, though whether or not there was any contact with the shot stopper could not easily be determined in real time.

Rushworth’s fellow defenders obviously thought so and two of them raced over to the assistant referee to make their feelings know. Referee Tom Reeves consulted his assistant and only after their discussion did he send the striker off.

It was a challenge that Loft could easily have avoided. Instead, he gave the match officials a decision to make and, almost inevitably, they decided it was a red card offence.

Barton made two changes at the break, sending on Scott Sinclair and former Lincoln favourite Harry Anderson in place of the misfiring McCormick and Josh Coburn.

In spite of only having ten men, Rovers looked a much better side in the second half and this relatively young side competed for every ball, though the closest they came to scoring was when Rushworth touched an Evans free kick round the post.

Collins claimed a penalty when he appeared to be brought down in the area, but nothing was given, while substitute John Marquis saw his close range effort saved by Rushworth.

An angry Barton blamed the match officials for his side’s defeat and interrupted a local radio interview with Ethan Erahan with a few choice words after claiming the Lincoln man had pushed him in the back at the end of the game.

Lincoln City: Rushworth, Montsma, Jackson, O’Connor, Poole, Bishop (Sorensen, 80), Erahan, Roughan, Diamond (Vernam, 80), House, Shodipo (Plange, 72).

Substitutes: Boyes, Mandroiu, Eyoma, Wright.

Bristol Rovers: Balcombe, Gibbons, Quansah, Connolly, Gordon (Bogarde, 75), Ward, Evans (Marquis, 75), McCormick (Sinclair, 46), Collins, Loft, Coburn (Anderson, 46).

Substitutes: Belshaw, Hoole, MacDonald.


There were no former Rovers players in the Lincoln City side

Yellow cards were issued to Luke McCormick, James Gibbons and Jarell Quansah

A red card was issued to Ryan Loft

Four substitutes used

Aaron Collins was skipper for the first time in his Rovers career

Eight added minutes

(photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman