Wasn’t it a great day yesterday? The yuletide celebrations undertaken against a backdrop of Lincoln City top of the National League. With ‘just’ a double header against lowly Guiseley to look forward to, it seemed we might be seeing 2017 arrive with us still top of the heap. We won’t.
In truth until 3.37pm it didn’t seem to be all that important that we snatch a win. Nobody in the top six was looking like securing three points, and a draw would be enough to keep us top regardless. Football does have a habit of biting you in the ass, and just 48 hours after I released the graphic of Lincoln City top of the tree, we’re not there anymore. I expect some Tranmere fans are busy on a stolen laptop as we speak trying to knock one up all of their own.
There’s also some irony that the man who scored the goal to knock us off our perch is none other than Jeff Hughes, the former Imps who arrived at Sincil Bank a wet-behind-the-ears youngster and left us as hot property. Now, as his career winds down he seems to be the main threat to our attempt at regaining league football.
There’s no blame coming from me for today’s game. It was windy, but as far as I know wind affects both teams. There was a dubious red card given to Elliot Whitehouse, but that was perhaps to even up the scores after Guiseley also had a player sent off in poor circumstances. The only explanation for today is we were beaten, fair and square, by a team that had a game plan they stuck to. Let’s face it after failing to taste defeat for a couple of months, perhaps we needed a little prod. Perhaps.
On reflection a draw would have been a fair result from a fairly turgid game, and if it wasn’t for the heroics of Maxted in the Guiseley sticks we might have got at least that. This wasn’t a tale of two goalkeepers though, and criticism of Paul Farman would be grossly unfair. The ball ended up in the net, it swirled in the wind and on that occasion it was Guiseley who were the benefactors. Paul Farman has done plenty to put us on the top perch on the 25th, and I would be pretty hacked off to read anything on social media blaming him for us being second on the 26th.
I suppose it’s easy for a blogger like me to be gracious in defeat when I don’t have to worry about it for months on end, but what can we really say? It’s been proven that we struggle against direct teams, and in the strong wind there’s often little choice but to go direct. We lost, Tranmere didn’t and we drop to second. We do have a game in hand, so our fate is still ours but I’d rather have points on the board. That said if we get those three points it will leave the so-called ‘super’ white army looking back up at us. There’s a long way to go in this title race, and there will be more twists and turns.
New Year will see a further shuffle around, Tranmere travel to Macclesfield which won’t be an easy trip, and we host Guiseley, a team who show much better form at home than on their travels. As the chasing pack all look to correct certain wrongs from today, it will be interesting seeing who is in the ascendency come January 2nd.
I suspect Danny will be itching to spend some of that money that has been stashed away from the FA Cup run, and if I had to pick one point out it would be the lack of a ‘game changer’ to come on and make an impact today. Harry Anderson offered a really unique threat from the bench, he (along with Marriott) changed the game against Tranmere and perhaps could have had an impact today. I’m not bitter about losing him, but DC will be aware that he has a war chest, and he’ll be aware of a need to spend (some) of it.
I did note young Harry had Boxing Day off, not appearing in the Peterborough 18 that drew at home. I wonder what it was that made Posh want him back so urgently for him not to even have a spot on the bench?
So we press on, the unbeaten run is gone but in a way it relieves some of the pressure that began to build up around the place. We are not unbeatable, we still have work to do to and we still have a fight on our hands. The more level-headed fan knew that anyway, but on a bitterly cold afternoon in Yorkshire we got a reminder of those facts.
Losing isn’t so much of a problem in itself, but failing to bounce back can be. We have lost back to back games twice this season, but I’m damn sure Danny and Nicky will spend the next few days plotting to ensure it doesn’t happen a third time.
Were you naughty in 2016? Did Santa not bring you the self proclaimed ‘Book of the Year’ for Christmas?
Fear Not: The ‘Who’s who of Lincoln City 1993-2016’ is for life, not just for Christmas.
If you want to buy direct from Amazon then click here
If you want to buy from me on New Years Day them come and find me in the Trust Suite ahead of our revenge clash with Guiseley.
Copies will be limited, so please come early. I’ll be there from 1.30pm until 2.30pm, close to the bar at the back of the bar.