Imps v Ipswich: The Players (part 2)

Continuing on from Part One of my look at the players who featured last night, here is the chronologically correct second part.

Terry Hawkridge

I ended part one on a potential man of the match, and I start part two in exactly the same vein. Terry is another player who has had to fight for his place this season, just like Alan Power. Last night I think he had arguably his best performance in a Lincoln City shirt. I always felt Terry was a luxury player, skilful and able to create but perhaps lacking that final 10% that Danny and Nicky ask for. He proved me wrong at Portman Road, he proved me wrong at Gateshead and would you believe it, in front of four million viewers last night he proved me wrong again.

He was excellent from start to finish. He ran himself into the ground, and all too often he was back in the full back position putting in crucial tackles. Him and Habergham flowed like a machine, organically switching roles and covering each other. Not only that, but when he got forward he was a threat, a couple of lovely balls into the box caused the dire Ipswich defence all sorts of problems. He’s not afraid to put his foot on the ball and in close quarters he has the trickery and ability to find space. It poses the question, do we need to sign a winger to replace Anderson, when we have someone like Terry achieving his undoubted potential?

Slightly more muted celebrations against Crewe in pre-season


Nathan Arnold

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

That’s a section of the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. If you’ve run for ninety minutes and you’re dead on your feet, if you can draw reserves of pace and strength when they seem to have long deserted you, then you’ll be a man my son. Last night Nathan Arnold was that man, finding an unbelievable amount of stamina and then keeping composed to finish his effort with panache. Overall I thought he did what he always does, terrorise full backs, and he did it well. As he stroked that ball into the net he lit  up the hearts of 8,000 people, and many more watching across the world. For that, and that alone his name will always be remembered in Lincoln City folklore. Welcome to legend status Nathan.

Matt Rhead

From Rudyard Kipling to Mr Kipling (sorry Matt), the big man was top drawer. I wondered (openly) if he might get found out by Championship defenders, instead he pocketed them like his lunch money. Perhaps defenders in our league are a little bit more switched on to his rough and tumbled approach, but Scottish international Christophe Berra was not. The poor lad will need counselling after being bossed as he was for the ninety minutes.

I joke about Matt’s size but it is just that. He is not a ‘fat bastard’ as opposition fans like to point out, he is a big man with a very good footballing brain. Last night he mixed his physique with his ability to give a master class in how to be a proper target man. Theo, Nathan and Terry must love to have someone like him up there with them, someone the ball sticks too like poo to a duvet, someone who distributes with more precision than DHL and Parcel Express. If Nathan Arnold wrote his name into the legend column last night, he’s only just joining the big man who has already done enough in the red and white to be remembered for years to come.

Theo Robinson

I’ve heard some debate as to whether he will be a Lincoln player or not come February 1st. On last nights display alone I certainly hope so. He had another good game, stretching the so-called superior defence all over the park. He compliments Rheady superbly, he’s quick and found lots of little gaps last night, but he is also physical and was often found  mixing it in the air with Berra. He showed some neat close control in the area for the Imps first clear cut chance, and eventually he was unlucky to be blocked as three defenders converged on him. He almost turned provider as well, his tempting cross being headed just wide by Alex Woodyard. All in I thought he had a great game, and by the time he came off the field he’d certainly earned his corn.


The Subs

I think it would b unfair to rate Jack Muldoon or Jamie McCombe, both came on to take up a few precious minutes. However, I do have to touch on the other sub:

Adam Marriott

Adam is a player that I’ve championed since he arrived. He’s got a reputation as an impact sub, and last night he played that to superb effect. He had Tom Lawrence and Josh Emmanuel tied up in knots as he advanced forward, and the pass was as good as you’ll see from any footballer in this country for the rest of the season. Combined with Arnold’s run it left Tom Lawrence simply turning on the spot, a poetic end to a cup tie that the Leicester loan player had so much influence on. It may be January, there may be signings coming in, but with quality like Adam Marriott in the squad I know we won’t be caught short at all.

The opposition

You’re welcome here anytime:

It is hard to pick a single Ipswich player from last night that I felt could do a job for Lincoln City, and that sounds ridiculous. The harsh truth is that they were second best in every department, man for man across the pitch. I genuinely can’t name a single player whom I would pick, purely on last nights performance. Of course over the two legs I’ll say Tom Lawrence, purely for his two goals. However, if he could be neutralized as easily as he was last night then he wouldn’t last long in the National League anyway! Josh Emmanuel was probably the pick of the bunch, he did look to be a real unit at full-back, and he got forward relatively well on the rare occasion Ipswich did venture into the Imps half.

Thanks, but no thanks:

Where do I start? I’ll pick two players, and that is being generous to the other nine on the pitch. I think the full back Knudsen is absolutely awful. Over two legs he was terrorised by ‘lower league’ winger Nathan Arnold, and last night his passing was outright abysmal. I don’t know about Danish international, with his sliced passes I wondered if he worked for the bacon manufacturer instead!

The other player I wouldn’t thank you for is the centre half Berra. A centre forward like Matt Rhead should be routine for a Scottish international, but instead he huffed and puffed at our big bad wolf, and at no point over the ninety minutes did he look like getting the big man down. He offered very little in attack, and both Raggett and Waterfall looked more like internationals than Berra. If I were Gordon Strachan I’d be doing my research to see if Luke has a Scottish grandparent or something. On Berra’s form last night, I’d even fancy my own chances as my fiancée is Scottish. I’m available Gordon, give me a call.